15. Texting and Fossilization

28 07 2010


Ms. Meera Baby, faculty of Govt. College, Kanjirmkulam,  presented  a paper entitled ‘Texting and Fossilization’ at the International Seminar  on Innovative English Language Teaching organized by the Centre for English Language Teaching, University of Kerala and the Government College For Women, Trivandrum on 26th  July 2010. The following  are notes prepared  during the presentation:

  • Texting is a colloquial term referring to the exchange of brief written message.
  • There has been a hike in texting over the years. For instance the number of text messages sent during 2001 was 250 billion and in 2004 it was 500 billion!
  • We have to admit that text message is the new lingo.
  • Texting forces us to morph our language. There is a tendency to be economic for the more the words the more the charge.


Some sample SMS forms

10X                 for thanks

4                      for   for

MSG                for message

UR                   for your

GUD                for good

HV                   for have

L8R                 for later

NY1                for anyone

YruL8              for Why are you late?

RU                   for Are you?

  • A study done in the University of  California shows that the written language of those who do a lot of texting is poor.
  • David Crystal’s  book titled ‘txtng : the gr8 db8’  (Texting : The Great Debate) states that the language of texting doesn’t make people bad communicators, but  makes people good at language. The presenter displayed the following poem written in texting style  originally from David Crystal’on her PowerPoint slide.


A txt msg pom

his is r bunsn brnr bl%

his hair lyk fe filings

w  ac/dc  going thru

I sit to  him in kemistry,

it splits my @oms

When he -:) @ me

               Julia Bird

  • We need to realize  that a stage comes when we are not able to overcome the habit of using textism. It leads to fossilization- a rather permanent phenomenon of a learner’s interlanguage getting stuck at any stage during the Target language (TL) learning process.


Before ending the presentation with a  ‘10X 4 ur time’ statement,   the following was displayed with  a caricature of Shakespeare with a speech bubble : Ah Twitter

2 b/nt

2 b

dtz d





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