Text message slang less popular than expected
Jenna Owsianik, ctvbc.ca
Published Monday, April 9, 2012 3:12PM PDT
A university researcher studying how language is used among Canadians when sending text messages says abbreviations aren't as popular as he thought.
Text4Science is a project started last December by academics from Simon Fraser University, the University of Ottawa and Universite de Montreal to learn whether these cellphone communications are affecting the way people write overall. Researchers say they have already gathered nearly 8,000 text messages and are asking more people to forward them copies of their previously sent text messages.
Researcher Christian Guilbault of Simon Fraser University says he wants to dispel myths about young people being worse writers than people in earlier generations.
"There's a lot of miscommunication about text and language, and a lot of people think the young people nowadays can't spell anymore," Guilbault told ctvbc.ca. "We don't think it's true, but we need a large volume of data to see if it's true or not."
Guilbault says his research so far reveals people use fewer abbreviations and codes while text messaging than he imagined.
His research shows contributors have shared 12 different ways to text "OK," but the most common form is "okay." Among contributors, the phrase "see you" was texted four times as often as "c u," while "you are" and "u r" were texted at about the same rate. Also, contributors used "please" and "thank you" roughly three times as often as "pls" and thx."
Researchers say project contributors shared 10 different ways to text laughter, including three variants of "LOL."
Guilbault told ctvbc.ca he also wants to discover if people who speak many languages do so as well in text messages and if he can pinpoint certain words used by specific social groups.
People who wish to participate in the study can forward their texts to 202202 or visit the project website.