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Title: Processing SMS shortcuts : the contribution of phonology, orthography and semantics
Author: Bartlett, Kirsten E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 0290
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the question of whether unusual and visually irregular stimuli, such as SMS shortcuts (e.g., txt; text, l8r, later) are processed in the same way as familiar words. Early computational models such as the Dual Route Cascaded (DRC) Model (Coltheart, Rastle, Perry, Langdon & Ziegler, 2001) and the Interactive Activation (IA) model (McClelland & Rumelhart, 1981) implemented a slot based letter coding system that assumed letter positions in a word had to be accurate for word recognition to occur. However, more recent research has demonstrated that subsets of the consonants in a word (e.g., blcn-BALCON) are able to access the lexicon, suggesting that the system may be fairly flexible (Dunabeitia & Carreiras, 2011; Peressotti & Grainger, 1999). Further research with familiar abbreviations (e.g., BBC; British Broadcasting Company) suggests that these items are added to the mental lexicon implying that familiarity allows the lexical processor to accommodate visually irregular stimuli (Brysbaert, Speybroeck & Vanderelst, 2009). This finding may be expected to extend to similarly unusual items such as txt (text) or I8r (later). However, SMS shortcuts are unlike abbreviations because they are alternative spellings of existing words and may not require new lexical entries in order to be processed. As such single word shortcuts, as opposed to initialisms that represent whole phrases (e.g., /o/; laugh out loud, tbh; to be honest), share characteristics with second language cognates (e.g. the English-Spanish cognates cat and gato) that are also alternative representations of words that already exist in a lexicon. The evidence presented in this thesis supports the suggestion that visually unusual stimuli will be accommodated by the lexical processor if they are familiar and it is likely that they are added to the mental lexicon. In addition the patterns of data exhibited by SMS shortcuts are not dissimilar to those found with second language cognates. This thesis also presents a comprehensive database of SMS shortcuts that provides an indication of the frequency with which these items are currently used by a UK undergraduate population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available