INTRODUCTION

The term Language is considered to have derived from the Latin word ‘lingua’
which means tongue. Language is an integral part of human life, but often it is taken for
granted like the air we breathe. Language is essentially a tool of communication used in
human communities. The term language is usually used in the restricted sense of languages
used by human beings alone, which may also be referred to as Natural Languages. There
are thousands of languages prevailing in the world we live in. Some are already dead or no
longer used where as the others are still in use. But we are profoundly ignorant of the
origins of language and have to content ourselves with more or less plausible speculations.
It is still a matter of dispute about what precisely was the origin of all these languages.
There are lots of myths, beliefs and stories, which have been told from age old times about
the evolution of language. All such myths and stories though not yet proven, leads to the
point that there existed, a common language which was later split due to some reasons
(most of the myths and believes have different reasons in their versions). Philologists have
recognized various theories that have been put forward to explain the origin without any
agreement being reached.

As any linguist knows, language is not a static thing. Because language is so
intangible, changes over time are not only unavoidable; they are also common and
expected. Language is not the same today as it was when it originated; it is not the same
today as it was last week. Phrases become "so yesterday" and expressions from a hundred
years ago have been entirely eliminated from our language. There may be many reasons
for the change like culture, technology, events in history etc. But the most influential
reason for the change in today's era is technology. Things like email, texting, and Face
book have led to new words forming, new grammatical changes, and other modifications
that are both subtle and noticeable. Technology could eventually help the language become
easier to follow, growing similar to other languages, and stray away from the numerous
irregularities that we all struggle to master. Language though, is constantly evolving with
culture, technology becomes the larger and most influential part of our culture, and it also

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becomes a larger influential part of the English language. You cannot expect English
language to remain the same while the world around us and particularly the way we
communicate is subject to so much variation. Text messaging is not merely a fun or playful
way to communicate.

Texting/SMS/Short Hand Writing is now setting a revolutionary change in the
English Language usage. This project is done to prove that this new method of language is
not a threat but the opening to a new era in English language. Though SMS language with
its order less form deconstructs the structure of traditional English Language, it definitely
is capable of taking English to a further level of simplicity and adaptability. Though this
form lacks perfect grammar, syntax and so on, it has been widely accepted all over the
world. It makes the usage of English much easy, not only for those who are versatile in
handling the language but also for those who are not very good in it. Texting not only
serves its purpose as a mere communication tool but it is actually even being used to help
literacy in developing countries. For instance, a UN SMS-based literacy program in
Pakistan aims to help women in Islamabad to read. All these points help us to prove that
texting is not a threat to English but an opening to limitless scopes in the Language.
Though already widely accepted, there is much opposition to this form of language. The
main reason held up is that, the shorthand method due to its anti-grammar, anti-syntax and
order less form (which is actually its unique peculiarity and feature), might destroy the
beauty of Traditional English Language and there by spoil the Language and its users. But
actually this conservative argument is against the primary and most important feature of
Language, i.e. Language is not static but keeps on changing. This capability of Language
makes it competent and adaptable without losing its importance in our lives.

Statement of the Problem

As part of the Pedagogic Course (Paper 107.2), of the two year B Ed program, we had a
practical to do. We were provided with two options- a) Conduct a Project or b) Conduct an
Educational Survey. After discussions, we decided to do a project. I thought of selecting a
topic that was based on English Language and its usage in the contemporary society

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especially among high school students. Thus, I selected the topic ‘Texting/ SMS
Language’: Threat or Opportunity to English Language to do my project. My project
aims at making a study of the influence of SMS Language also known as Texting
Language in the English Language of the people in the community which I live in. To
study this, a survey was conducted among 100 people. They were randomly selected and
had four categories or divisions. The first category consisted of 40 students who were
studying in High Schools and Under Graduate and Master’s degrees. The second category
was formed of 30 teachers. Teachers who taught English and other languages (Hindi and
Malayalam) and teachers who taught other Subjects (Both in schools and colleges),
together formed this category. The third category had 20 elderly people of different ages.
The fourth and final category was formed with ‘migrant workers.’ They were workers from
other States in India who came to Kerala for various works. This group was specifically
added for the study to find out the acceptance of English and the effect of ‘Texting’ all
around India. I hope to reach at a conclusion that determines whether the short hand
method is a Boon or Doom to Language.

Hypothesis

The students who study in High School classes, U.G and P.G courses as well as
teachers (both in schools and colleges), elders and migrant workers living in my
community (Kurianad, Kerala) use short hand method, rather known as the Texting/ SMS
Language while sending messages via Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and other social
networking sites.

Objectives

 To find out whether the students, teachers, elders and migrant workers in my
community use short hand method while sending messages via Whatsapp,
Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.
 To find out whether the usage of short hand method create any influence on the
language of the people in the community.

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 To draw out a conclusion and to find out whether short hand method is a Boon or
Doom for the language of the people in the community.

Methodology

As part of our project, I decided to select the students of standard X and the high
schools teachers of St. Anne’s High School, Kurianad, students who pursued their UG and
PG courses at Deva Matha College Kuravilangad and professors of the same college, a set
of randomly selected elderly people and migrant workers from other states who lived in
my community. I decided to select students and migrant workers because of my inference
that it would be these people who would be using mobiles and social networking sites to
interact with each other and with other friends. In addition I also decided to select the
categories that consisted of teachers and elderly people to study how far short hand method
can extend its influence. On an ordinary basis, the elder generation tends to look at changes
with a bit of suspicion. I strongly believed that these two categories and their opinions
could be of great use to the effectiveness of my project.

I conducted this study during the first set of teaching internship in the month of
January 2016. With the permission of the school authorities and their help, I conducted a
survey during one of the English periods allotted for me. My classmates from Labour
India, Greeshma Mohan and Gopika K. S also had been there to help me distribute the
papers. They were also there as part of their teaching practice. I opted a same criteria to
conduct the survey at the college level also. Students and teachers both from the school
and college levels were randomly selected. As far as concerned with the categories of
elders and migrant workers, I made a selection that helped me to take in, both those who
used and did not use texting or texting devices.

