14 August 2010

Text Language

A totally different language has evolved since cellular phone companies first introduced what is now known as text messaging – or simply, text-ing. For starters, there are no spelling rules.

The vowels are the heaviest losers. The more we text – and particularly, the more in a hurry we are – the more we find that we can conveniently omit the letter “e” from the word “text” and be reasonably certain that the receiving party will perfectly understand what we mean.

Hence a cryptic message such as “snd m k txt pg dtng m” will be understood right away as “send mo ako text ‘pag dating mo.”

This is not to say that vowels are struck off messages altogether. They are just used sparingly.

And there are no rules as to which vowels are to be removed when key-ing in a word. Thus, the word naman can just as acceptably be key-ed in as nman or namn.

How one spells one’s words is really a matter of personal preference. The word hindî can be spelled as ndi or hnd, and anyone who gets messages from different friends using one or the other version instantly knows that they both mean the same thing.

The really lazy ones may simply key in the letter “d” such as in “d po!” or “d nmn.” It will be understood as well.

Then, there are those who substitute letters for the way a syllable is supposed to be pronounced. An increasingly popular spelling for the word ako these days is aq. I suppose that’s because the letter “q” sounds close enough to the sound ko. I myself prefer to either spell out the whole word or use its abbreviated version, ‘ko.

A much-abused letter is “y.” It can as easily be used as substitute for “igh” in English words [nyt: night; ryt: right] or as the “ay” sound in Tagalog words [my may; byong: bayong]

If a syllable repeats itself, one can conveniently key in a number to indicate the number of times the syllable is to be repeated. Hence, a word such as papasok can be spelled as pa2sok; and bababå as ba3.

Because each number key can yield a variety of characters, and one can get impatient for the cursor to move on to the next space after one keys in the letter “n,” a popular substitute for the letter “o” – which is from the same numeric key as “n” – is the number “0”.

Therefore, one can just spell the word sunod as sun0d so one does not miss a beat key-ing in the text message.

There is, unmistakably, and element of invention and peer influence in the way words are spelled in text messages. The first time I spelled the word “all” as ol, the person to whom I sent the message replied with wat s ol? Not long afterwards, the same person sent me a text message with the word “all” spelled similarly.

Back when not everyone had a cellular phone, one could always tell the newbies because they spelled out all their words as though writing with a computer keyboard. I ought to know… I used be one of those…

But these days? Txt2 n lng

A Cell Phone Story
Life Without A Cell Phone




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