Focus on Text Messages: A Review of Studies in French

Focus on Text Messages: A Review of Studies in French

Olga Volckaert-Legrier (Université Toulouse II – Le Mirail, France), Antonine Goumi (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France), Alain Bert-Erboul (Université de Poitiers (CeRCA-CNRS), France) and Josie Bernicot (Université de Poitiers (CeRCA-CNRS), France)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch085


The study of text messages has given rise to a number of French language research topics. First, databases of natural text messages have been created in multiple Francophone countries in an effort to link the texters' characteristics with the linguistic markers of the text messages. Many studies have focused on textisms (changes in spelling as compared to the traditional written code), creating repertoires of spelling processes and classifying them into typologies. With regard to linguistic aspects, a few studies have analyzed vocabulary and syntax. Sociolinguistic aspects have also been studied, taking into account the relationship among textisms, age, and gender. To address the question of whether text message writing is a threat to spelling, several studies have analyzed the link between text message writing and traditional writing. Finally, a number of studies have focused on the production processes of text message writing. Future studies will need to take into account the dialogical and conversational aspects of text messages.
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In France, research conducted on electronic communication began with the work done by Jacques Anis, who was the first to investigate communication by Minitel (French domestic viewdata service) and then e-mail exchanges. In 2002, he begun to study text-message communication and analyzed the linguistic forms of text messages (Anis, 2002). He was one of France’s research pioneers with regard to new written communication tools.

The text-message studies have interested linguists and psychologists, as well as sociologists and specialists in automatic language processing. The authors regard the text message as a new variety of written French that is not proofread, and is informal, emotional and highly social.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Corpus: Set of text messaging collected.

Textisms: Changes in spelling as compared to the traditional written code.

Text Messaging: Enables messages of up to 160 characters to be sent from a mobile phone.

Spelling: Conventional/Traditional spelling.

Adolescents: State of development that occur between 12 and 17 years.

Register: Is defined as the set of structural language markers appropriate for a given social situation.

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