Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Predictive text "gobbledygook"

The Language Legend has a post up about this Guardian article about predictive text's inanities ("Why can't my mobile spell properly?"). More interesting is this post by a commenter, Rusty:

Did you see Stephen Fry's appearance on Friday Night with Jonathon Ross some weeks ago? On it he mentioned how kids/teenagers are starting to use "book" to mean "cool", because as you try to type "cool" using predictive text -- 2665 -- the first result is... yes, "book", and people are too lazy to press the extra key to change to the next 2665-entry. So we now have people going around saying things like "that is so book!" I find that quite fascinating. :)

1. Heart Stephen Fry.

2. Wow.

In the article itself, the author mostly just rants about silly spellings the mobile comes up with (undu, flaunaue, and Painbusys instead of tofu, flatmate, and Sainsbury's). One wants to ask the user to just stop using predictive text if it's so irksome, but he's right: the dictionaries on some of the phones are pretty weird. It's an industry I don't know much about, but the implications for language use and linguistic attitudes are undoubtedly worth considering - as the popular media again points out to us. If interested in txt and especially predictve, for starters, I suggest visiting the work of Rich Ling, if you haven't yet (a sociologist, not linguist, but near enough to be relatedly interesting).

who texts their mates about tofu, anyway?

i'm totally behind on the whole text message thing, academically and otherwise, but the book->cool shift is great. none of my students have heard of it, though - is this a british thing?
I haven't heard it either. I'm guessing it might be British, but namely because text messaging is way more popular - and has been for some time - there than it is in the States. I imagine what things get integrated into speech from CMC depends on what kind of CMC is uber-popular. I wonder if they say "heart" in Britain.
was 'heart' really a net-ism? it caught on for me in middle school after the more suave kids started passing love notes in class with little hearts as verbs - i thought it was popularized well before textspeak from love notes and bumper sticker slogans and the like. i'll check around the ADS about it.

what i *have* heard in certain circles is 'less than three' where 'heart' would be, which is uber-geeky and fabulous.
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