Nieuws - 1 februari 2007

No sms language in mails pls

‘Pls do tis favour, thnk u.’ When study coordinator Ralf Hartemink received an e-mail with this closing sentence, of course he understood what the student wanted. And he provided the information the student had asked for. But when irritated professors started complaining to him about the e-mails they received in text messaging language, he decided enough was enough.

Students of Food Technology and Food Safety received an e-mail this week from Hartemink stating that ‘SMS language’ should not be used in official e-mails and exams, and that points will be deducted for use of this kind of language. The reason for this announcement was an angry professor who had received a one-line e-mail with twelve mistakes in it. The student closed with: ‘If u r do nt mind pls correct me.’

‘Such language will not be acceptable,’ wrote Hartemink in his e-mail to the students. His message is intended to warn the students, he explained. ‘It happens regularly. Other study supervisors have also complained. Students sometimes start an e-mail with ‘yo’ instead of ‘hello’. Personally, I don’t care that much, but you have to be careful: you shouldn’t use language like this in e-mails to teachers or to a company. It’s not acceptable in exams or reports or study assignments either. It comes across as childish and stupid. And I have to admit that the mail in question was almost impossible to decipher.’

Using text messaging language in e-mails is not the same issue as the spelling mistakes that students make. The latter has been in the Dutch news recently. ‘Spelling mistakes are something different,’ explains Hartemink, ‘Although I have heard some people saying they are considering taking off points in exams if technical terms are not spelled correctly.’ Hartemink does receive e-mails with lots of spelling mistakes, but that irritates him less than SMS language. ‘Of course, we make mistakes, we all do,’ he writes in his e-mail to the students. That can happen. But ‘SMS-language is OK for private conversation’. You use it in your own time, is the message.

The student in question has apologised to the professor.