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Title: Orthographic practices in SMS text messaging as a case signifying diachronic change in linguistic and semiotic resources
Author: Shortis, T. F. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 2198
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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From 1998, SMS text messaging diffused in the UK from an innovation associated with a small minority, mainly adolescents, to a method of written communication practised routinely by people of all ages and social profiles. From its earliest use, and continuing to the time of writing in 2015, SMS texting has attracted strong evaluation in public sphere commentary, often focused on its spelling. This thesis presents analysis of SMS orthographic choice as practised by a sample of adolescents and young adults in England, with data collected between 2000 and 2012. A threelevel analytical framework attends to the textual evidence of SMS orthographic practices in situated use; respondents’ accounts of their choices of spelling in text messaging as a literacy practice; and the metadiscursive evaluation of text messaging spelling in situated interaction and in the public sphere. I present analysis of a variety of representations of SMS orthographic choice, including facsimile texts, electronic corpus data, questionnaire survey responses and transcripts of recorded interviews. This mixed methods empirical approach enables a cross-verified, longitudinal perspective on respondents’ practices, and on the wider significance of SMS orthographic choice, as expressed in private and public commentary. I argue that the spelling used in SMS exemplifies features, patterns, and behaviours, which are found in other forms of digitally-mediated interaction, and in previous and concurrent vernacular literacy practices. I present SMS text messaging as one of the intertextually-related forms of self-published written interaction which mark a diachronic shift towards re-regulated forms of orthographic convention, so disrupting attitudes to standard English spelling. I consider some implications represented by SMS spelling choice for the future of written conventions in standardised English, and for teaching and learning about spelling and literacy in formal educational settings.
Supervisor: Jewitt, C. ; Kress, G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available