Is Texting a New LNGWJ?

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Updated on Oct 14, 2013


Social Science (Linguistics)

Grade Level


Difficulty Level




Project Time Frame

4-6 weeks


This project explores the phenomenon known as text messaging.

Project Goals
  • To chart the evolution of the text messaging movement.
  • To compile a glossary of standard abbreviated spellings for words commonly used in text messaging.
  • To discover other applications for the linguistic style of text messages.

Materials and Equipment

  • Computer with internet access.
  • Mobile phone
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board)


Texting is the sending of short written messages via mobile phone, and is extraordinarily popular among teens. Text messaging is used not only for personal communications, but is also used for advertising, ordering and other commercial purposes.

Research Questions
  • Why is texting so addictive?
  • Why are text messages abbreviated?
  • Is there a standardized glossary of texting abbreviations?
  • What do text messages tell us about the nature of language?
  • What are the practical applications of text messaging?
  • How can we take texting to the “next level”?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
  • Familiarity with text messaging is a must.
  • A basic knowledge of linguistics would be helpful.

Experimental Procedure

  1. Read overviews of relevant topics (see bibliography).
  2. Search internet for additional information.
  3. Compile a text messaging glossary.
  4. Design a new text messaging application.
  5. Interpret findings in a detailed report.
  6. Show results visually using charts and graphs.
  7. Display relevant photos taken throughout the course of the experiment.


  1. Linguistics for Beginners (Gordon, W. Terrence, 2008)
  2. Wikipedia article on “Text Messaging
Judee Shipman is a Bay Area Educational Consultant and professional writer of quality educational materials.  Her recent writing credits include (a popular and entertaining website about states), and a book called The Portable Chess Coach (Cardoza, 2006), currently available in stores.

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