Texting – Low Tech Language on High Tech Devices

Texting, as many of you know, is the exchanging of short messages between mobile phones, via cellular networks. Short Message Services (SMS) are often included in the various cell phone plans available from a host of carriers. If not included in your plan, or if you exceed your allotment, it can quickly become a very expensive endeavor.

Texting actually became popular in Europe and Asia, as it was cheaper to send a text message than to place a call because of the roaming charges between countries.

In the United States of America, this phenomenal usage has skyrocketed over the past couple of years and has provided a mother lode to the mobile phone industry. According to the mobile industry’s trade association, more than 75 billion text messages were sent during the month of June 2008, an increase of 160 percent over the previous June in 2007.

With this popularity, the mobile phone operators have raised the rates for this service nearly 100 percent in two years, although this service remains very inexpensive for the operators to transmit. Despite the price hikes, U.S. subscribers are texting more than ever.

So what’s in a text message?

Most text messages are loaded with acronyms, shorthand and lingo developed to save time and characters. In fact, if you are unfamiliar with texting and receive a message from a heavy user of the service, you may wonder what they are talking about. You will need some lessons in “Net Lingo“. There is also the personal touch, where many users have created their own language, making most English teachers faint. The creative spelling and resulting sentences strung together have bled over into the actual spoken language of many teenagers and young adults, creating a real concern for their development.

If the lines between texting and everyday speech become blurred many individuals may find themselves being perceived as lacking in skills, which in turn could make it difficult to land employment.

“Wen ur redy or wateva Lemeno”

Does the constant use of this type of lingo affect one’s ability to conduct an interview or pass a written test? Does the individual actually have to think harder to reconnect with generally accepted speech, causing them to appear slow or distracted?

I am not aware of any studies that have been conducted (and maybe there has been), but it would be interesting to know the long-term affect. Or maybe this is no different than a bilingual individual who is well aware of the language they are speaking at the time, which shows their level of intelligence.

At any rate, this is to be determined (Aar, this is tbd). Perhaps some college courses will soon be taught on text messaging. This would be a good course for parents, providing them with an understanding of what is being said among their children. If you see “LGH” (let’s get high) or “LMIRL” (let’s meet in real life), you will at least have a clue.

Interested parties may find this text messaging abbreviation guide very helpful. Okay, YHBW (you have been warned).

Seriously, do you have concerns about the long-term affect of texting? Please provide your feedback below.

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