To study the influences of short hand method on students and teachers, a survey
was conducted among 100 people. They were randomly selected and had four categories or
divisions. The first category consisted of 40 students who were studying in High Schools
and Under Graduate and Master’s degrees. The second category was formed of 30

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teachers. Teachers who taught English and other languages (Hindi and Malayalam) and
teachers who taught other Subjects (Both in schools and colleges), together formed this
category. The third category had 20 elderly people of different ages. The fourth and final
category was formed with ‘migrant workers.’ They were workers from other States in India
who came to Kerala for various works. This group was specifically added for the study to
find out the acceptance of English and the effect of ‘Texting’ all around India.

A questionnaire that had a set of fourteen questions was formed. The questions
were directly related to ‘Texting’ and its influence on English. The questionnaire was
formed in a particular way that some questions were ‘General’ (which had to be answered
by all) while some others were ‘Specific’ (to be answered based on their convenience and
views regarding ‘Texting’). The questionnaire was personally provided and the answers
were also directly collected. For the elderly people and migrant workers who found the
questions difficult to understand, the necessary clarifications and guidance were given.
Special attention was taken to make sure that the entire people sampled for the study had
marked their responses to the respective questions in the right manner.

All the fourteen questions were given specific options to which the population was
to answer their responses based on their concerns and conveniences. While all the first
thirteen questions were completely ‘Close-Ended,’ the fourteenth question had two parts, a
‘Close-Ended’ part and an ‘Open-Ended’ part. Everybody among the population was
supposed to state their reasons for the answer they gave to the fourteenth question. The
reasons were to be stated in descriptive words. The responses were collected, analyzed and
coordinated. Graphs and Tables were made based on these results.

Chapter I

Texting/ Short Message Service (SMS) and SMS
Language

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What is Short Message Service?

Texting/ Short Message Service (SMS), is a text messaging service through phone,
Web, or mobile communication systems. It uses standardized communications protocols to
allow fixed line or mobile phone devices to exchange short text messages. The term
"SMS" is used for both the user activity and all types of short text messaging in many parts
of the world (CNN, December 3, 2012).

‘Texting’ as used in modern handsets originated from telegraphy, in radio memo
pagers using standardized phone protocols. These were defined in 1985 as part of
the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), a series of standards as a means of
sending messages of up to 160 characters to and from GSM mobile handsets.

Emergence of Such a Concept

Adding text messaging functionality to mobile devices began in the early 1980s.
The first action plan of the CEPT Group GSM was approved in December 1982,
requesting that, "The services and facilities offered in the public switched telephone
networks and public data networks ... should be available in the mobile system" (ETSI
Annual Report- 586). This plan included the exchange of text messages either directly
between mobile stations, or transmitted via message handling systems in use at that time.

The first proposal which initiated the development of Text/ SMS was a contribution
of Germany and France in the GSM group meeting in February 1985 in Oslo. This
proposal was further elaborated in GSM subgroup WP1 Services (Chairman Martine
Alvernhe, France Telecom) based on a contribution from Germany. There were also initial
discussions in the subgroup WP3 network aspects chaired by Jan Audestad (Telenor). The
result was approved by the main GSM group in a June 1985 document which was
distributed to industry. The input documents on SMS had been prepared by Friedhelm
Hillebrand (Deutsche Telekom) with contributions from Bernard Ghillebaert (France
Télécom).

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Based on his personal observations and on analysis of the typical lengths
of postcard and Telex messages, Hillebrand argued in his Short Message Service (SMS):
the Creation of Personal Global Text Messaging, that 160 characters were sufficient to
express most messages succinctly. The GSM is optimized for telephony, since this was
identified as its main application. The key idea for ‘Texting’ was to use this telephone-
optimized system, and to transport messages on the signaling paths which controlled the
telephone traffic even during times when no signaling traffic was available. In this way,
unused resources in the system could be used to transport messages at minimal cost.
However, it was necessary to limit the length of the messages to 128 bytes (later improved
to 160 seven-bit characters) so that the messages could fit into the existing signaling
formats. ‘Texting’ could be implemented in every mobile station by updating its software.
Hence, a large base of ‘Texting’ with capable terminals and networks were needed when
people began to use SMS. A new network element required was a specialized short
message service centre, and enhancements were required to the radio capacity and network
transport infrastructure to accommodate growing ‘Text’ traffic. (129)

Its Technical Details

The technical development of Texting/ SMS was a multinational collaboration
supporting the framework of standards bodies. Through these organizations the technology
was made freely available to the whole world.

According to the book authored by Asoke K. Talukder, Hasan Ahmed and Roopa
Yavagal, Messages are sent to a short message service center (SMSC), which provides a
"store and forward" mechanism. It attempts to send messages to the SMSC's recipients. If a
recipient is not reachable, the SMSC queues the message for later retry. Some providers
allow users to request delivery reports, via the SMS settings of most modern phones.
However, the exact meaning of confirmations varies from reaching the network, to being
queued for sending, to being sent, to receiving a confirmation of receipt from the target
device (Talukder K. 338)

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Implementation and Growth of ‘Texting’

The first Text message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United
Kingdom on 3 December 1992, from Neil Papworth of Sema Group using a personal
computer, to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone who was using an Orbitel 901 handset. The text of
the message was "Merry Christmas" (BBC News, September 3, 2002).

Andrew Baxter in his work, GSM and UMTS, the Creation of Global Mobile
Communication describes about the first commercial deployment of a short message
service center (SMSC) was by Aldiscon part of Logica (now part of Acision) with Telia
(now TeliaSonera) in Sweden in 1993, followed by Fleet Call (now Nextel) in the US,
Telenor in Norway and BT Cellnet (now O2 UK) later in 1993. All first installations of
SMS gateways were for network notifications sent to mobile phones, usually to inform of
voice mail messages. The first commercially sold SMS service was offered to consumers,
as a person-to-person text messaging service by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in Finland
in 1993. Most early GSM mobile phone handsets did not support the ability to send SMS
text messages, and Nokia was the only handset manufacturer whose total GSM phone line
in 1993 supported user-sending of SMS/ Text messages.

Initially the growth was slow, with customers in 1995 sending on average only 0.4
messages per GSM customer per month. One factor in the slow take up of SMS was that
operators were slow to set up charging systems, especially for prepaid subscribers, and
eliminate billing fraud which was possible by changing SMSC settings on individual
handsets to use the SMSCs of other operators. Initially, networks in the UK only allowed
customers to send messages to other users on the same network, limiting the usefulness of
the service. This restriction was lifted in 1999.

