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sms lang analysis

  1. 1. SMS LanguagePresented to: Miss Shagufta JabeenPresented by: Hina Javaid ID# 100884006 Mphil Applied Linguistics Batch VIII 1
  2. 2. SMS LanguageUniversity of Management & Technology Table of contents Topics 1 Topic for analysis 2 Abstract 3 The selection rationale 4 Introduction 4.1 What Is Sms 4.2 Objective of SMS language 4.3 History of Sms 4.4 SMS Language 4.5 Features of Sms language 4.4 Use of Sms 5 Literature review 6 discourse analysis of SMS/text analysis sample selection rationale 6.1 Gricean co-operative principle and Maxim’s 6.2 Language play and ethnography and politeness 6.3 Code-switching 6.4 Psychoanalysis of the Sms language 6.4 Critical Discourse Analysis 6.5 Difference in teen and elderly people’s text language 7 Discussion (Scope of this analysis/new directions) 2
  3. 3. SMS Language 8 Conclusion 9 References 10 AppendixChapter 1Topic for analysis  Discourse analysis of SMS language as e novel genre  SMS language has revolutionary and influential effect on everyday language  SMS language of teens differ from the elderly people 3
  4. 4. SMS LanguageChapter 2AbstractThis project intends to analyze the SMS language ethnographically and psychologically withinthe domain of discourse analysis and critical discourse analysis.CMC technology (Computer-mediated Communication) has diversified the way ofcommunication to many genres. Texting emerged as a novel genre in 20 th century and causedthe revolution of language at its heart. ‘Texting’ or ‘SMS’ language has great potential toinfluence language inclusively and is a growing area of interest within Applied Linguistics. Itsnon-gloom-and-doom impression has convinced the linguists that this innovative, extended anddiversified modality of communication has proved itself in every aspect whether it is an issueregarding its lexicology, morphology and syntactic levels or its apprehension by thesociolinguists to roll over the process of pidgin and Creole. SMS language brings into playabbreviations, acronyms, random-seeming jumbles of letters and numbers. This typo-textinghas obtained many permanent terms and also lots of ephemeral neologisms, but who knowswhat is next? As from gaming chats to blog comments to text messages more and more terms,within this new genre language, are cropping up every day. In this project of CDA I intend toanalyze these three dimensions specific to SMS language: Discourse analysis of SMS language as e novel genre SMS language has revolutionary and influential effect on everyday language 4
  5. 5. SMS Language SMS language of teens differ from the elderly peopleTo analyze these assumptions I would apply discourse analysis, ethnographical analysis, code-switching and psychoanalysis. The discourse analysis will help me to delve deep into thenature of SMS language. Further I would apply ethnography approach on SMS language toscrutinize the impact of this novel genre on other spoken and written languages. In order torefine and substantiate my analysis I would pour comparative study and psychoanalysis intothe project which will assist in conforming and to reflect the underlying assumptions regardingthe use of language in SMS, teens language and language used in SMS by elderly people.Chapter 3The selection rationale:Instead of selecting stereotypical discourses to analyze, I opted for a distinctive and digressivefield which is absolutely novel, entirely modern and utterly influential on traditionallyconstructed language. Short Messaging Service (SMS) has started contributing a major role inour life; it became a necessity and culture. It has its own moods, styles, expression, alphabets(or I must say alphanumeric) but no rules, no regulation and no check and balance. A generalassumption is prevailing that SMS language is corrupting our language as Lee, 2002 states, “(itis) a continuing assault of technology on formal written language use.”This project will facilitate further research proposals as it varies from psychological to social andordinary language to revolutionary diversified language which itself is replete with free handvariations like code-switching, code mixing, abbreviation, acronym, smiley, pictogram, rebusemoticons and so on. 5
  6. 6. SMS Language 6
