To summarise the distinctive features of text communication, I
believe that the language used is dependant on the recipient and the
relationship you have with them. If they are a colleague from an
older generation, it is more likely the lingo used would be slightly
more formal. For instance, most words would be spelt correctly
rather than with text speak. If I sent a message to the colleague it
How are you doing today? What time do you want me tomorrow?
If sending it to a friend, it may read:
Hw r u doin 2dy? Time u wnt me 2moro?
My omission of words, vowels and the occasional consonant fits the
new situation and relationship.
It’s not only text messages that depend on the recipient. Emails
are integral in formal communication. Similarly to text messages,
informal emails will omit letters, punctuation and grammar. However,
paragraphing and punctuation would be a necessity in a formal email
for a job application etc. An example:
I am writing to you regarding the application...
I hope you will consider my application...
The clear use of standard letter writing comes over on electronic
form. However, an informal message, would contain hardly any
Alright mate coming out 2nite?gonna be a blast.hope ur comin know
who else is?
The other main reason for text’s distinctive features is the
economic value. The limit of characters for your money is a reason
for the omission of words, vowels and even all speech. Emoticons say
so much with few characters. Emoticons not only save space, they
bring the text onto a more informal level. As you cannot see the
person, showing that you are happy or sad regarding a certain
comment or situation is easily done. Also, the fact you cannot see
the recipient brings out a certain confidence. People say things
they wouldn’t normally in a face-to-face scenario. Sexting,
so called as it combines sexual messages and texts is a new craze.
The messages sent are explicit and suggestive, but the sender feels
ok to do so because they are less embarrassed due to not being able
to see the recipient.
Another reason for the distinctive features used is that the
informality of speech is carried over into written form. Writing
words as they are pronounced, keeps the illusion that the person is
actually speaking to you:
I’ve gotta go luv.
I’m outta time.
These eye-dialect forms like “luv”, sit alongside nonce
formations like “outta” (“out
This further enhances the written-as-it-is-spoken mentality.
These characteristics are slowly imprinting on every day life.
Billboards and television adverts are using this text message
language to sell items. Abbreviations such as BOGOF - Buy
One Get One Free, are common features in supermarkets and chain
One day text language may overtake the English language due to
media’s ability to broadcast all over the earth. The speed in which
fads spread is impressive and neologisms get dictionary recognition
very quickly. Take bounce-back-ability. Within weeks of being
used by then Crystal Palace manager, Iain Dowie, the “word” was in
the dictionary. This is an example of abnormal hyphenation, another
craze within electronic communication. Watch this space.