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University students vary their use of textese in digital messages to suit the recipient


Kemp, N and Clayton, J, University students vary their use of textese in digital messages to suit the recipient, Journal of Research in Reading, 40, (S1) pp. S141-S157. ISSN 0141-0423 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 UKLA

DOI: doi:10.1111/1467-9817.12074


Background: The casual, abbreviated writing style sometimes known as ‘textese’ (e.g., sorry im late ☹) has become widespread with the rise of digital communication. We explored Australian university students’ views on, and use of, textese across three modalities (text message, Facebook post, email) and three recipient types (friends, peers, lecturers).

Methods: In Study 1, 51 undergraduates composed messages across the three modalities to the three recipient types. They also rated the appropriateness of messages written with high, medium and no textese, across modality and recipient types. In Study 2, 37 additional students provided examples of their own sent messages across modalities and recipients.

Results: Overall, participants rated textese use as more appropriate, and used significantly more textese, in messages to friends, than to peers, than to lecturers.

Conclusions: Undergraduates are sensitive to when and where it is appropriate to use textese and vary their use (and opinions) of written language as a function of the recipient.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:digital communication, textese, spelling, communication, university students
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:Clayton, J (Miss Jennifer Clayton)
ID Code:107910
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2016-03-31
Last Modified:2018-04-09

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