  7. 7. SMS LanguageChapter 4Introduction: Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)Computer-mediated communication (CMC) whether synchronous (real-time) or asynchronous(delayed time) has manifested many divergences and convergences of language and paved wayfor a revolutionary influential novel genre. And now we can see that mobile phones areeverywhere, in our hands, sitting on our desks, in the media, in the class, in the meeting andconstantly buzzing, jumbling and fluttering fingers tips can be witnessed. CMC Internet-based/PC based Mobile/cell-based IM chat Chat rooms Language: language: anterior message e-mails netspeak, weblish, netlish, cyberspeak texting, text, SMS, message, www MUD & MOOAccording to statistics there were 2.4 billion active users of SMS text messaging, but in 2008 itaugmented to 3 billion (Moore, Anderson) and at the present 76% of the mobile phone usersare texters as well. As compared to other communication mediums, SMS and its language hasgreat potential to influence language inclusively and is a growing area of interest within AppliedLinguistics. Social acceptability of SMSs has fully-grown to the extent that there areapproximately 30 billion SMS messages sent globally each month (Courtesy: GSM digital mobilephone standard). 7
  8. 8. SMS Language4.1 What is SMS?Short Message Service (SMS) is the textcommunication service component of phone,web or mobile communication systems, usingstandardized communications protocols thatallow the exchange of short text messagesbetween fixed line or mobile phone devices.(Wikipedia)Short Messaging Service, otherwise known as text messaging, mobile messaging, oralphanumeric paging is a digital cellular network feature which emerged during the 20th centuryand now is widespread enough to be established as a novel genre within the domain oflanguage and communication.( a message is meant to be a way of communication or a way to pass on the informationthrough some sources. Short Message Service or text messaging has paved the way oftransmitting information in a fast and furious way which is time saving, swift and availableeasily to everyone now-a-days. SMS is an asynchronous mode of communication as it does notrequire receiver to be online simultaneously rather there are lapses of time between replies(exception is for some latest iphones). It employs writing as means of expression and isconsidered unimodel or monomodel in its setting.4.2 Objective of SMS languageThe objective of SMS is to send speedy information while sacrificing the grammar, punctuation,which has become a habit and acceptance in our culture.4.3 History of SMS:SMS is considered to be originated from radio telegraphy in radio memo pagers usingstandardized phone protocols. Later, it was defined as part of the Global System for Mobile 8
  9. 9. SMS LanguageCommunications (GSM) series of standards in 1985 as a means of sending messages of up to160 characters, to and from GSM mobile handsets.4.4 SMS language: Wikipedia defines SMS language that,“SMS language or Textese (also known as txtese, chatspeak, txt, txtspk, txtk, txto, txtk, texting language, txt lingo, or txt talk) is a term for the abbreviations and slang most commonly used due to the necessary brevity of mobile phone text messaging, in particular the widespread SMS (short message service) communication protocol. SMS language is also common on the Internet, including in email and instant messaging. It can be likened to a rebus, using pictures and single letters or numbers to represent whole words (e.g. "i <3 u" which uses the pictogram of a heart for love, and the letter u replaces you).”We can generally say that the terms ‘text messaging’ or just ‘texting’ refer to the brief typedmessages sent using the SMS (‘short message service’) of mobile/cell phones, PDAs (‘personaldigital assistants’), smart phones or web browsers. This service had developed enough thatthere are images, videos and music embedded in text messages to modify the need ofcommunication.SMS language emerged in previous century as a complete new language far more deviatedfrom the traditional grammar stricken language. There is an assumption that SMS language ispatterned according to the age, gender, region and qualification of the people. These are newdimensions to be studied under the province of discourse analysis and other linguistic studies.Sms technology has developed so far that the phenomenon of convergence and divergence ofthe boundary between social, personal, interpersonal, marketing and broadcast messages isfused or we can say rather confused.4.5 Features of SMS languageAs compared to the Computer mediated communication, mobile phone technology providessmall equipment eponymously ‘mobile’ that is more affordable among texters as an 9
  10. 10. SMS Languageunobtrusive and relatively inexpensive means of communication. As far as language of SMS isconcerned it includes formal and informal features both i.e. the use of written facial expression(emoticons), the choice of words with amalgamation of numeric and so on. The dominantfeatures of Sms language are:  Abbreviations  Contractions, shortening, clippings  Acronym or initialisms  code-mixing  code-switching  Slang  Syntactic reductions  Accent stylization  Asterisk emoting  Letter/number homophones  Misspellings an typos  Emticons  Smileys  Rebus  Onomatopoeic, exclamatory spellings (e.g. haha! arrrgh! WOOHOO! rahh, ahhh  Deletion of parts of speech: o subject pronoun o preposition o punctuation o articles o copula o auxiliary/model verbs o contractions o ignore capitalization The variation of using words, alphanumeric or acronym depends on the type of message and also the context of the texter’s time and effort. The representative keypad of mobile phone is designed in a way that the texter has to type on ‘multitap’ that means to press same key 3-4 times to get the desired alphabet (not applicable to iphone and 3g phone) and also have to keep in mind the 10
