OUP research reveals children’s imaginative language use

Contrary to concerns that increasing use and popularity of ‘txtspk’ will ruin children’s vocabularies, youngsters demonstrated that they know when it is not appropriate, only including it in their stories when transcribing an imagined text message.

The research also found that many of the words contained in children’s stories are repeated from celebrated writers – suggesting a continued love of reading. Words included creatures such as J.K. Rowling’s basilisk and hippogriff, J.R.R. Tolkien’s orcs, and Lewis Carroll’s bandersnatch.

Some children have some difficulties using punctuation correctly, and the misuse of the apostrophe was found to be a common problem. One of the most popular pieces of punctuation was the exclamation mark, which was used 351,731 times. —OUP research reveals children’s imaginative language use.

Researchers looked through about 74,000 short stories submitted to a radio contest.