2004
Volume 38, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236

Abstract

Abstract

In recent decades, all kinds of media have been echoing the concerns of parents and teachers who fear that online chat practices corrupt the writing and especially the spelling skills of youngsters. The main objective of the present study was to assess the potential impact of the informal online writing practices of adolescents on their formal offline spelling performance at school. 2584 school tasks, tests and exams by Flemish secondary school students were analysed for spelling mistakes. 6306 word forms with deviations from the Dutch spelling norms were primarily classified as either classic spelling mistakes versus instances of chat language interference. The dominant findings relate to the minimal proportion of direct interference from informal chat practices. Students generally do not integrate chat conventions into their school tasks. However, the educational track appears to be a determining variable: students with a vocational training seem to have more trouble to distinguish informal online from formal offline writing repertoires than students in a technical or general secundary school programme. Finally, the correlation between students’ production of classic spelling mistakes and chat language interferences appears to be weak, which suggests that these two types of deviations from the norm spelling might have different grounds.

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2016-12-01
2021-10-18
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