  11. 11. SMS Languagecharacter limitation of words to 160 which results in cumbersome,terse and rude text input. Although a T9 mode that is dictionary modeis offered in almost all mobiles but the use of type/style is specific tothe texter. With the advent of SMS language a whole new alphabetemerged because SMS messages took a long time to enter and werequite abrupt as people attempted to say as much as possible with asfew keystrokes. Abbreviations such as “C U L8er” for “See you later”sprung up for timesaving and coolness. The use of “smileys” to reduce the abruptness of themedium and to help indicate the mood of the person in a way that was difficult with just textbecame popular.4.6 Use of Sms languageThe product of short space and typing complexity has its users of all ages. From teens to adults,elders to older ones can be spotted texting everywhere. But the use of texting has increased itsscope to marketing, advertising and commercial field so much that the President of AmericaObama was marked using text message to journalists and Democratic Party senators andsupporters to announce his choice of vice-presidential running mate. This act has raised a lot ofquestions on the advent and scope of SMS language use. 11
  12. 12. SMS LanguageChapter 5Literature Review:Being a modern technology based language, SMS language only really went ‘live’ in the mid-1990s, and it took scholars a while to attend to texting (Thurlow & Poff 2010). Since the early2000s, however, research from a range of disciplines and a number of countries has beengrowing. The increasing work done within this field shows the great interest of thescholars/researchers to the importance, acceptance and application of texting butsimultaneously much fuss has been made over the dangerous or poisonous nature of SMSlanguage too.  Carter (2003) research indicated that the computer mediated communication environment precludes the exchange of nonverbal communication cues normally present in face-to-face conversations.  Ling (2005) has studied and documented the tenant linguistic characteristics of text messaging which include infrequent abbreviation (343) and infrequent punctuation and capitalization (344).  Ling & Baron (2007) created a more specific and thorough list of these and other linguistic characteristics of SMS language.  Segerstad (2005), Fandrych (2007), and Carter (2003) also opined that SMS language mimics the spoken word.Researches on SMS/text language vary from medicine to academics, environmentaldevelopment psychology have looked at many dimension like compulsive texting, cyberbullying,use of texting for patient reminders, texting as library support, as a pedagogical tool, politicalcampaigning. Within the Cross-cultural contexts, gender and age pattern with reference tosyntactic complex sentences in texts and stylistic techniques has shown a discrepancy to newvistas. In the Pragmalinguistic contexts, more emphasize is put on stereotypical featuresincluding use of abbreviations (e.g. txt), letter number homophones (e.g. gr8), and non- 12
  13. 13. SMS Languagestandard spelling (e.g. luv), dropping the closing and opening words, texting as status symboland code-switchingBooks related to the topic: 1. SMS Language - Text Message Abbreviations: quick reference ebook 2. Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 by David Crystal 3. Language and the Internet by David Crystal 4. A glossary of netspeak and textspeak by David Crystal 5. Computer-mediated communication: linguistic, social, and cross-cultural perspectives by Susan C. Herring 6. The Language Revolution by David Crystal 7. CyberSociety 2.0: revisiting computer-mediated communication and community by Steve Jones 8. Always on: language in an online and mobile world by Naomi S. Baron 9. The inside text: social, cultural and design perspectives on SMS by Richard Harper, Leysia Ann Palen, Alex S. Taylor 10. Email, SMS, MMS: the linguistic creativity of asynchronous discourse in the new media age by Carmen Frehner 13
