MENACE OF TEXT MESSAGE ABBREVIATIONS ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAMINATIONS (A STUDY OF THREE SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OKOTA L.G.A)
Background of the study
Text message (TM) simply refers to the use of abbreviations that might not necessarily be universally accepted. It makes use of short language forms to craft short message services (SMS), instant messages (IM), black berry messages (BBM) and so and so forth. This type of communication does not usually follow any language pattern, standards, rules, spellings, syntax or otherwise (Ochonogor, Alakpodia&Achugbue, 2012). According to Vosloo, (2009) Abbreviations and acronyms are used a lot in chat conversations and text messages as a way to speed up conversations, get points across quickly and type less when you’re in a rush. An abbreviation is a short form of a word or phrase (e.g. TV is an abbreviation of television). Vosloo explained that an acronym is when onetakes the first letter of each word (or most words) in a phrase and put them together to make an abbreviation (e.g. TGIF is an acronym for Thank God It’s Friday).Smith, (2008) added that sometimes it can be very embarrassing if one misunderstand an abbreviation or use one in the wrong way.Students do lots of textingin English, learn some useful texting abbreviations and read an article about texting and literacy (Smith, 2008). Lately, as stated by Michael, (2012) some people have been concerned that the explosion in text messaging among young people is having a negative effect on their literacy skills (Michael, 2012). However, a recent study compared the spelling and punctuation of some studentstexters and non-texters, finding no significant differences between the two groups. It is important when texting to be fast and concise. This is to save on time and space. A reader who is unfamilar with texting will feel lost when they see abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons. For texters, this ‘language’ is easy to read and easy to write. The debate about the harmful effects of texting started a few years ago (Bachman, 2010). In Nigeria, teachers began noticing examples of texting abbreviations in their students’ exam papers. One case, students who wrote an entire description of summer holidays in text language, became famous for using much of abbreviations. The teachers sent a sample of the essay to a national newspaper and readers sent in hundreds of letters giving their opinion (Odey, 2014).