Internet Language: An Investigation into the Features of Textisms in an ESL/EFL Context


  • Christelle Frangieh Fenianos Lebanese University



Texting, Textisms, Spoken Grammar, Internet Lingo, Abbreviations


In recent years, the prevalence of mobile communication has given rise to a new writing style that is an amalgam of oral and written modes. The rapid growth of Textisms arouses curiosity, fear, and perplexity among people. In Lebanon, some educators complain about the propagation of texting and claim that it is becoming harmful for their students. Thus, this study examines the nature of this new trend by describing its linguistic features and comparing it with oral speech through the application of Carter and McCarthy’s Model of Spoken Grammar. A detailed analysis of 1,890 messages obtained from 240 university students shows that Textisms are mainly characterized by unconventional spelling through the use of contractions and expressive. Similar to the oral language, texted sentences are weakly structured due to their briefness, and common features entail frequent use of deictic references, ellipsis, discourse markers, and others. Unlike the spoken language, vagueness, swearing and taboo expressions, and sign-offs are rarely used by texters. Finally, punctuation rules are violated by texters and hold major signification in texting.


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