  14. 14. SMS LanguageChapter 6Discourse analysis of SMS/text messagingSample selection:For the analysis of SMS/text messaging, I have taken sample from my own friends, theirmessages sent to me, my replies to them and also available examples available on Googleimage search. The justification for using such online data is to give glimpse at a generalconception of messages overall.Approaches to be used for text analysis Gricean maxims Politeness theory Code-switching Ethnography PsychoanalysisAnalysis:6.1 Gricean co-operative principle and Maxim’s:Based on my own corpus of real text messages and some variant online available text iphonesand other messages, Gricean cooperative principle and maxim’s can be analyzed against theorthographical/typographical practices in these messages. Grice defined the principle ofcooperation as follows: during the talk the current stage, you talk to the party as a participantin your turn-out in the discourse should be in line with common speech recognition goals ordirection.’ Thus the mechanism of text language works under the cooperation principle and itsfour basic criteria or maxims to provide its texters socialize in a positive way. A broad analysis ofthese messages indicates that these texts bolster three of the key discourse/pragmatics maximsof Grice which all serves one general principle of ‘sociality’. These being 1. Brevity and speed 14
  15. 15. SMS Language 2. Paralinguistic restitution 3. Phonological approximation6.1.1 Brevity and speed:First maxim, being a twofold maxim of brevity and speed in manifested in terms of mostcommonly used a) Abbreviations of lexical items ( alphanumeric or including letter number homophones) b) Relatively minimum use of capitalization and standard, grammatical punctuation (e.g. commas and spaces between words)Now if we go for the reasons of such typo reduction, it will be clear that such so-calleddiscourse is context-based or pragmatically motivated. As I have discussed in introduction thatthe limit of an SMS is 160 characters only so the brevity is little dependent on technologyconstraints but the option to send as many as messages as texter can send and the SMSpackages at lowest rates minimize this vulnerability of this factor. Under the manifestation ofGrice’s maxim we can analyze the pragmatic or contextual factor of the texter as well. Insample 14, 15, 17 we can see the ease of turn-taking (i.e. back-and-forth exchanges) which istotally mingled up. There is more fluidity of social interaction but still there are variations in thereciprocity and response time of the texters because synchronous and asynchronous tools lackthe face-to-face conventions of turn-taking, floor taking and adjacency pairs, with implicationsfor rate of topic decay, coherence and cohesion, and simultaneous and overlap of messages.6.1.2 Paralinguistic restitution:It reasonably seeks to restore the visible loss of such socio-emotional or prosodic features asstress and intonation, while phonological approximation (e.g. accent stylization) adds toparalinguistic restitution and creates the kind of playful, informal register appropriate to therelational orientation of texting. On occasion, the second and third maxims appear to overridethe brevity-speed maxim (Spilioti 2009), but in most cases all principles are servedsimultaneously and equally. Thus, for the sake of paralinguistic restitution, capitalization (e.g.WHAZZUP) and multiple punctuation (what???!!!) may be more desirable for texters. Lexical 15
  16. 16. SMS Languageitems such as ello (‘hello’), goin (‘going’), and bin (‘been’), meanwhile, serve both the need forabbreviation and phonological approximation.It is noteworthy here that the texters follow ‘write it as if saying it’ to set up a more informalregister, which in turn helps to do the kind of small-talk and bonding they desire for maximizingsociality.6.2 Language play and ethnography and politeness:‘Besta luck’, ‘boo hoo’ are such playful acts and means on behalf of the texters which they useto affirm their social identities by deviating from conventional forms; in doing so, theydifferentiate themselves (from adults, for example) and align themselves with each other.Texting facilitates an interesting mix of intimacy and social distance. There develops a relativeanonymity between the sender and the receiver that is universal in its nature because still ifthe texters know each other, there are complicated traditional boundaries between private andpublic image. The face-saving capacity of this type of anonymity likewise accounts for texterswho send messages to say something they would ordinarily avoid having to say face-to-face,such as breaking up with a romantic partner or, in the case of our own study, discussing anunexpected pregnancy. Ling and Yttri (2002:164) have referred it as the ‘culture of concealeduse’ as texting nicely facilitates this kind of co-present exchange,allowing texters to interact covertly in an immediate and potentiallyvery intimate form of communication.Analysis:In the samples 1-9 and 16 there is syntactic brevity of morphologicalitems. No punctuation and contraction of words to few lettersconforms to the above discussion. Thus the use of ‘fyr’ in place of‘fire’, s’’ in place of ‘is’, deletion of ‘e’ at the end of ‘house’, small ‘i’indicate the texters’ intention to be brief as much as he/she can andalso to restore the paralinguistic features. 16
