Texting! How many people text? These days it seems like more people are texting instead of calling or meeting face to face. Created in 1992, by Friedhelm Hillebrand, texting is a 21st century phenomenon creating new styles of language used by a young generation, and it is becoming popular with more then a trillion messages being sent each year. Our English language is constantly evolving, dating back to when the Anglo-Saxon’s invaded Britain in 450 A.D, to when the Normans invaded the Britain Isles in 1066. Their influences have made our language more diverse, as we have imported many of their words into our orthography. There is a lot of debate on whether features used in texting are harming the English Language. Some people think that texting is lazy and encourages children to develop bad habits and others believe that this is an evolution of the English Language and it encourages creativity. In this essay I am going to explore the features used in texting, which suggest that they are closer to spoken language and I will comment on the public attitudes towards these features.
Phonetic Representation is a feature that is widely used when texting. For example, when I text I use, “Cos” instead of “because.” This suggests that texting is closer to spoken language as the words are spelt the way that they sound. As there are fewer letters in the word, this could be seen as something done for brevity, which is something we aspire to in our everyday conversation. This is because, when texting you get charged for every letter you type, using fewer letters means the less money you pay. Phonetic Representation may be an attempt to represent the sounds of natural speech in order to make the conversation seem more like a real conversation. The attitudes of texting using phonetical representation are diverse. On one side, people such as John Humphry thinks features such as phonetics is ruining our spelling and our sentence structure and therefore corrupting our English language. On the other hand, people such as Will Self believe that texting is helping our language, as at times, texting can be ‘linguistically quite complex.’ As a teenager, I tend to agree with Will Self, as phonetic representation is a creative form of writing; now children find that texting is a fun way to play with language such as abbreviating words, sounds, words and grammar. It’s creative as well as fun!
Another feature used to communicate by text is emoticons, this is when you use facial expressions to show your feelings and emotions and it helps people understand the pragmatic behind the message. An example of emoticons is: ‘,’ this is used to show you are exultant. You express your feelings by using creative ways to make up emotions. Emoticons has its own language devices but I think they are closer to spoken language. This is because written language doesn’t have the ability to portray these paralinguistic features in the same way as they are in spoken language. The use of emoticons suggests that the people texting are comfortable with each other, as unclear emoticons wouldn’t be understood by some groups because they aren’t obvious and they can be easily misinterpreted. The feature is used to enhance conversations and make the messages interesting to read to keep the conversation going, as a boring conversation would cause the participants to lose interest. Some people find emoticons are exasperating and irritating, as there are too many emoji to choose from. This is evident when John Humphry says,’ Now there are 16 pages of them in the texters A_Z.” However I find emoticons an engaging, fun, and entertaining way to show emotions during a text; it makes your conversations enjoyable.
Spelling mistakes are a customary feature in texting. How many times have you