Over time, this issue was eliminated by switch billing instead of billing at the
SMSC and by new features within SMSCs to allow blocking of foreign mobile users
sending messages through it. By the end of 2000, the average number of messages reached

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35 per user per month, and on the Christmas Day in 2006, over 205 million messages were
sent in the UK alone.

‘Texting’ Now: Its Reception by the Society

‘Texting’ was the most widely used data application, with an estimated 3.5 billion
active users, or about 80% of all mobile phone subscribers at the end of 2010. In 2010
alone, somewhat 6.1 trillion (6.1 × 1012) SMS/ Text messages were sent. This translates
into an average of 193,000 SMS per second. ‘Texting’ is also employed in direct
marketing, known as SMS marketing. As of September 2014, global SMS messaging
business is said to be worth over USD 100 billion, and SMS accounts for almost 50 percent
of all the revenue generated by mobile messaging.

While ‘Texting’ is still a growing market, traditional SMS is becoming increasingly
challenged by alternative messaging services such as Facebook
Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber, available on smart phones with data connection. Though
these are alternative messaging services, they are also found to be using exactly the same
kind of language/slang used in ‘Texting.’

In 2014, Caktus Group developed the world's first SMS-based voter registration
system in Libya. So far, more than 1.5 million people have registered using that system,

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providing Libyan voters with unprecedented access to the democratic process. Enterprise
SMS-messaging, also known as application-to-peer messaging (A2P Messaging), are
primarily focused on Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) and delivering highly targeted service
messages such as parcel-delivery alerts, real-time notification of credit/debit card purchase
confirmations to protect against fraud, and appointment confirmations. Services have
evolved towards "actionable" alerts and notifications, following successful iSMS-type
implementations broadly adopted in Finland, first by Finnair, then banks, telecoms, and
logistics companies.

What actually is Text/SMS Language?

Text/SMS language or textese (also known as txt-speak, chatspeak, txt lingo) is a
term used for the abbreviations and slang commonly used with mobile phone text
messaging, but sometimes also used with other Internet-based communication such
as Email and instant messaging, Facebook and Whatsapp. Text/SMS language is similar to
that used by those sending telegraphs, which are charged by the word. It seeks to use the
fewest number of letters to produce ultra-concise words and sentiments in dealing with
space, time and cost constraints of text messaging. This follows from, how early SMS had
permitted only 160 characters and some carriers charged those messages by the number of
characters sent. It also shares some of the characteristics with Internet slang. Its evolution
could be found rather symbiotic to the evolution of the use of shorthand in Internet chat.
Likewise, such a change sought to accommodate the small number of characters allowed
per message, and to increase convenience for the time-consuming and often
small keyboards on mobile phones. In addition, similarly elliptical styles of writing can be
traced to the days of telegraphs some 120 years back, where telegraph operators were
reported to use abbreviations similar to those used in modern text when chatting amongst
themselves in between sending of official messages.

Nevertheless, the invention of mobile phone messaging is considered to be the
source for the invention of ‘Text’ language. In general, ‘Text’ language thus permits the
sender to type less and communicate more quickly than one could, without using shortcuts.

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The use of the term, "tmrw" instead of "tomorrow" can be taken as an instance of such
shortcuts. Nevertheless, there are no standard rules for the creation and use of ‘Text’
languages. Any word may be shortened (for example, "text" to "txt"). Words can also be
combined with numbers to make them shorter (for example, "later" to "l8r"), using the
numeral "8" for its homophonic quality.

Three features of early mobile phone messaging encouraged users to use
abbreviations: (a) Text entry was difficult, requiring multiple key presses on a small
keypad to generate each letter; (b) Messages were limited to 160 characters, and (c) it
made texting faster. Once it became popular, it took on a life of its own and was often used
outside of its original context. At its peak, it was the cause of vigorous debate about its
potentially detrimental effect on literacy. But with the advent of alphabetic keyboard
on smartphones the controversies surrounding it have receded.

Text/SMS Language as a Multilingual Entity

Some may view ‘Text’ language to be a nascent dialect of the English language.
But it is not the case. The mobile operating system such as Symbian and language packs
enable the linguistic localization of products that are equipped with such interfaces, that
supports the scripts and orthographies of over 48 languages and dialects, though such
provisions are by no means fully comprehensive as to the languages used by users all over
the world. But using English for the same purpose is found to be much more suitable for
the situation, not only for those in the Western countries but also people all around the
other parts of the world. Since English acts as a widely accepted language and of course
also a lingua franca, using it will not be of much trouble for anyone. Still, other languages
can also be used for the same. This flexible and structureless form is one of the unique
features found only in the shorthand texting.

Linguistic Properties and Style

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The primary motivation for the creation and use of ‘Text’ language was to convey a
comprehensible message using the fewest number of characters possible. This was for two
reasons; one, telecommunication companies limited the number of characters per SMS,
and also charged the user per SMS sent. To keep costs down, users had to find a way of
being concise while still communicating the desired message. Two, typing on a phone is
normally slower than with a keyboard, and capitalization is even slower. As a result,
punctuation, grammar, and capitalization are largely ignored. In many countries, people
now have access to unlimited text options in their monthly plan, although this varies
widely from country to country, and operator to operator. However, screens are still small
and the input problem persists, so ‘Text’ language is still widely used for brevity.
Observations and classifications as to the linguistic and stylistic properties of SMS
language have been made and proposed by Crispin Thurlow, López Rúa and David Crystal
among many others. Although they are by no means exhaustive, some of these marked
properties involve the use of:

 Initializations (acronyms and abbreviations composed of initials)

 Reductions and shortenings, and omission of parts of speech

 Pragmatics and context in interpretation of ambiguous shortenings

 Pictograms and logograms (rebus abbreviation)

