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Txting across time: undergraduates’ use of ‘textese’ in seven consecutive first-year psychology cohorts


Kemp, N and Grace, A, Txting across time: undergraduates' use of textese' in seven consecutive first-year psychology cohorts, Writing Systems Research, 9, (1) pp. 82-98. ISSN 1758-6801 (2017) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/17586801.2017.1285220


Communicating by text message is an everyday occurrence for most young adults. This form of communication is often associated with an abbreviated, unconventional spelling style, sometimes called 'textese'. In this study, we report on the changing written language of text messaging, across seven cohorts of first-year Psychology undergraduates (n = 728) at an Australian university. From 2009 to 2015, the decline of textese use has gradually tailed off, but remains to represent approximately 12% of written words. Earlier attempts to reduce the number of characters (e.g., [ppl] for [people]) are now equalled by emotionally expressive spellings that increase the number of characters (e.g., [helllooo!!! ☺]), and women have continued to use more textese than men. It appears that today’s larger phone screens and keyboards, and easier input methods, rather than any changes in views on the appropriateness of using textese, are the main drivers in reducing young adults’ tendency to use unconventional spellings in their text messages.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:text messaging, spelling, undergraduates, digital communication, texting, cell phones, mobile phones
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Applied and developmental psychology
Research Field:Educational psychology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Kemp, N (Associate Professor Nenagh Kemp)
UTAS Author:Grace, A (Dr Abbie Grace)
ID Code:117902
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2017-06-29
Last Modified:2018-07-25

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