Text Message Communication

By: aRlandis Jones

The wave of communication has drastically changed due to the increase of technology and cellular phones. In fact, the English language has once again been stretched to unlimited possibilities. Some would refer to the way that people communicate via cell phone text messages and computer “Instant Messages” (IM) as slang or short hand. However, this new type of communication, language, has emerged into a common concept for communicating to one another. Text messaging language is short and to the point and there is no formal grammatical structure.

Many of the words and expressions that are used are abbreviations or the first letter in each word. For example, “ttyl” and “lol” which translates to “talk to you later” and “laughing out loud.” In most cases, the language is integrated with numbers and symbols to condense word meanings; “2morrow” “4 get it” “n2” “4eva” “str8” “2nite” “no1” “every1.” The use of symbols shows emotions; these symbols are generally made with the parentheses, colons and semi solons. For instance, to convey happiness or joy : )… to show sadness : ( . These types of expressions and language patterns are typically found when using text messaging on cellular phones or devices.

Besides cellular phones, computer IM’s employ the same structure in language with advanced technology. Many computer messaging programs such as YAHOO! and AOL have advanced features when expressing emotions. YAHOO! have many different icons and features known as “Emoticons” and “Audibles.” Emoticons are used the same as the cellular emotions; however, these features are more advanced:


Notice the conversation in the screen. The language is cut and to the point. Numbers are used to condense the language and the features on the IM screen are much more advanced. By clicking on the “Emoticons” face, a view of many humanistic emotions will appear for people to choose from.

With the language, any word ending with “ing” the “G” is most likely dropped. For instance: going = goin
              Doing = doin
              Talking= talkin

Words like (are, be, see, you) are given one letter to represent its meaning: R u okay? I will c u later, I will b there 2. Shortening these words help communicators communicate faster and more efficiently. 

With this popular culture of lingo, the problem becomes is this method of communicating stigmatizing the use of Standard English Language? Dr. Ylva Hard af Segerstad from Goteborg University Department of Linguistic dissertation primarily exposes the use of text messaging communication and its effect on language: “Strategies such as syntactical and lexical reductions are employed to reduce time, effort and space. These techniques appear to serve multifunctional purposes, by expressing interpersonal intimacy by choice of words and phrases while reducing keystrokes.” Dr. Segerstad’s study proves that the use of short hand and abbreviated words helps language users and creates “linguistics awareness.”

Many linguists and college communication programs have studied the effectiveness of text message communication. To my surprise, most studies have shown that the language is formal and some research states, “IM gives the impression that it is something you do "as fast as you can."