 Paralinguistic and prosodic features

 Capitalization

 Emoticons

 Variations in spelling

 Punctuation, or lack thereof

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Chapter II

‘Texting/SMS Language:’ A Real Threat or Opportunity to
English

We are living in a world which is very hectic, competitive and much complex.
Almost everyone in the world today are found running after jobs and other means to make
up a living or a better and settled life. Such a world would definitely have no particular
space for thick and lasting bondage between friends, neighbours and unfortunately not
even between relatives. Everyone would be living a sort of selfish life where their own
lives would be the center. While comparing this present scenario with that of a world about
100 years before, the results we get would be shocking. As time passed, it is not only the
world that had undergone change but also the people, their life-style, culture, habits and
even ways of communications. As life became swifter and complicated, people naturally
went after much more simplified means and methods in life. The simplification in the field
of communication and the advent of mobile phones as a result, is one of the greatest
examples to state this change. As we saw in the previous chapter, it was with the invention
of mobile phones that text-messaging or short message service (SMS) came into existence.
Similarly with the advent of computers and internet, there was also the up come of chat-
rooms, instant messaging (IM) etc, which has a very close functional resemblance with that
of ‘Texting.’ All these are quick and short hand methods of communication, where the
language used is short, structureless and against the conventional norms of any language.
One of the major features of this kind of communications is that, a very comprehensible
message could be conveyed using the fewest number of words/characters possible at a
lesser cost.

Though this kind of communication and the language used in it, seems to be very
helpful, the controversial debates whether the ‘Texting’ language is a threat that would ruin
and degrade the value of English or, whether it is a phase of language development where
English becomes much more simple and easy to use, has led the world of literature and

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communication, somewhere near to a “Dead End.” Why should the concept of ‘Text’
language lead the whole world to such a great controversy? Borrowing the words of the
great Physicist and Mathematician, Isaac Newton, “every action has an equal and opposite
reaction,” ‘Text’ language also has both advantages and disadvantages. It is certainly not a
one-way package.

The changes we see taking place today in the language will be a prelude to the
dying use of good English. (Sunday Telegraph, April 24, 2001)

Appalled teachers are now presented with essays written not in Standard English
but in the compressed, minimalist language of mobile phone text
messaging. (Scotsman, March 4, 2003)

The English language is being beaten up; civilization is in danger of
crumbling. (Observer, March 7, 2004)

Baroness Greenfield, the neuroscientist, is worried that sending text messages may
cause young people to have shorter attention spans. (The Telegraph, Aug 12, 2009)

On the bright side, there have been studies with surprisingly unexpected
conclusions:

A new language of the airwaves has been born. (Guardian, June 26, 2003)

Texting is penmanship for illiterates. (Sunday Telegraph, July 11, 2004)

Not since man uttered his first word and clumsily held a primitive pencil nearly
10,000 years ago has there been such a revolution in language. (Daily Post,
September 26, 2001)

A 2006 study by two professors at Coventry University in Britain found that 11-
year-olds who used the most ‘textisms’ were actually better at spelling and writing.
A command of texting seems to indicate a broader facility for language. And these

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students seem to switch easily between text messaging and Standard English. (The
New York Sun, January 23, 2008)

A UN SMS-based literacy program in Pakistan aims to help women in Islamabad
to read and text messages play a vital role.

These are a few examples that could give us a picture about how the text messaging
is viewed among people. There are both the positive and negative views. The striking
factor anyone could notice from the negative points given is that, it is only those people
who look upon English in the conventional manner who stand up against the new ‘Text’
language. There are even people who consider English as the epitome of civilization and
the changes in it could lead the whole ‘civilization’ (here meaning humanity) towards
danger. Do we ought to take such blind and blatant excuses seriously? It is time for those
who view the ‘Text’ language as the degradation and destruction of the so called
‘Traditional English’ to re-think about their opinions. Language is not static and is always
subject to change according to the shifts that occur in culture. Ever since birth, language
has had to undergo changes. English being a language has no exception. If we look at the
way English evolved and developed as a language, it will be clear. Then how come these
people claim so firmly about the ‘tradition’ and legacy of English? English alone could
stand without changes. Why did languages like Latin, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit become
‘Dead Languages’ or ‘Extinct Languages’? They, with their refined and pure structure and
norms were not able to adapt themselves to a swiftly changing situation. Thus they were
gradually over-thrown by other languages which were simpler and easier. English itself
became one of the languages used worldwide, because of its simplicity and flexibility
when compared with many other languages of the world. But now it is time that even
English is victimized to changes.

The world today is much more hectic and faster than before. No one is interested in
grammar, sentence structure, pronunciations and such other conventional ideas of
languages. Language now is not admired for its rich literary beauty, but for its capability to
convey messages or ideas with quickness and simplicity. This is one of the major reasons

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that led to the development and wide acceptance of the ‘Text’ language among the
youngsters and even a great part of the older generation. People, who are not able enough
to adapt themselves to the new changes, tend to argue against ‘Texting.’ For them,
language, English in particular, is said to be complete only with the existence of grammar,
sentence structure and so on. In fact this was true till the end of the 20th century. Language
then, was not merely a communication tool, but highly adorable with numerous literary
techniques, used in poetry, stories, novels and so on. Take for example T.S. Eliot’s
“Wasteland.” It is one of the greatest poems ever found in the history of English literature.
It is highly allusive and uses poetic techniques like rhyme, meter etc. Now, compare it with
any of the contemporary English poems. Let us take Mark Ford’s “In Loco Parentis.” Both
the poems vary in many aspects, starting from the periods and language in which they were
written, their themes, styles and all. If Eliot’s poem was highly allusive and philosophical
and written elaborately, Mark Ford’s poem is very short and much more complicated. It is
based on the present day society-life. It does not cross the boundaries of an awareness
creating or entertaining poem to that of a philosophically allusive poem. Similarly, today
language is also cut short and only to the point, where as language was expressive and
elaborate in the past. ‘Text’ language could be called the “celebration of fragmentation” or
can be said to be the “deconstruction” of the traditional structure and form of English.

Those who stand against ‘Texting’ are elderly people and teachers, particularly
language teachers who have specialized in “Literature.” None of them could be blamed,
though they are standing against change. It is one of the basic natures of mankind to
oppose or revolt against anything that change their present condition. Nobody is willing
enough to restart or program themselves anew. Once settled with something, they would be
happy to go on and on with it no matter how old or worn out that idea becomes. It would
be apt to take the example of the T-20 cricket in this juncture. T-20 cricket being the
youngest in the cricket family took form not very long ago. From the moment such a
concept was shared with the world, the cricket fans or better the whole cricket family was
divided into three categories.

