Essay on 2091 text

Submitted By Trver-Lee
Words: 2514
Pages: 11

text messages

Texting
David Crystal

Texting is a startling modern phenomenon, one that ‘has gripped the imagination of the UK in a very short space of time and already has its own language, its own etiquette and its own humour’ (Baker 2002). Text messaging was never originally envisioned as a means of communication between individuals, certainly not one that would rival or replace voice messages. It was originally conceived as having commercial use, or possibly as a service for mobile phones to signal the arrival of a voicemail message.
The first text message was sent in December 1992. The message, which seems today strangely unabbreviated, read ‘Merry Christmas’. The service gradually became available commercially during the 1990s. Between then and now its huge surge in popularity has taken everyone by surprise. Recent text use in the UK alone has averaged over 4 billion messages a month with an annual total of around 45 billion messages (source: Mobile Data
Association). Textspeak is largely the language of the young—and a lively controversy has sprung up around its use—mainly from the older generation who seek variously to analyse, interpret, or decry its use. John
Sutherland, for example, finds the language of texting, ‘thin and unimaginative . . . mask[ing] dyslexia, poor spelling and mental laziness’, and concludes it is ‘penmanship for illiterates’ (Sutherland 2002) while
Crispin Thurlow finds it ‘communicatively adept’ having ‘linguistic creativity’ and a ‘robust sense of play’ (Thurlow 2005).
Our commentator on the language of text messaging needs no introduction.
Professor David Crystal is an eminent linguist and the author of over 100 books on language. A new book Txting: the Gr8 Db8 will be published by
Oxford University Press this year. He comments below on two poems by the text poet Norman Silver.

The texts
Txt commndmnts
Langwij by Norman
Silver

txt commndmnts
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

u shall luv ur mobil fone with all ur hart u & ur fone shall neva b apart u shall nt lust aftr ur neibrs fone nor thiev u shall b prepard @ all times 2 tXt & 2 recv u shall use LOL & othr acronyms in conversatns u shall be zappy with ur ast*r*sks & exc!matns!! u shall abbrevi8 & rite words like theyr sed u shall nt speak 2 sum1 face2face if u cn msg em insted u shall nt shout with capitls XE PT IN DIR E EM ER G NCY + u shall nt consult a ninglish dictnry

E LT Journal Volume 62/1 January 2008; doi:10.1093/elt/ccm080

ª The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.

77

Downloaded from http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/ at University of New South Wales on May 30, 2013

Introduction by Jill and Charles
Hadfield (series editors) ´
Norman Silver: Laugh Out Loud :-D txt cafe. 2006. langwij langwij is hi-ly infectious children the world ova catch it from parence by word of mouth

symptoms include acute goo-goo & the equally serious ga-ga if NE child is infected with langwij give em
3 Tspoons of txt b4 bedtime
& ½ a tablet of verse after every meal
´
Norman Silver: Age, Sex, Location txt cafe. 2006.

Language notes

and

@

at

2

to

a ninglish

an English

abbrevi8

abbreviate

aftr

after

ast*r*sks

asterisks

b

be

b4

before

capitls

capitals

cn

can

conversatns

conversations

dictnry

dictionary

em

them

emergncy
78

&

emergency

David Crystal

Downloaded from http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/ at University of New South Wales on May 30, 2013

the yung r specially vulnerable so care shud b taken how langwij is spread

equally

exc!matns

exclamations

face2face

face-to-face

fone

phone

hart

heart

hi-ly

highly

insted

instead

langwij

language

LOL

laughing out loud

luv

love

mobil

mobile

msg

message

NE

any

neibrs

neighbour’s

neva

never

nt

not

othr…