The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Have You Heard? -

Re­search has found that “tex­tisms” — emoti­cons, ir­reg­u­lar spellings and ex­cla­ma­tion points — help con­vey mean­ing and in­tent in the ab­sence of spo­ken con­ver­sa­tion. “Tex­tisms” is not a sign that writ­ten lan­guage is go­ing down the tubes.

“In con­trast with face-to-face con­ver­sa­tion, tex­ters can’t rely on extra-lin­guis­tic cues such as tone of voice and pauses, or non-lin­guis­tic cues such as fa­cial ex­pres­sions and hand ges­tures,” said Celia Klin, pro­fes­sor at Bing­ham­ton Univer­sity, State Univer­sity of New York. It has been sug­gested that one way to add mean­ing to the words in text mes­sages is by us­ing “tex­tisms”— emoti­cons, ir­reg­u­lar spellings (sooooo) and ir­reg­u­lar use of punc­tu­a­tion (!!!).

A 2016 study led by Klin found that text mes­sages that end with a pe­riod are seen as less sin­cere than those that do not end with a pe­riod. “The find­ings in­di­cate that our un­der­stand­ing of writ­ten lan­guage varies across con­texts. We read text mes­sages in a slightly dif­fer­ent way than we read a novel or an es­say. Fur­ther, all the el­e­ments of our texts — the punc­tu­a­tion we choose, the way that words are spelled, a smi­ley face — can change the mean­ing,” Klin said.

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