Investigating Unconventional Abbreviations In Sms Texts

Faustina Amponsah Partey, Rosemary Gifty Addo-Danquah, Lucy Korkoi Bonku, Kwasi Sarfo-Adu


Abbreviations are intended to facilitate expeditious writing and make use of reduced space either on paper, the computer or the phone. Abbreviations have been used for quite a prolonged period and are putative wherever their use is effected. Nevertheless, over a period of time, some unconventional abbreviations seemed to be slithering into the literatures of students of Kumasi Technical University, Kumasi, Ghana where the study was conducted. This article has been aggravated by my incessant observance of the frequency at which unconventional abbreviations are used by Kumasi Technical University students in their Short Message Service (SMS) texts to others. Consequently, this paper strives to unearth the varieties of unconventional abbreviations used by these students and analyze them linguistically and phonologically. A corpus of 300 SMS texts was then assembled from five departments but 200 were purposively sampled for the analysis; and with Anjaneyulu’s (2003) five methods of generating shortened words in SMS as the basis of the analysis, the results revealed a preponderance of unconventional abbreviations constituting 60%of the data compiled. The most frequently striking category of abbreviations involved maximum use of letters, symbols, or figures to produce the appropriate phonetic sound, adhoc abbreviations and a negligible or barest use of alphanumeric or hybrid method. These arguably connote an appreciation of phonology where the sounds of the words are what the students use to structure their abbreviations.


Abbreviations, Unconventional, Alphanumeric, Short Message Service

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