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).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What do yall make of this?

A friend brought this message board thread to my attention. At the moment, I'm kinda dumbstruck with what to think of it... but there are some interesting language judgments contained within and kind of "hyper-internet variety" being used throughout.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Gendered txt

Via Netwoman comes the tale of two recent stories about gender issues in text messaging, both about a study led by Simeon Yates (Sheffield Hallam).

They found that men's texts are "shorter and use more sarcasm and swearing than those sent by women," according to the BBC News article. Messages are also longer when men are talking to women, and most interestingly, men will text their lady friends when out with their dude friends in order to avoid appearing less dude-like by actually talking on the phone to their lady friends:

"It has become common to text when you want to keep communication private, especially if you are in a group. An obvious example is that a man is more likely to text than phone his partner when he is out with friends or peers. This prevents him by losing face by switching from 'friend' mode to 'partner' mode in front of his peers," says Dr Yates.

The Yorkshire Post article is a little more ridiculous:

For years women have been battling to keep up sides with men and prove themselves to be equal in all ways. But researchers in Sheffield have proved that in the modern world there is one key difference – and that is in the way that we text.

Right. Anyway, that article's explication of the length and content findings is:

Messages between men are shorter than those between women, and text messages from men get longer when they are texting women. There are also significant differences in the content of messages men and women exchanged, men being much more likely to use sarcasm, sexual humour and swearing. Women are more likely to show support and affection. They also rarely swear, use little sarcasm, often put themselves down -– something men never do in their texts.

Because these are pop media articles, I don't know where the academic source is - Yates' homepage turns up nothing.

As Netwoman points out, this is certainly not surprising, but I want to see more about the differences in men talking to men v. men talking to women v. women talking to women v. women talking to men. I'd also like to know how more linguistic issues figure in here, and how they were used in determining the meaning of the content - do emoticons signal "support" and/or "affection" and/or "sarcasm"? Does an all-caps SWEAR WORD count as more of a swear word than a no-caps one?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election results Leet thread

(Ok, I know it's not really a 'thread' since this is a blog, but whatever.)

I just saw this blog headline:
[Kaine would be our now-governor (god I hope the press calls are correct) Tim Kaine.]

I expect there might be an interesting array of these types of headlines tonight/tomorrow. It might be fun to collect. Not necessarily academic, but since we were already on the topic of Leet, why not?

Interestingly, this same blog also has this headline:
X Virginia Blog Carnival X
Somebody explain the "X___X" formation to me again? I was once told the origin but don't remember.

WHOAH. Come to search for it, this blog is crazy for PWN. There're three more headlines involving PWN:
Virginia Pwns!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

more linguistic variation in cmc.

speaking of cmc-specific registers:

if NE1 is up 4 goin out 2day u can call me!

i thought this kind of speech style had died awhile ago, but evidently it's still alive and well. i know the lay term 'aol speak' is thrown around to describe it, but that's more a register reference, and also encompasses a whole mess of other features (and will probably also get our asses sued by AOL) - is there a better reference for the actual alphanumeric-y feature used here? any articles that talk about it?

otherwise, you know, feel free to make up your own.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

7h15 1z teh r0xx0r!!!!!!111!!!!one!!!!!!!!!1

a couple of weeks ago wikipedia was hit with a string of racist or otherwise offensive additions to its entry on rosa parks, one of which went a little something like this:

Rosa Parks FINALLY GOT PWNED at the age of 92 on [...]

which sounded to me like a classical example of styleshifting (codeswitching?) to reference some sort of identity or language ideology, and it made me wonder how CMC scholars have looked at l337 using more than a purely descriptivist approach. it's a pretty loaded CMC-specific register (style? orthography? cyberlect?) and it's gone through a pretty interesting cycle of use over the years.

if anyone has seen any academic articles written on any facet of l337, or any thoughts or anecdotes or what have you, i'd love to hear them.

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