  17. 17. SMS LanguageIn the sample 14, 15 there is another example of brevity and speed, not morphological butdiscourse related. What does ‘pizza tonight?’ has to do alone with the ‘sounds good to us….’This kind of ellipsis takes form of sentential contraction whose sole aim is to be speedy, lesswordy and more socialize.6.3 Code-switching:“In linguistics, code-switching is the concurrent use of more than one language, or languagevariety, in conversation” (Wikipedia). People of multi language use the codes and registers oftheir own language and amalgamate it with the metalanguage to converse in a new style. Thiscode-switching is different from other language contact phenomena, such as borrowing, pidginsand creoles, loan translation (calques), and language transfer (language interference). Now thequestion arises that what are the latent reasons to use code-switching or to use multi-languages in Sms. The answer lies in the paralinguistic features related to the text messagingi.e. the fluency effect, dominancy maintaining, as a fashion code or to give a intimate relativeanonymity effect. Code mixing is a thematically related term, but the usage of the terms code-switching and code-mixing varies. Both terms denote the same practice, but still some scholarsapply code-mixing to denote the formal linguistic properties of said language-contactphenomena, and code-switching to denote the actual, spoken usages by multilingual persons.Whatever the use is, code-switching relates to, and sometimes indexes social-groupmembership in bilingual and multilingual communities. Socio-linguistics describes therelationships between code-switching behaviors and class, ethnicity, and other social positions.Analysis:The exemplified corpus is an example of code-switching, in which‘challo’ is an Urdu word taken in place of expression of ‘let it go,well etc’. Such type of code-switching can be interpreted asfashion symbol or language style/attitude or may be as gainingapproval in a social situation or to show intimacy. In Urdu suchwords are used as fillers or habitual terms and its translation in 17
  18. 18. SMS LanguageEnglish also vary within the discourse markers and fillers.6.4 Psychoanalysis of the Sms language:The underlying psyche of texters, with regard to my own corpus, indicates the creative processof social and personal consciousness of the society and the texters as well. The effect of onenewly developed alpha-numeric and use of symbols within language is not solely bound to asingle region or person or society. Rather it, along with other features, has profound effects onthe cultures, societies and individuals. At individual level, the unconscious mimicking ofsymbols, contraction, numeric use, acronyms etc reflects the hidden desire of texters to comeup with the social status level with the peers. Texting in a more irregular or untraditional wayhas also made teens and adults a kind of fashion freak which clearly mirrors the corecomplexities of human personalities. Other areas discussed under psychoanalysis within thedomain of SMS are text bullying, anger shown via smiley andemoticons (:@ = angry).Analysis:The corpus 7 & 8 represent the forwarded messages in its trueterminology. The language and discourse can be interpreted as away to persuade and socialize the thought of texter. Regardless ofits typical text message orthographical/typographical form, suchtype of text messages reflect the interest and inclination ofbehavior of the texter, whereas the reason to forward suchmessages are to socialize, motivate, convey own thoughts viaquotations, jokes etc, to peruse some dear one in covert way and soon. In the sample 7, no spelling consideration ‘semi-column’ statesthe intellectual level of the texters as well, as this message has beenforwarded through many mobile holders who are masters levelqualified but still no one has bothered to correct the spelling. Itclearly indicates the indifferent attitude of young ones toward the language and itsdeterioration. 18
  19. 19. SMS Language6.4 Critical Discourse Analysis:“The strengths of CDA lie in making connections between social and cultural structures andprocesses on the one hand, and properties of text on the other” (Fairclough & Wodak,1997:277).The social interaction happens within the discursive practices, which produce text, so throughthe analysis of text messages; evidence of social practices can be revealed or noted. Thediscursive practices are influenced by the situation or environment in which a participant is.Fairclough (1992) contends that everydiscourse instance has three dimensions: 1. either spoken or written text; 2. it is an interaction between people involving processes of producing and interpreting the text; 3. Or it is part of social action, and in some cases, virtually the whole of it. Copyright © 2008, IGI GlobalWithin this framework of analyzing Sms/text language, the dimension of discursive practiceupon which texters draw a new style of language is identified and linked to the underlyingpower relations, which may be reproduced by the interaction. The production of text draws itsmeanings from the social practice and vice versa. Thus the ethnographical practice also dealswith the text within the context of interaction as a part of social action. The production of thistype of new genre is bound to the social production and social conditions of interpreting it. 19
