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The Impacts of Textism on Students and The English Language

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Table of contents

  1. Features of Textism
  2. 1. Typographic symbols and Emoticons
    Letters and Number Homophones
    Contractions, Shortening and Clipping
    Initialism and Acronyms
    Accent Stylization and Non-Conventional Spelling
  3. Why do the youngsters use texting frequently
  4. Influence of the texting on the spelling skills of the students
  5. Positive Influence
    Negative Influence
    No Influence

Technologies like mobile phones and internet has altered the lives of people and English language. Due to the invention of these technologies the way and style of communication is also changed. Now people are able to use rapid means of communication in the form of text messages. Now teenagers prefers to use texting as a mode of communication with their friends. Text messages are used as a medium of communication for the mobile phone users. It is comprised on letters, numbers and symbols. Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghilebaert in 1984 developed this concept. Neil Popworth sent the first text message ‘Merry Christmas’ to his friend Richard Jarvis in 1992 at Sema group telecom. At that time there not any keyboard on mobile phones, that is why he typed the message on PC and is sent to his friend in Vodafone. On one hand service providers are used to send text message s while on the other hand internet is used to send the instant messages. These are the two different modes of communication for adults.

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Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook, messenger and Web chat is included in the instant messages. Most of the people use mobile phones to send text as they do not have an access to the internet. SMS and call packages in all the networks has made it easy to contact with the other people. Not only the rich people but even the lowest community of people use this technology. It is not wrong to say that with the advent of technologies like mobile phones, a new form of language appears, that is texting language.

Texting is the latest mode of communication. In texting language people use abbreviation and graphics to convey messages and it is different form the formal style of Writing. Most of the teenage students use this language to communicate. As a result of this, a new language, identity and discourse emerges. In Pakistan the usage of mobile phones is increasing day by day. According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in October 2011, about 65% of teenage use mobile phones. In June 2011, it was 64. 8%. Text messages removes the shyness, so most of the people like to send messages instead of face to face conversation. Due to the large number of SMS packages on all the networks at low cost, caused the SMS popular among young students. Mobile users write the message in short form to save time. To convey the meaning, words and phrases along with symbols are used in SMS language. SMS language is increasing day by day researchers are working on the impacts of SMS language on the writing skills of the students.

Features of Textism

Due to the text messages, English language has been changed. Textual language is different from the conventional language. There are some of the features in which textual language is different form conventional language. Some of the prominent features of texting language is described below:

1. Typographic symbols and Emoticons

Typographic symbols are single or multiple letters which symbolized the whole word. For example, ‘zzz’ means slumber, sleep and tiredness. To emphasize on something multiple punctuations are used like!!! and???. Emoticons is the type of representation that sends an emotion in the form of facial expression like 🙂 for smile.

Letters and Number Homophones

The combination of letters and numbers are used to represent a whole word which is associated with the pronunciation of a word. For instance, cu l8r and w8.

Contractions, Shortening and Clipping

Contraction is the missing of middle vowel sound. For example, txt for text and hmwrk for homework. Shortening of words is the omission of letters. It is commonly used to write month and day. For instance, Feb for February and sun for Sunday. Clipping is the absence of final letter in a word. For example, wil for will and hav for have.

Initialism and Acronyms

Initialsim is the usage of first letter of a word to represent the whole world. For example, OMG is used to represent oh my god and bf for boyfriend. In acronyms the first letter of a word symbolizes the whole word. For example, NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization) and NAB (National Accountancy Bureau).


The short form of a word is used to represent the whole word. For example, Dr. is used for doctor and msg is used for message. CPU is the abbreviation of central processing unit.


Lengthening and repetition of same letters are used to emphasize such as ‘sooo’ and ‘yesss’. The repetition of the same letter in a sentence shows that something is very important.

Accent Stylization and Non-Conventional Spelling

On one hand Accent stylization is the youth code in which the words are spelled in accordance with the regional speech. For example, wanna for want and gonna for going. On the other hand, non-conventional spelling is not the conventional spelling of the word rather people make their own spellings. Texting language is widely spread among teenagers. There are two types of textism; linguistic textism and contextual textism. On one side, acronyms, low case, omitted apostrophe, and shortening of words are included in linguistic textism. Words like cant, don’t and wont have no apostrophe in SMS language. Shortening of words is the omission of vowel letters like ‘tht’ is used for that and ‘u’ is for you. While on the other side, contextual textism is the usage of smileys and capital letters. Teenagers not only use the shortening of words, but also the non-conventional spellings like fone is used instead of phone. The short syntactic and lexical form is used in SMS language.

Why do the youngsters use texting frequently

A new language has been introduced with the advent of texting. As this language is different from the formal writing so, people need to have a special kind of attention to understand this language. Different kinds of abbreviations and symbols are used in this language. This language is only implicated between the senders and receivers.

