On Kairosnews I found a link to an article about a girl whose teacher couldn’t understand an essay she turned in in SMS language. The guys at Kairos find this pretty intriguing, and I have to agree. Here’s an excerpt:

The girl’s essay began: “My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :- kids FTF. ILNY, it’s a gr8 plc.”

Which in translation from text messaging shorthand would read: “My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It’s a great place.”

And having written that I notice the Americans on Kairosnews have called it IM speak, and that CNN calls it text messaging language while I assume it’s SMS speak. I suppose it’s both – but Americans don’t do SMS, do they. Anyway, it half-baffles me but I like it anyway. (I’m an old fogey: I use the dictionary on my mobile phone so I spell normally. And in IM I can type plain English much faster than those codes.)

[update 7/3: Torill’s posted a response where she points out that this is an act of rebellion, not degeneration. Absolutely. And btw, email addresses are optional in the comments :)]

[update 11/3: A senior high school teacher I met in Narvik told me he uses SMS language deliberately in his teaching – he gets his students to translate a regular text to SMS language, and the discuss the results in relation to the history of language, grammer and its development through the ages. I assume many other teachers do similar things.]

6 thoughts on “SMS essay

  1. Robert

    I only occasionally use the abbreviations. I usually just type the whole word out… but then I’m new to the whole SMS thing.

  2. ekhlas

    very good

  3. Ami

    I belong to India, which is an Anglophile country (protestaions notwithstanding). I learnt English from Indian teachers, my parents, and from books. The general standard (or the lack of it) of English displayed these days by its native speakers really amazes me. What is the reason for this great downfall even in good old England? I have nothing against SMS language. It is of great utility. But maybe this will be another factor causing children to grow up without knowing how to use the language really and properly – written or spoken – and fail to get at the beauty of the language. They will invariably grow up to be poor communicators. They will have learnt only a code language that sms is. But then, Morse, properly adapted to the sms needs, would have been perhaps better! Use only dots and dashes: still better for the alphabetically challenged.

  4. [XIN]

    Languages Evolve. That is their first law.

    Some people will be against and some people will be for this change.

    Compressing a comple thought like “I LOVE YOU”, as “ILU” is a certainly linguastic data compression development by all mathematical understanding and hence is to be used by larger number of people because of laws of ergonomics.

    More people always make the language definition.


  5. Lucas

    Yes language is evolving. The text message revolution is an annoying but yet important move in both our written and spoken languages. It so how manages to take elements from both, and may be driving all of us to illiteracy.

    I’ve been fascinated by text messages ever since I possessed a mobile phone. So much so that I’ve create a website dedicated to text message poetry.


    I also wrote my dissertation based on this subject. Here is a poem I wrote about how predicted text input, helps the illiterate texters like me, remember how to spell.


  6. Lucas

    Sorry forgot to add the poem. Here it is…

    Rembr. No! 73636237 Alwys typn shrt cutz, 4getn wot keyz 2pres, So i let da numbas gide me, Stopz me frm makin mstakes, Wen i prdict i dont 4get… I remember


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