n d beginN God creatD d heavN & d erth. & d erth wz w/o form, & void; & drknez wz upon d fAc of d dEp. & d Spirit of God muvD upon d fAc of d H2Oz. & God sed, lt ther b lite: & ther wz lite. This is the first paragraph in the book of Genesis, translated into txt lingo – the language used to send SMS (“texting”.) The translation was done by transL8it a self- styled “free, user-friendly translation engine for SMS text message lingo, acronyms and emoticons.” transL8it members contribute new words and translations and, as the lists grows, they may end up seeing the word they contributed attributed to them.
d mAn rEsN Y we nEd specL lngwij wen txtN iz d built n 160 char limitation imposed by d SYSz, az weL az d clumsy, un-frNdlE way d avg handset [abc] iz DzIND. The main reason why we need special language when texting is the built-in 160 character limitation imposed by the systems, as well as the clumsy, unfriendly way the average handset keyboard is designed. The outcome of the advent of SMS, however, was profound — written language is challenged in education institutions on a daily basis: should grammar accommodate ‘actual’ language, or should students keep referring to and using parts language that do not exist anymore?
Researchers are exploring various aspects of SMS life, linguist Tim Grant and researcher Kim Drake, at the School of Psychology, University of Leicester, have embarked on a forensic linguistic study of SMS language used by criminals. Grant and Drake argue that each person has a unique ‘signature’ the can help is to differentiate the victim from the perpetrator. “As texting is both a relatively new mode of communication and a particularly informal way of using language”, says Grant, “there is not a strong expectation that texters will follow linguistic conventions. This freedom therefore allows for significant individual differences in text messaging style, and this can be used to identify the text’s authors.” Grant and Drake use what they term forensic authorship analysis – the technique, they say, will examine “linguistic consistency variation in individuals’ texting style” as well as outside influence from peer groups on writing style and language.” Grant and Drake use face to face as well as online facilities for their research.
Australian Social analyst Mark McCrindle studied Australian births in 2016 and found (PDF) that people were influenced by texting when they named their children. “Today’s Gen X parents want their children to be individuals- just like everyone else!” says McCrindle “In one year we had 1300 Cooper’s, 1145 Madison’s, 1126 Sienna’s, 419 Tahlia’s and 395 Kai’s.” McCrindle also found what he terms ‘creative spelling’: “we found many names repeated but with alternate spelling such as Aidan (and its 9 different spellings), Jayden (12 spellings), Kaiden (10), Amelia (8), Tahlia (8) and Brayden (6).” In addition, McCrindle notes the “The use of y instead of an i has hit epidemic proportions, as has the use of k over c (Jaykob, Lynkon), double letters (Siimon, Chriss) and hyphens (Emma-Lee)”. McCrindle attributes the creative spelling trend to “the phonetic spelling in email and text messaging and to parents wanting their children to be prominent.” (I guess that by ‘prominent’ he means ‘stick out’.)
The transition, from pre-texting communication to texting-based interactivity is not easy. Teachers find exam papers that are littered with abbreviations, emoticons and replacement code.
Jessa Dearthmeant to write “government” and “people” in a recent assignment for her U.S. history class. Instead, she put down “gvt” and “ppl.” OMG. “I was like, ‘Oops,’ ” said Dearth, 16, a junior at Grand Junction High School. “I had to rewrite the whole thing because I wrote it in pen.”
While students tend to declare the texting debate a non-issue, teachers find the going tough — “Teachers are cracking under the relentless strain of dealing with pupils who have become adept at combining the latest methods of cyber bullying with some distinctly old school methods of disrupting lessons.”
wot did U Lern n skul 2day, dEr ltl boi of myn?
I LernD dat our govt must b strong
itz alwys rght & nevr wrng
Our leadRz R d finest men
So we elect dem ‘gen & ‘gen
& datz wot I LernD n skul 2day
datz wot I LernD n skul