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Mobile phone text messaging language : how and why undergraduates use textisms

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Grace, AAS (2013) Mobile phone text messaging language : how and why undergraduates use textisms. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Mobile phone text messaging has continued to increase in popularity since its inception in 1992, but research into the language used in text messages has produced variable results. The overall purpose of this thesis was to investigate factors which might be associated with variations in textism use between individual phone users. In previous research, methodological variations between studies have made comparisons difficult and include the use of various message collection methods (e.g., asking participants to create messages versus to provide previously sent messages) and variations in the definition, categorisation and counting of altered words in text messages, or “textisms” (e.g., 2nite for tonight). In Study 1 of this thesis, undergraduates (155 in Canada, 86 in Australia) were asked to provide text messages via three different collection methods. Messages that were translated and elicited under experimental conditions were found to contain more textisms than naturalistic messages copied from phones. Further, Australian participants used more contractive textisms (e.g., fri for Friday, bday for birthday) than Canadians, and more textisms overall. In Study 2, naturalistic data were collected from a further 386 Australian first-year undergraduates between 2009 and 2012. Over these time-points, textism use decreased, particularly for contractive textisms. Females used more expressive textism types (e.g., pleeease!?! for please) than males. Further differences in textism use were found to be related to the technology on participants’ phones and to participants’ attitudes towards textism use. In Study 3, the Australian and Canadian undergraduates from Study 1 completed a range of literacy and language tasks. The very few correlations between task scores and textism use that reached statistical significance were negative (students with higher linguistic scores used fewer textisms), although this relationship may have been influenced by differences in attitude and early literacy experience. In Study 4, the Australian students of Study 3 were able to discern situations in which textism use is appropriate. Further, the examination of 303 written exams of a separate group of Australian undergraduates confirmed that textisms were avoided in these students’ formal writing. In conclusion, individual textism use in messages is related to a number of factors, especially the technology on mobile phones. Rather than being associated with poor literacy skills, textism use can be conceptualised as a form of literacy skill that is adapted to the social expectations of undergraduates and the developing technology on phones to produce maximally efficient and expressive text-based communication.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: text messaging, texting, SMS, textisms, language, undergraduates, adults, mobile phones
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Chapter 2 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print of an article finally published as: Grace, A., Kemp, N., Martin, F. H., Parrila, R., (2012), Undergraduates’ use of text messaging language: Effects of country and collection method, Writing systems research, 4, 167–184. The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Writing systems research 28/8/2012/ http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17586801.2012.712875

Chapter 3 appears to be the equivalent of a pre-print of an article finally published as: Grace, A., Kemp, N., (2014) Text messaging language: A comparison of undergraduates' naturalistic textism use in four consecutive cohorts, Writing systems research, 7, 220–234. The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Writing systems research 21/3/2014/ http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17586801.2014.898575

Chapter 4 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print of an article finally published as: Grace, A., Kemp, N., Martin, F. H., Parrila, R. (2014). Undergraduates’ text messaging language and literacy skills, Reading and writing, 27, 855-873. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007s11145-013-9471-2

Chapter 5 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print of an article finally published as: Grace, A., Kemp, N., Martin, F. H., Parrila, R., (2015), New media & society, 17, 792-809. © The Author(s) 2013, published by Sage

Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2014 00:55
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2016 23:47
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