Exploring the context of texting

By Felix Sarver

Junior NIU NGOLD student Matt Jennings, has a father who may be a pioneer of text-speak.

Jennings said his dad likes to use letters and acronyms when texting him, some of which are his dad’s own creation.

“He’ll use ‘c home’ to mean coming home,” Jennings said. “When he’s on the job he’ll use ‘j b home.'”

Students are not the only people who text each other; parents who join in on the trend may cause more confusion than clarity.

Carlos Martinez, senior safety technology major, said his parents will sometimes misuse text slang.

“My dad will use ‘lol’ inappropriately,” Martinez said. It’s easier to text his friends than his parents, Martinez said.

“They take forever and will use a three word sentence,” Martinez said.

Junior history major Dale Boedewig doesn’t text his parents but he finds it difficult to text with his uncle.

“I have to help my uncle because he’ll cut out words and use abbreviations that don’t make any sense,” Boedewing said.

IT Customer Support director Cindy Phillips said she thinks texting has a lot of uses besides communication between friends and family.

“I know for the university, texting is a tool for doing emergency alerting,” Phillips said.

When it comes to texting her children and grandchildren, text expressions like ‘lol,’ ‘idk,’ and especially ‘lmao’ are favorites, Phillips said.

“I don’t think it’s hard for parents to communicate with texting, it’s just another medium,” Phillips said.

Psychology Professor Keith Millis said he thinks texting has made people more adventurous in their communications.

“Texting is so prevalent today that some people are texting things they wouldn’t have done before,” Millis said. “People are breaking up with their boyfriends through texting.”

Texting also causes certain forms of speech to appear more literally than in a normal face-to-face conversations.

“It’s hard to gauge on a pragmatic level sarcasm in a text,” Millis said. “You don’t have any of those cues you get in a real life conversation.”

People highly prefer texting because it’s like an immediate e-mail and a way for them to log on to computers they would normally have at home, Millis said. Texting is also seen as less disruptive than calling someone, Millis said. “We are social creatures,” Millis said. “We like to keep in contact with our buddies.”