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1. Those who agreed with the new format of cricket and welcomed the new
member to the family with much hope, happiness and expectations.

2. Those who disagreed and opposed the new format with all their might, both
physical and ideological. They were filled with wrath and contempt tip to top.

3. Now there is s a third category that is often avoided. This category could be
found anywhere and in any case. They never will have an opinion of their own.
Such people seem to be less bothered about what is happening around them.
They neither accept nor protest against anything. They are, just like a leaf in
water that simply floats along with the current.

Anyway whatever the situation was then does not matter now. Because now T20 is,
the most entertaining and fan following format of cricket. But what makes it so special? T-
20 has only a limited number of 20 overs (120 balls). Pointing out this as a limitation, even
great and well known cricketers came out against this new format. They played the
conventional format of cricket and were totally alien to the new one. So they went against
it and even those who took their words to be true also accused that the T20 would destroy
the entire game. But we all know what the result was and whether those accusations where
true enough. In the T20 format, both the batting and bowling teams would definitely be lot
more aggressive than in a Test match or an ODI because of the limitation in the number of
balls. It was exactly this limitation that made everybody including kids, youth and the
elders alike to be fond this new format.

As we saw already, we are living in a pretty hectic world, where no one has time to
spare. No one in such a circumstance would be interested to sit a whole day watching a
Test or an ODI match. T20 on the other hand is shorter and more entertaining. This is the
same in the case of ‘Texting’ too. Those who grew up learning, reading and using the
conventional English would not be able to cope up with the new form, i.e. ‘Texting’. But
those who cling on to the so called conventional English should realize or take into their
minds the fact that the English they use now was not the same when it originated.
Language is never static, it has to change and stand updated or else it would soon be

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outdated and ‘extinct.’ ‘Texting’ is in no sense a threat to English or any other language. It
is simply a new form of language that is structureless, and providing more freedom to its
users than all the other prevailing languages. It is a requirement of this generation.
Tomorrow another language might evolve setting this new form aside. So do not look upon
‘Texting’ with hostility but do accept it into our communication circles and make use of its
benefits.

Chapter III

Data Analysis (Questionnaire, Graphs & Tables)
As we saw in the previous chapters, ‘Texting’ with its structureless and anti-
grammar language has emerged into our modern world as an easy mode of communication.
Though theoretically ‘Texting’ and its approaches were detailed, it is necessary to find out
how it affects the people. To find out the impacts ‘Texting’ has made on the people, it is
necessary to collect information like their opinions and views about texting, whether they
support or oppose ‘Texting,’ its reasons and so on. This project, as its tile ‘Texting/SMS
Language’: A Threat or Opportunity to English,” denotes, deals with ‘Texting’ and its
effects on people and their language specially English.

To study the influences of short hand method on students and teachers, a survey
was conducted among 100 people. They were randomly selected and had four categories or
divisions. The first category consisted of 40 students who were studying in High Schools
and Under Graduate and Master’s degrees. The second category was formed of 30
teachers. Teachers who taught English and other languages (Hindi and Malayalam) and
teachers who taught other Subjects (Both in schools and colleges), together formed this
category. The third category had 20 elderly people of different ages. The fourth and final
category was formed with ‘migrant workers.’ They were workers from other States in India
who came to Kerala for various works. This group was specifically added for the study to
find out the acceptance of English and the effect of ‘Texting’ all around India.

18
A questionnaire that had a set of fourteen questions was formed. The questions
were directly related to ‘Texting’ and its influence on English. The questionnaire was
formed in a particular way that some questions were ‘General’ (which had to be answered
by all) while some others were ‘Specific’ (to be answered based on their convenience and
views regarding ‘Texting’). The questionnaire was personally provided and the answers
were also directly collected. For the elderly people and migrant workers who found the
questions difficult to understand, the necessary clarifications and guidance were given.
Special attention was taken to make sure that the entire people sampled for the study had
marked their responses to the respective questions in the right manner.

All the fourteen questions were given specific options to which the population was
to answer their responses based on their concerns and conveniences. While all the first
thirteen questions were completely ‘Close-Ended,’ the fourteenth question had two parts, a
‘Close-Ended’ part and an ‘Open-Ended’ part. Everybody among the population was
supposed to state their reasons for the answer they gave to the fourteenth question. The
reasons were to be stated in descriptive words. The responses were collected, analyzed and
coordinated. Graphs and Tables were made based on these results. Those graphs and tables
along with their details are added below.

Graph 1

Do you send "Text" messages?
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

19
The above graph represents the first question that was asked in the questionnaire.
This question was given with the intention to find out the total number of people who used
to send ‘Text’ messages and those who didn’t. The result was finalized after taking into
consideration responses from all the four categories. The attempt was successful. All the
100 people who were sampled for the study responded to this question. They were given
two options to mark their answers. They were asked either to tick ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ which ever
was convenient for them. Out of the 100 people who were chosen for the study, 80 were
found to be sending ‘Text’ messages, which means a major number of people selected were
‘Texters.’ But at the same time only a small number of 20 people were found to be not
sending ‘Texts’. Those who messaged include 38 students, 21 teachers, 12 elderly people
and 9 workers from outside Kerala. Those who did not send consist of 2 students, 9
teachers, 8 elders and 1 worker.

Graph 2

How often do you send Text Messages?
30

25

20

15

10
Frequency
5

0

This graph is based on the results collected from the responses given by the people
to the second question of the questionnaire. The question was, ‘How often do you send
Text messages?’ A total number of 56 people replied that they messaged regularly. This
involves 27 students, 12 teachers, 8 elders and 9 workers. 15 of the people replied that they

20
used to send text messages occasionally. This group includes 5 students, 6 teachers and 4
elders. There were no workers outside Kerala who were found to be occasional “Texters.”
To the third option, 9 people said they only messaged ‘now and then’. This group involves
6 students and 3 teachers only. The other two categories (elders and workers) had none
who messaged now and then. To the fourth and final option, 20 people replied that they did
not send messages at all. This group involves 2 students, 9 teachers, 8 elders and 1 worker.
Adding the first three categories, we get a number of 80 people who use to send ‘Text’
messages though in different frequencies, whereas only a small number of 20 people did
not send Text messages. This is definitely due to a positive approach of the people towards
‘Texting’.

