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DEVIATIONS IN THE LANGUAGE OF SHORT MESSAGE SERVICE AS A VARIETY OF WRITTEN ENGLISH

DEVIATIONS IN THE LANGUAGE OF SHORT MESSAGE SERVICE AS A VARIETY OF WRITTEN ENGLISH

 

ABSTRACT

This dissertation reports a study using a corpus of SMS (Short Messages Service) text messages in the English language to explore the features and the deviations, which portray text messaging (texting) as a deviant variety of language. It is concerned with how the SMS language is used by the texters to actively fulfill their interpersonal or communicative goals. The study further states the historical development of telephone by highlighting or tracing the important phases, which brought about mobile phones. So, the introduction of mobile phone generated some innovations in communication and information technology which have brought about this variant form (texting) of computer-mediated written communication. Regardless of these deviations, texting still accounts for the current linguistic or communicative challenges of its users, which some linguists still despise as being a wreck to English and therefore it should be discouraged, because it does not follow the regular patterning of formal English. A number of studies are then reviewed, which explore the unconventional forms of texting, especially its spelling variants which still constitute a meaning-making resource. The corpus of texting generated was analysed using the structure of systemic-functional model to find out the deviant nature of texting, as a variety. To do this, ten research questions were generated and data were collected from two hundred (200) students, through simple random sampling and also a total number of fifty (50) teachers were selected through the same method; five (5) question items were administered to the teachers and their responses were analysed by the percentage method. The result of the analysis shows that in spite of some of the structural deviations that are inherent in texting, it is discovered that SMS has gained currency, as a (deviant) variety of written English among texters, especially the youth. It shows the effects of computer-mediated technology on the English language.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page … … … … … i

Approval Page … … … … … ii

Certification … … … … … iii

Acknowledgement … … … …. …. iv

Dedication … … … … … v

Abstract … … … …. … vi

Table of contents … … …. … … vii

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study … … … … 1

1.2 Statement of the Problem … … … … 10

1.3 Purpose of the Study … … … … 10

1.4 Scope of the Study … … … … 11

1.5 Significance of the Study … … … … 12

1.6 Research Questions … … … … 12

1.7 Definition of Terms … … … … 13

 

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED SCHOLARSHIP

2.1 Conceptual Framework … … … … 15

2.2 Gendering Text Message … … … 16

2.3 Capitalization and Punctuation … … … 18

2.4 Situational Stylistics … … … … 19

2.5 Language Variation … … … … 20

2.6 Variation and Varieties … … … … 23

2.7 Definition of Variety … … … … 26

2.8 Standard Variety of English … … … … 28

2.9 Identification of Varieties of English in Nigeria … … 30

2.10 Syntactic Variation … … … … 34

2.11 Structural Configuration of Variation … … … 36

2.12 Grammatical Variation … … … … 34

2.13 Mechanisms of Linguistic Change … … … 37

2.14 Prescriptive Constructions of Language … … … 37

2.15 The Development of Language in Use … … 39

2.16 Potential Words … … … … 40

2.17 The Language of SMS … … … … 40

2.17.1 Informality of SMS … … … … 42

2.17.2 Features of SMS Language … … … … 44

2.17.3 Social Effect of SMS … … … … 46

2.17.4 Inherent Linguistic Deviation of SMS … … … 46

2.17.5 Conciseness of SMS Language … … … 47

2.17.6 Lexical and Semantic Derivative … … … 49

2.17.7 Mode of SMS … … … … … 49

2.17.8 Texting in Nigeria … … … … 50

2.17.9 Youth and Texting … … … … 51

2.17.10 Texting for Commercial Trust … … … 53

2.17.11 Texting for the Future … … … … 53

2.17.12 Criticism on SMS Language … … … … 53

2.17.13 Positive Views on Texting … … … … 55

2.18 Theoretical Framework … … … … 58

2.19 Empirical Study … … … … 64

2.20 Summary … … … … … 67

 

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY

3.1 Research Design … … … … 69

3.2 Research Population … … … … 69

3.3 Sample and Sampling Techniques … … … 70

3.4 Method of Data Collection … … … 70

3.5 Administration of Instrument … … … … 71

3.6 Method of Data Analysis … … … … 71

 

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS

4.1 Research Question 1 … … … … 73

4.2 Research Question 2 … … … … 93

4.3 Research Question 3 … … … … 100

4.4 Research Question 4 … … … … 109

4.5 Research Question 5 … … … … 114

4.6 Research Question 6 … … … … 119

4.7 Research Question 7 … … … … 120

4.8 Research Question 8 … … … … 128

4.9 Research Question 9 … … … … 131

4.10 Research Question 10 … … … … 143

 

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF RESULTS AND CONCLUSION

5.1 Discussion of the Findings … … … … 148

5.2 Implication of the Findings … … … … 153

5.3 Recommendations … … … … 156

5.4 Conclusion … … … … 157

Works Cited … … … … 159

Appendix I … … … … 180

Appendix II … … … … 193

Appendix III … … … … 199


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