“What is texting doing to language?” Suprasegmentals and acronyms in English texting

By Melissa J. Enns

In our last class, we talked about some effects of globalization on language. In the course of the discussion, a question was raised as to how expressive one actually can be when using mobile keyboards with predictive text. Based on my experience, I would argue that despite the limitations imposed by predictive text and autocorrect, “text speak” is a phenomenon in which (in particular) young people enact identities through creative use of acronyms and techniques to achieve the effects of suprasegmentals such as intonation and stress (see O’Grady and Archibald (2009) below). For copyright and privacy purposes, the following examples are my adaptations of the types of text samples I have seen, not word-for-word quotations.

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