5-speed listening (Full Stop - Level 6)

Young people say full stop is intimidating



Medium (British English)

Medium (N. American English)



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In British English it is the full stop; in American English the period. This punctuation mark has been used for centuries to end sentences or in abbreviations. It seems that with the younger generation today, its use is changing. A report from Binghamton University in New York shows the humble full stop is "intimidating" to young people because they view it as a sign of anger. This is especially so on social media, where many youngsters largely forego the use of punctuation, except for a liberal use of exclamation marks. Linguist Professor David Crystal said: "Usage of full stops is being 'revised in a really fundamental way'. People simply do not put full stops in, unless they want to make a point."

Linguistics experts studied the effect of technology on the way we use language. Dr Lauren Fonteyn said: "If you send a text message without a full stop, it's already obvious that you've concluded the message." She suggested that finished messages with full stops are perceived of by young people as being insincere. Journalist Victoria Turk wrote: "In a messaging conversation, a period is simply not necessary. It's clear when you've finished your thought, so what function does the period fulfill? As a result, using a period in messaging...can come across as if you're quite cross or annoyed." She added full stops are being used after every word in a sentence. She gave the example: "Just. Look. How. Emphatic. This. Is."

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