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Does the SMS Language Have an Effect on Teenage Spelling? – A Study Conducted on a Selected Group of Students Studying in Colombo

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Mayanthi Kulatunga Jayakody

Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, LK
About Mayanthi Kulatunga
Department of Language Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Abstract

The focus of this research is to find out whether the use of SMS language has a link to the spelling of school going teenagers (within the age limit of thirteen and nineteen years) when writing in English according to the accepted form in schools. Mobile phones are undoubtedly the most commonly used method of communication in the world today. The free availability of SMART phones could be considered as one of its causes. Such phones are equally popular among adults as well as teenagers. Seemingly, the preference of the teenagers is inclined more towards text messaging than voice. Among them, there are many who use abbreviated terms commonly known as SMS language for texting. As Seda (2013) affirms, this particular discourse is also called by other names such as ‘textese’ and ‘textspeak’. The obvious familiarity of these children with the particular usage makes one wonder whether it would affect their spelling when involved in their studies. As a result, this research explores whether the extensive use of SMS language affects the knowledge of formal English spelling of such teenagers.

 

This study has derived its data from a group of teenagers attending two local private schools and an international school within the city limits of Colombo and also a few teachers belonging to both these schools. The research tools that were utilized were observation and a questionnaire that collected quantitative as well as qualitative data. This paper, which includes a background history of the mobile phone and text messaging, a list of popular SMS abbreviations in the “SMS discourse” (Mendis, 2006), the methodology and the recommendations based on the findings would hopefully be helpful to English teachers when considering the causes of good or bad spelling of schooling children especially the ones who are within the age limit of thirteen and nineteen years (commonly referred to the teenagers in this study).
How to Cite: Jayakody, M.K., (2017). Does the SMS Language Have an Effect on Teenage Spelling? – A Study Conducted on a Selected Group of Students Studying in Colombo . OUSL Journal . 12 ( 2 ) , pp . 99–118 . DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v12i2.7409
Published on 27 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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