ERIC Number: EJ889177
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Effect of Bilingualism on Communication Efficiency in Text Messages (SMS)
Carrier, L. Mark; Benitez, Sandra Y.
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v29 n2 p167-183 Jun 2010
The widespread use of cell phones has led to the proliferation of messages sent using the Short Messaging Service (SMS). The 160-character limit on text messages encourages the use of shortenings and other shortcuts in language use. When bilingual speakers use SMS, their access to multiple sources of vocabulary, sentence structure, and other language devices would appear to provide additional resources for addressing the character limits imposed on SMS, perhaps by increasing the available pool of short phrases and words. In two studies, the benefits of having multiple languages to draw on during text messaging was evaluated. Study 1 was an archival study in which a corpus of text messages from English-Spanish speakers was analyzed for message length. The results showed that individual messages involving code switching were longer than messages written in only one language. Study 2 was an experimental study in which English-Spanish speakers and English-only speakers played a texting game devised to encourage efficiency in SMS communication. The results from the game revealed that messages from English-Spanish players were no shorter than messages from English-only players. Overall, the data from the two studies provide no evidence that bilingual users of SMS draw upon their multiple languages to increase communication efficiency. Language switching during SMS does not appear to be a means of dealing with character limits.
Descriptors: Sentence Structure, Multilingualism, Personality, Code Switching (Language), Bilingualism, Telecommunications, Language Usage, Computational Linguistics, English, Spanish, Discourse Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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