Table 1

Workers from
Reasons Stated Students Teachers Elderly People
outside Kerala

To talk with family
31 5 6 9
and friends

To keep in touch
34 5 8 9
with others

To get information 8 14 0 0

It is fast and cheap 34 18 9 9

To avoid boredom 2 0 4 9

For Emergency
0 15 8 0
situations

Table 1 is based on the third question which was intended to examine the reasons
stated by the people to send ‘Text’ messages. This question was meant to be answered only
by those who used to message. But they were also given the opportunity to give multiple
answers to the question, i.e. if they found more than one answer suiting to their reason for

21
texting they could mark both the reasons. The others who did not message were allowed to
skip the question. As per the results collected from the responses, 51 samples out of those
80 people (who said they used to message) stated that their reason to send ‘Texts’ was to
talk with their family and friends. There were 31 students, 5 teachers, 6 elders and 9
workers who were of this opinion. The next option had 56 people whose reason for
‘Texting’ was to keep in contact with others which involved 34 students, 5 teachers, 8
elders and 9 workers. There were only 22 people who stated their reason for ‘Texting,’ as a
means to get information. It includes only 8 students and 14 teachers and there were none
from the other two categories. To the next option, there was an amazing increase in the
number of people who used to ‘Text’ messages because it was one of the fastest and
cheapest means to convey ideas. 87.5% people out of the total number of people who used
to ‘Text’ were of this opinion. This includes 34 students, 18 teachers, 9 elders and 9
workers which adds up to 70 out of 80. There were only a meager number of 15 people
whose reason for ‘Texting’ was to avoid boredom and it consists of 2 students, 4 elders and
9 workers. Surprisingly, all the workers from outside Kerala views ‘Texting’ as a means to
drive away boredom where as not even a single teacher is found to have such an opinion.
Out of the 23 people who saw ‘Texting’ suitable in emergency situations, there were only
15 teachers and 8 elders. Not even a single student or worker seemed to have such an
opinion.

Table 2

Workers from
Reasons Stated Students Teachers Elderly People
outside Kerala

Waste of time 1 2 3 0

Not very economic 1 2 2 1

Difficult to ‘Text’ 0 7 8 1

Not interested 0 1 0 0

Do not have access 2 3 8 1

22
to ‘Texting’ devices

Table 2 is based on the fourth question that was specifically asked to the 20 people
who did not message. According to the results there were 6 people who had the view that
‘Texting’ was just a waste of time. 1 student, 2 teachers and 3 elders had this opinion. To
the next option, there were again a number of 6 people who had the view that ‘Texting’
was not a very economic tool for conveying messages. This group includes 1 student, 2
teachers, 2 elders and 1 worker. From analyzing the responses, it was found that almost all
people who did not message had the view that it was difficult for them to ‘Text.’ This was
very clear from the responses got for the third option. About 16 people out of 20 had this
opinion about ‘Texting.’ This included 7 teachers, 8 elders and 1 worker. Surprisingly not
even a single student had this opinion. The least stated reason for not ‘Texting’ was found
to be option number four. There was only one teacher who did not message because of not
being interested in ‘Texting.’ None among the others had such an opinion. The final option
was supported by 2 students, 3 teachers, 8 elders and 1 worker. All of them had the view
that they were unable to ‘Text’ because they had no access to devices used for messaging.
But after analyzing this opinion it is easy to come to the conclusion that those people who
were not able to ‘Text’ due to the lack of access (access to mobile phones, tabs or
computers) might have ‘Texted’ if they had access to any of the means. This opens a
positive gateway for ‘Texting.’

Graph 3

23
What device do you use for "Texting"?
25

20

15

10
Frequency 5

0

This graph was prepared based on the responses given by the population to the fifth
question in the questionnaire. The question was asked with an aim to find out what kinds
of devices were used by the population to ‘Text’ messages. Three possible options were
provided for marking the answers. They were either using mobile phones or tabs or
computers. 23 students, 5 teachers, 2 elders and 5 workers stated that they used mobile
phones for ‘Texting.’ This represents a 43.75% of the total number of the population, who
said they used to ‘Text.’ While 35 people out of the 80 ‘Texters’ used mobile phones, 9
students, 3 teachers, 3 elders and 4 workers were in favour of ‘Texting’ through tabs. This
group had a total number of 19 people which represents 23.75% of the total number of the
population, who said they used to ‘Text.’ There were 6 students, 13 teachers and 7 elders
but not even a single worker who used computers (either desktop or laptop) for ‘Texting.’
This group had a total of 26 people and represents 32.5% of the total number of the
population, who said they used to ‘Text.’

Graph 4

24
Which language do you use for "Texting?"
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

This graph is based on the sixth question in the questionnaire that was asked
towards those who used to ‘Text.’ The question was asked with an intention to find out
which language was used by the ‘Texters’ while messaging. Two options (either Standard
English or ‘SMS/Texting’ language) were given to them. Analyzing the first option, we
find 4 students, 12 teachers and 6 elders to be in favour of using Standard English while
‘Texting.’ Meanwhile, to the second option 34 students, 9 teachers, 6 elders and 9 workers
were found to have opted ‘SMS/Texting’ language for their ‘Texting’ purposes. Comparing
both, it is clear that out of the ‘Texters,’ about 58 of the ‘Texters’ which means around
72.5% used ‘SMS/Texting’ language while only 22 of the ‘Texters’ marking a 27.5% were
in favour of Standard English while ‘Texting.’

Graph 5

25
Are you concerned about your language used for
"Texting?"
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

This graph is based on the seventh question which was indented to know whether
the ‘Texters’ were concerned about the language used for ‘Texting.’ 4 students, 12 teachers
and 6 elders were found to be concerned about the language they used for ‘Texting.’
Meanwhile, 34 students, 9 teachers, 6 elders and 9 workers were of the opinion that they
were not much concerned about the language used for ‘Texting.’ A surprising fact is that,
the responses given to this question was exactly in the same order or pattern in which the
population had given their responses to the previous question.