  20. 20. SMS Language6.5 Difference in teen and elderly people’s text language:My analysis of difference in SMS language according to age pattern couldn’t affirm myassumption but the reason behind can be the lacking of sample as I could avail only one SMSfrom an elderly person and one from teen. Both were same in contracting the words, althoughuse of ‘x’ which is more modern use occurred in the sample of the teen. 20
  21. 21. SMS LanguageChapter 7SMS/text language as a new genre:The linguistic and communicative practices of text-messages emerged from a particularcombination of technological affordances, contextual variables and interactional priorities. ThusSMS/text language came into being as a new hybrid or a creolizing blend of written and spokendiscourse. The kinds of orthographic (or typographic) choices that texters make in theirmessages are motivated primarily by pragmatic and communicative concerns. Research focuseson the linguistic (and orthographic) form of texting; the defining feature of text messages isultimately their sociable function. Text-messages are thus communicative events onlysuperficially recognizable from their look; their real significance (in both semantic and socialterms) lies primarily in their discursive content and communicative intent.Useful genre-defining feature of texting ot text messages thus lies in typical discursive features: (a) The comparatively short length of text-messages; (b) The relative concentration of non-standard typographic markers; and (c) Their predominantly small-talk contentBut it is noteworthy here that these generic and stylistic features are not plenty individually tocharacterize texting. If we compare this genre to other formal letters and academic essay theyalso com up with chatty features and short length but what makes this language distinctivegenre is its social usefulness in any culture scenario. 21
  22. 22. SMS LanguageDiscussion (Scope or new direction):I started this project with a passion of a zeitgeist and my analysis embodies the same pattern ofthought at the end. We are living in an age where the diminutive, the brief and the simple arehighly prized in communication. Clearly, texting embodies this zeitgeist. The history of thedevelopment of so-called new communication technologies i.e. IM chat, MUDs ad so on, hasbeen marked by periods of excessive hype and hysteria about the kinds of cultural, social andpsychological impacts each new technology is likely to have. Study within these technologieswarrant many researches and same is the case with SMS language especially from discourseanalysts and other language and communication scholars. It would be bad luck not to mentionhere that US President Barack Obama and his campaign organizers announced his vice-presidential running mate in August 2008 via text massage. Such use of SMS language inpolitical discourse as a persuasive content has extended the mental constituency of researchersto turn and do research in this specific field which has attained somuch importance.I also came in account an example on internet used by PresidentBush to warn Iraq by using SMS language including rebus,contractions and aggressive language. The use of rebus has somepsychoanalytical implications as well. As the use of pictogramindicate the mental phenomenon of the texter to socialize viasocietal terms and conditions. The pictograms used in this text areuniversally known (although not all). Such innovation in politicaldiscourse province also accounts for the face-saving strategies asthe pictograms help the texter to deviate the attention of the reader from the aggressiveimpression of the text. 22
  23. 23. SMS LanguageReferences:Lee, Carmenforth. Texts and practices of micro-blogging: Status updates on Facebook. In Language in theNew Media: Sociolinguistic Perspectives, C. Thurlow and K. Mroczek (eds). Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.Shortis, Tim 2007a Gr8 txtpectations: The creativity of text spelling. English Drama MediaThompson, Lee and Julie Cupples 2008 Seen and not heard? Text messaging and digitalsociality. Social &Cultural Geography 9 (1): 95-108. 23
  24. 24. SMS LanguageAppendix:Transcripts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24
  25. 25. SMS Language10 11 1213 14 1516 17 18 25