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Txt, Slang & Chat Language

Essay by   •  October 2, 2011  •  Case Study  •  2,877 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,908 Views

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Slang, Txt

&

Ch@ Language

That language differs in different geographical locations is a well-known fact, but the phenomenon of chat language has within the last decade grown across borders into a universal style of writing. By abbreviating words we create a new type of language, which does not at first glance seem to be very dependent on grammar. Text-message and chat language exist in various languages around the world, but this paper will focus on chat language and slang deriving from English. Is it the emails or the SMS fault that we today have started talking so informal? Or is it just the fact that we creating a new language with all the slang words that is created almost everyday? We can't blame the younger generation for the language we today speaking. It's not something new. It has actually been used for a long time. Words as dunno, gonna, sorta been used for a century. And the word "coz" been in the Oxford English dictionary since 1828. ( Txtng, Crystal David).

Texting has boomed the past years and people feel more comfortable texting then calling. Naomi S. Baron writes in her survey Language of the Internet that

"Sms was developed in Europe, first appearing in the late 1992. The protocol was developed as part of a multinational European effort known as GSM (Group Spécial Mobile) that was constituted to establish a uniform mobile telephone system for Europe."

This part is very interesting, considering the fact that text-messaging boomed in Europe and not in America, yet the most familiar abbreviations come from English words. The country that most likely would have started this chain reaction of spreading the new language must therefore have been The United Kingdom. Since English is a well-known language, spoken and understood by a large global population, the development of chat and text language could have followed the same patterns as the film-industry. French, German or Italian might not have enough speakers for the rest of the world to adapt to their commercial products, and this may be a reason for why chat or text-messaging in their particular languages have not expanded to any appreciable extent. To understand it more I have made a survey to see the statistics and the most common words. The survey consists of questions sent out on www.facebook.com, since this medium is a global community for people of varying age groups. The targeted group was people between the ages of 15-35 who have English as their mother language. People that had English as their mother tongue were singled out, but the geographical variations of English were not categorized any further. It was chosen not to include different variations of smiley-faces, since this survey will focus on abbreviations that morphed from regular writing. The aim was to find out if there are certain patterns and such a thing as a grammatical structure to follow when writing, what words are most common to use, and if there are some particular words that are more popular within the different age groups. It was decided not to look at gender as a factor for these variations, and though the subjects of the survey did not remain anonymous, their gender did not seem important for the outcome of the results. The questions that were sent out to 100 random people that matched the survey requirements were: "List the ten most common abbreviations you use when texting on your mobile phone or chatting online", "Why do you use abbreviations when texting and chatting?" and "Submit your own translation into text-language of the following fictional text-message: Hi! How are you doing? It will be great to see you tonight. Bring your computer, because mine is broken." 100% responded, and were divided into age groups in order to categorize the results. The age groups were 15-20, 21-30 and 31-40. 32% of the people were 15-21, 55% were 21-30, and 13% were 31-40. Some words were used by all of the people participating: LOL (Laugh Out Loud), BRB (Be Right Back), CU (See You), THX/THNX (Thanks). An interesting part is that all the words used by the oldest age group, were also used by the younger groups, but not vice versa. Exclusive words for the youngest groups were: IDK (I Don't Know), RLY (Really) and LMAO (Laughing My Ass Off). The last one not occurring in the older groups might depend on the fact that it is fairly crude, even though WTF (What The F***) was also used among a majority in the 21-30 group. Other words that were evenly spread out among the objects of the survey were: TTYL (Talk To You Later), OMG (Oh My God), Cuz (Because), and BTW (By The Way). The responds gave less variation that assumed, which indicates that these abbreviations are very common. However, if the question would have been angled differently, the outcome might have changed slightly. If for example 40 abbreviations had been sent out and the subjects of the survey had to check which ones they used frequently, a more expanded vocabulary might have appeared.

On the question "Why do you use abbreviations when texting and chatting?" the answers where quite similar. All the answers were linked to saving time when writing, and to compress longer text messages into one single message on their phones when sending SMS. However, answers that occurred a few times in the youngest age group were: "It's cool to play with language and create your own" or "Some of my friends and I made up some words of our own so that no one will understand". This could definitely be seen as a revolution among young people. The fact that they are inspired, interested and not to say creative enough to play with language could be seen as a very positive development. According to Muhammad Shaban Rafi, who wrote the article SMS Text Analysis: Language, Gender and Current Practices:

"[...] abbreviations and acronyms fulfill a collective identity function whereby they require a special shared knowledge to be able to understand the language and consequently be able to use it. The adept use of these personalized language short forms is an indicator of group affiliation and a component of group identity. The language specific to SMS users often does not relate to standard and the mass media thus label SMS communication as the secret code of the youth or as the big SMS action against long sentences (Döring 2002)"

The third task, to translate a sentence into a text-message, did not show much variation between the two younger groups. They generally looked like this: "hi!how r u?will b gr8 2 cu 2nite.bring ur comp,cuz mine broke". The oldest age group did not compress as many words: "hi!how r u doin?it'll be gr8 2 cu 2nite.bring ur comp,cuz mine is broken." This shows that

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