Texting messages is a mode for the youngsters to contact with their friends. It keeps the people touch with their loved ones. Texting is the more easy way of giving shape to our emotions. It is better for the people who are not confident enough to express their feelings face to face. Most of the teenagers use this mode of communication to resolve the issues, matters and problems. Texting language is used for a variety of reasons. To save time, people use shortcuts as the texting language conveys message in a short span of time. It is not wrong to say that texting language is significant in order to save time and money. At prersnt time, thuis style of writing is considered as ‘modern’ and ‘stylized’ way of writing. Texting language is a swift way through which people share information in a very short periode of time. It does not require any sentence structure and grammar of any language. The lives of young people young generation have been deeply influenced by texting. Nikirk call the young generation ‘millennial generation’. Young generation considers the social media like Facebook and texting as an essential part of social life. According to the article posted by center for innovative Public Health Research 2015, three fourth of the teens from 12- 17 years old have their own cell phones. Boys send less number of text as compared to girls. Girls send 3952 text in a month while boys send 2815 text per month. Texting is basically the medium to convey messages because of the unlimited messages packages, texting becomes the part of the teenager’s lives. Now teens send uncountable text tio their friends.

Teenagers are so addicted with the texting that even the send messages during class, brushing, eating and even in cafeteria. Even the keep the phone near to them while sleeping. A study in Uk shows that 80 % of people under 25 years and 14 % above 55 choose texting over calling. It indicates that not only the adults but elders also use this mode of communication. Texting language is also used within office to contact with the workers. With the passage of time texting is gaining popularity.

Influence of the texting on the spelling skills of the students

There are positive as well as negative influences of texting language on spelling skills of the students. ‘The Globe and the Mail’ issued an article entitled ‘texting helps teen’s grammar’ that describes the positive influence of texting. Another entitled ‘texting, twitter contributing to students poor grammar skills that describes the negative influence of texting on the grammar skills of the students.

Positive Influence

Texting language like emoticons and symbols is not destroying the language, rather it increases the creativeness of students. Texting is advantageous to students because it keeps the students indulge in writing. Young students use cell phones for spelling improvement as it allows the students to express their idea and thought freely. It is valuable in spelling development. Crystal states: “The more you text, the better your literacy scores”. He considers textism as a blessing and goes against to the negative impacts of textism on the writing skills of the students. SMS language enhances the creativity of students. During texting students are in the constant state and thinking and writing. As a result of, it increases the phonetics awareness among children.

Negative Influence

Text messages has negatively influenced on the students’ writing skill. So, some of the parents and educators believe that it can put a threat on the writing skills of a student. Oxely states that “texting is more relaxed, and colloquial version of English language with rare use of grammar, increased use of abbreviation and use of emoticons” teens are using this language in their writing skills. The addiction of text language out the negative impacts on the writing skills of a student. Regular use of texting language leads to the poor grades of students. SMS language is an obstacle in the formal communication and writing. John calls the texters as “Vandal who are trying to do to the language what Genghis Khan did to his neighbors eight hundred years ago”It is destroying punctuation and formal spellings and vocabulary. Due to the increasing use of texting language, the formal language is destroying. Texting language is different from formal writing that is based on abbreviation, replacement of numbers for words, contractions and incorrect spelling omission of middle vowel letter. Due to this most of the students become unable to distinguish between formal and informal writing. Thus, Text language is significantly affect the English language learners. Due to the texting the standard of English language is declining “Texting is penmanship for illiterates”. Texting is writing freely without caring about the grammar of the language. There is not any rule of English grammar in texting language.

Texting language is rebellious against the standard use of English language as it is the private communication.

No Influence

The effect of texting language on the writing skills of the students is neither positive nor negative. It is just another form of language. So, it does not put any influence on the students’ grammar and spelling. This language is analogous to slang. As the slang words do not effect on the standard of English language so, the texting language does not. Over the years, every generation has its own jargons and slangs that is different from the formal English language. So, it is true to say that if a student learns the basic rules and standard of English language, he can be able to distinguish between formal and informal language. Then, a student can be able to learn the situational use of the language.

In the past print was considered a dangerous invention because it is the platform through which people can freely express their thoughts and ideas that eventually leads to the disturbance in the discipline of the society. Even, the mode of telegraph was considered a disastrous thing that supported crimes. The two modes of communication like telegraph and broadcasting were also considered to have negatively effects on society that would destabilize the system of society. Thus, it is crystal clear that all were just groundless fears of people for these above mentioned modes of communication and same is for texting. Texting has no influence on the writing skills of the students.

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Many researches have been conducted to find out the impacts of textism on the writing skills of the students. Texting language was present in the essays of 64% teenage students of America. Texting means the sending of short messages between the mobile phone users. Texting is basically the trait of a mobile phone. SMS is the message as well as the mode of communication. The essay written by a 13-year-old Scottish schoolgirl shows that texting effects on the writing skills of the student. This essay was published by BBC in 2003. The following are the few lines of this particular essay: “My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF &th 3:- kids FTF. ILNY, it’s a gr8 plc. ” If this is to be translated, it goes like this: “My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York, it’s a great place. ”

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