Linguistic And Extra-Linguistic Factors in Bilingual Texting

Tariq Khan, Deepa V., Panchanan Mohanty


Abstract: This paper investigates the linguistic and extra-linguistic factors involved in bilingual Texting in general and bilingual Short Message Service (hereafter,SMS) in particular.1 It has two dimensions: first, it presents a survey of scriptal,phonological and pragmatic factors involved in SMS and texting. Second, it looks into the effect of bilingualism while performing SMS based tasks. The questions that it seeks to address include the following: What scriptal, phonological and pragmatic factors are involved in texting and SMS activities? How are text messages in two different writing systems coded and decoded?2 How does bilinguality of an SMS impact its efficiency as a means of communication? Inorder to address these questions two SMS based experimental studies were conducted on 40 post-graduate and research students at the University of Hyderabad. Both the studies focused on the intricate and essential relationship between SMS strategies and bilingualism. The present work reflects the texting behaviour in general, though its focus remains on SMS texts and bilingualism in Hindi-English (hereafter, HE) and Malayalam-English (hereafter, ME) texts. A study related to this theme titled ‘the effect of bilingualism on communication efficiency in text messages’ was conducted by Carrier and Benitez in 2010. Their study was based on English-Spanish speakers' texting patterns, wherein the script of the text is more or less same and the criterion employed by them was size of the texts. However, the criteria proposed in this paper include the time consumed in keying and processing the text, ratings by peers and prospective recipients andthe size of the text. The findings of this study contradict the previous work. This paper looks into the factors that could have resulted in the dichotomous results between the two studies. The Introduction deals with the ways in which various technical terms and expressions have been used in this paper. Following that are view of literature dealing with text messages’ past, present and future has been presented. The next section deals with text entry methods and bilingual texting.This section is followed by the two experiments. That is followed by theconclusions and references.

Keywords: (Extra) linguistic Factors, Bilingualism, Texting, SMS,Writing Systems

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