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Text message essay baffles British teacher

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LONDON, England (Reuters) -- An English essay written by a British teenager in text messaging short-hand has reignited concern among teachers that literacy standards are under threat.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Monday that the 13-year-old's teacher could not decipher what the youngster had written.

"I could not believe what I was seeing. The page was riddled with hieroglyphics, many of which I simply could not translate," the teacher told the newspaper.

The girl's essay began: "My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :- kids FTF. ILNY, it's a gr8 plc."

Which in translation from text messaging shorthand would read: "My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It's a great place."

Judith Gillespie, of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, told the newspaper a decline in grammar and written English was partly linked to the text messaging craze.

"Pupils think orally and write phonetically," she said.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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