Graph 6

26
Do you think that "Texting" could affect language?
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

This graph is based on the eighth question that was asked to all the 100 people who
were sampled for the study. The question was prepared with an aim to find out how many
of the selected people considered ‘Texting’ could affect language and how many of them
did not. As per the responses received, 93 people considered ‘Texting’ to be affecting
language. It means about 93% of the population sampled for the study considered ‘Texting’
to have an effect on language. But at the same time, only a small number of 7 people which
represents only 7% of the population held the view that ‘Texting’ could not affect the
language at all. Comparing these responses, it was clear that ‘Texting’ in one way or other
had an effect over the language used by them.

Graph 7

27
What kind of effect do you think 'Texting' will have on Language?
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

This graph is based on the responses collected to the 9th question. The question
was asked to find out what kind of an effect ‘Texting’ had over the language of ‘Texters.’
Three options were given (positive, negative and neutral). The third option was given to
those who viewed that ‘Texting’ could not affect the language in the previous question. To
the first option, 34 students, 11 teachers, 6 elders and 9 workers responded that ‘Texting’
had a positive effect on their language. This means about 60% of the total population
selected for the study had a positive outlook to the effects of ‘Texting’ on language. 4
students, 17 teachers and 12 elders had a different opinion. They all together formed 33%
of the total population. All these 33 people had the view that ‘Texting’ could affect
language negatively. Meanwhile 2 students, 2 teachers, 2 elders and 1 worker took a
neutral stand. They believed that ‘Texting’ could not inflict any effects over language,
either positive or negative.

Graph 8

28
Which language do you think is apt for ‘Texting?’
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

This graph is based on the tenth question and its answers. The question was asked
for only those who ‘Texted’. Those who did not were supposed to skip the question. Two
options were given, either English or Native Language. To the first option, 34 students, 19
elders and 7 workers responded that they supported the use of English in ‘Texting.’
Whereas, only 4 students, 2 teachers, 6 elders and 2 workers opted to ‘Text’ in native
languages Comparing these two responses, it was clear that 66 people had opted English
for ‘Texting’ which represented 82.5% of the total number of people who had sent ‘Text’
messages. Meanwhile only 14 people representing a minor 17.5% opted for the use of
native languages in ‘Texting.’

Graph 9

29
Do you think ‘Texting’ language could be used as an alternative for English?
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

This graph is based on the responses collected for the eleventh question of the
questionnaire. This question was asked in such a way that both the ‘Texters’ and ‘Non-
Texters’ were able to mark their responses. The aim of the question was to find out how
many of the sampled population viewed ‘Texting’ language to be an alternative for English
and how many of them did not. To the first option, 34 students, 11 teachers, 6 elders and 8
workers replied that they considered ‘Texting’ language to be an apt alternative for
Standard English. They together formed a total number of 59 people out of the 100 people
who were sampled for the study. To the second and final option, 6 students, 19 teachers, 14
elders and 2 workers marked their opinion as a ‘No.’ They altogether made up a total of 41
people.

Table 3

Student Workers from
Features Stated Teachers Elderly People
s outside Kerala

Easy to send 38 21 12 9

Quick in conveying
38 21 10 7
ideas

30
Freedom in using
35 12 6 9
language

Creativity 22 9 6 9

Use of ‘emoticons’
32 9 3 7
(more expressive)

No worries about
grammar, punctuations 36 18 12 9
etc...

Table 3 represents the responses given by the ‘Texters’ who were sampled for the
questionnaire to the twelfth question (What all peculiarities or features do you find in
texting when compared to other forms used to convey ideas or messages?). Out of the 100
people who made the population of the study, 80 were found to be ‘Texters.’ They
belonged to four different categories involving 28 students, 21 teachers, 12 elderly people
and 9 workers from outside Kerala. All these 80 people were given the opportunity to mark
multiple answers. It means, they were allowed to mark each and every element which they
felt was a positive feature of ‘Texting.’
Table 4

Workers from
Features Stated Students Teachers Elderly People
outside Kerala

Spelling errors 2 9 6 0

Lack of punctuations 2 9 4 0

Over use of
2 9 6 0
punctuations

Use of acronyms/
0 9 8 1
abbreviations

31
Difficult to read &
0 9 8 1
understand the idea

This table shows the responses got for the thirteenth question asked in the
questionnaire. Out of the sampled population, 80 were found to send ‘Text’ messages
whereas 20 of them did not ‘Text’ messages. This question was prepared aiming to collect
the responses of those 20 ‘Non-Texters’ regarding the negative features of ‘Texting.’ This
20 ‘Non-Texters’ included, 2 students, 9 teachers, 8 elderly people and 1 worker from
outside Kerala. All of them were given the opportunity to mark any of the options given
according to their preference and convenience.

Graph 10

Would you suggest others to use ‘Texting?’
40
35
30
25
20
15
Frequency 10
5
0

This graph is based on the fourteenth and final question in the questionnaire. It was
given with an intention to be answered by the whole population selected for the study. The
question was framed in a sense to be the conclusion of the entire questionnaire. It had two
parts. The first part was to mark either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for the question according to the
person’s convenience. The second part was a rather descriptive one, where the person was
asked to give the reasons for such a response, in detail. To the first option, 60 people

32
including 34 students, 11 teachers, 6 elders and 9 workers said that they would definitely
suggest others also to use ‘Texting.’ The reasons they gave was, ‘Texting’ was really an
easy and quicker method to convey ideas. In ‘Texting,’ they had an opportunity to send a
message from anywhere and at any time. The reply too, could be received back instantly.
The usage of emoticons and the anti-grammar, punctuation, sentence structure views of
‘Texting’ were also found to have much influence on the ‘Texters,’ due to the freedom it
provided them in language usage. To the second option, 40 people said a ‘No’ to the
question. There were 6 students, 19 teachers, 14 elders and 1 worker in this group. The
reasons they stated for such a view were, ‘Texting’ was against all the norms and laws of
grammar and syntax which made a language complete. Due to the lack of these features,
there were numerous errors in the new language used. More over the lack of punctuations
and the overuse of the same at times were unacceptable and also made it utterly impossible
to understand and read the messages that were sent. More over they claimed ‘Texting,’ not
to be as cost effective as expected. The charges of ‘Texting’ depended and varied according
to the service providers and places.

