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Undergraduates' attitudes to text messaging language use and intrusions of textisms into formal writing


Grace, A and Kemp, N and Martin, FH and Parrila, R, Undergraduates' attitudes to text messaging language use and intrusions of textisms into formal writing, New Media and Society, 17, (5) pp. 792-809. ISSN 1461-4448 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Sage

DOI: doi:10.1177/1461444813516832


Students’ increasing use of text messaging language has prompted concern that textisms (e.g., 2 for to, dont for don’t, ☺) will intrude into their formal written work. Eighty-six Australian and 150 Canadian undergraduates were asked to rate the appropriateness of textism use in various situations. Students distinguished between the appropriateness of using textisms in different writing modalities and to different recipients, rating textism use as inappropriate in formal exams and assignments, but appropriate in text messages, online chat and emails with friends and siblings. In a second study, we checked the examination papers of a separate sample of 153 Australian undergraduates for the presence of textisms. Only a negligible number were found. We conclude that, overall, university students recognise the different requirements of different recipients and modalities when considering textism use and that students are able to avoid textism use in exams despite media reports to the contrary.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:text messaging, textese, formal writing, undergraduates
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Cognitive and computational psychology
Research Field:Psycholinguistics (incl. speech production and comprehension)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Grace, A (Dr Abbie Grace)
UTAS Author:Kemp, N (Associate Professor Nenagh Kemp)
ID Code:89764
Year Published:2015 (online first 2013)
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2014-03-14
Last Modified:2017-12-07

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