Selected SMS Words
Below added is a few selected SMS words used both by the population while
sending ‘Text Messages’ via mobiles, tabs, laptops etc…

1. SMS Words Vs Standard Words

Words in full SMS language

Great gr8

Oh My Gosh/God omg

Laugh out Loud lol

Message msg

See you later c u l8r

33
I love you I lv u

Because bcz

I hate you I h8 u

I miss You I ms u

Before b4

2. Single letters replacing words

Words in full SMS language in letters

Okay k

Are r

You u

Why y

We v

3. Single digits replacing words

34
Words in full SMS language in digits

Won or One 1

To, Too or Two 2

For or Fore 4

Ate 8

4. Shorten Combinations of single and multiple
words

Words in full Shorten Words

Your ur

Someone sum1

No One no 1

Anyone any1

See You Cu

Enjoy njoy

5. A single letter or digit replacing a syllable or
phoneme

35
Syllable/ Letter/
Example Usage
Phoneme Digit

Tomorrow becomes 2mro or 2mwr and
To or Too 2
Today becomes 2day

For or Fore 4 Before becomes b4 and Forget becomes 4get

CONCLUSION
As we saw, language evolved through various stages of development. Language
was developed or used primarily for the exchange of ideas which is called the process of
‘Communication.’ Later, owing to factors like civilization, language left out the basic
function to be secondary and took a much more superior form. Language became an
ornament of literature in the hands of eminent literary figures like Shakespeare, Keats,
Wordsworth and all. Languages beautified literature. Most of the literary works were
evaluated based on the usage of language in it. Thus language became more expressive
literary tool rather than a communication tool.

Changes in language did not stop with this. The language that we use today was not
the same in an earlier era. Many of the Great languages that were used traditionally have
already become dead and alien. Sanskrit, Latin etc are examples for such dead languages.
Language today, even after so many centuries and generations after it took birth, is still
subject to change. Due to political and economic reasons like colonization and slavery new
types of languages were formed by the mixing of two or more languages into one. These
gradually arouse in man the thirst for a common language for the world. The invention of
the artificially invented language called Esperanto during the late 1870s and early 1880s
was not a great success then. English now has come up somewhat to such a level, though it
was not intentional. Still the grammar, sentence structure etc are found to be a factor that
prevents the users of English as their second or third language to expertise in it. To take for

36
example, let us consider the situation in India. Hindi is considered as our official and
national language whereas English is our second language only. But due to the
international acceptance and usage of English, it is true that today English is often being
used more than our official language. Still, not the entire country is well efficient in
English. The new communication tool of ‘Texting’ is in fact a true challenge for English.
While English is a language with order and structure, ‘Texting’ has no such concepts. It is
an anti-grammar format which gives abundant freedom to its users to handle language
according to their wish and will. Words are shortened and the syntactic structure is
deconstructed. There is no more rigid usage of punctuations. In fact punctuations are at
times totally avoided and sometimes over used.

“I am going to have a cup of coffee. Do you want one?” This is a complete
sentence written in Standard English where as in ‘Texting,’ the same becomes, “gonna hav
cofi…wnt sme???” There are no concerns about the Subject- Verb- Object combination or
grammatical rules in ‘Texting.’ The whole standards in English are deconstructed into a
formless and structureless one when we come to the ‘Texting’ language. Though ‘Texting’
is considered to be an easy and quick means to use language and convey ideas, the fact that
it has deconstructed the rules and ideals of English vocabulary and grammar has led to the
awakening of great controversies and debates. At present the ongoing debates and
arguments are, whether ‘Texting’ is a threat to English language or not, whether ‘Texting’
would destroy the essence and soul of the entire language or not. It is highly the time for
someone to conduct studies on this topic and produce an effective conclusion.

To study and analyse this concept it was necessary to start discussions from the
point that deals with what language is and its evolution. The next step was to study about
the evolution of English language family. Then only studies on ‘Texting’ and its language
could be done effectively. The next step was to define about texting and its features
including the language used in it. Then comes the most important part of the study, which
was to gather details from the people who use ‘Texting:’ both who supported and opposed
it along with those who did neither. For this a population of 100 people was sampled and a
questionnaire was provided to them to be answered. After analysing all the responses, it

37
was clear that a total number of 80 people used to ‘Text’ messages. Meanwhile, the rest of
the 25 people were found to be ‘Non-Texters.’

After collecting, coordinating and analysing the responses, it was clear that only a
small percentage of the selected population were found to have an opinion against
‘Texting.’ There were many reasons for this. But the major reason for such an approach
was their attitudes which favoured the conventional language style which stood in their
way to understand and utilize ‘Texting.’ There were even people who had no means to
‘Text’ and therefore stood against this concept without knowing its benefits. There were
even people who were so arrogant and adamant that they would not use ‘Texting’ and
would not let others also to use it. Such people keep on shooting arrows of debates and
arguments against ‘Texting’ and its credibility. But still a major percentage of the people
(though students), were found to be favouring ‘Texting.’ The World, its approaches and
views have changed. English as a language cannot stand without changing in this hectic
world. It too has to undergo changes or else it will also end up as one among the dead
languages. English is favoured by almost all ‘Texters’ due to its flexibility and wide
acceptability. Those who view ‘Texting’ as a rival or degradation of English ought to
reconsider their views.

It is not yet clear about why they look at ‘Texting’ with so much enmity. ‘Texting’
after all is simply a change that is inevitable. May be after another 50 years, ‘Texting’
would stand in the present condition of English, facing the call for change. This is because
language is not fixed and static. Language from the very time of its origin had to undergo
various changes and will have to undergo change in the coming future also. May be at least
till the whole world starts speaking a single language as we find in the Old Testament of
the Holy Bible. According to the Biblical story, before the fall of the Fort Babel, man used
to speak a single language. But gradually pride started to grow in him and his greed made
him desire to be Godlike. As the English proverb goes, “Pride goes before a fall”, man was
punished for his pride and greed. God scattered his language and they were no longer able
to communicate or understand one another. This led to the fall of the great Fort of Babel
which was built as an icon of civilization. Let us hope that another fall of humanity will

38
not happen again. Still ‘Texting’ is in no sense a threat to English. Instead it opens to its
users, a world of communication without rules, restrictions and structures. We, as part of
civilization and the world of communication, ought to make use of the benefits put forward
by ‘Texting’ and the language it offers us.

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