Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Do all text messages have to be written in text speak?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25562 points ) October 20th, 2011

I’m going to be getting a smartphone in the next couple of months, and I will learn how to text on it. I know that most messages are sent in an abbreviated language.

Is that standard? Will I have to learn text speak using “u” instead of “you” and “r” instead of “are,” for example?

How geeky will I appear, if I use standard English?

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59 Answers

martianspringtime's avatar

You definitely do not have to write all in text speak!
I don’t, and neither do most of the people I text. I’ll throw in ‘lol’s and whatnot occasionally, but the only time I abbreviate (‘u’ for ‘you’) is if I’m out of characters, have already deleted unnecessary punctuation marks, and don’t want to send two texts instead of one.

DeanV's avatar

Shit no.

I use standard english and correct punctuation in all my text messages, and nobody seems to mind it. If anything, I think they’d mind a lot more if I didn’t use correct grammar.

Jellie's avatar

I write just like I would write on Fluther. With spelling and punctuation. It’s not geeky. In fact text speak is pretty annoying!!!!

jrpowell's avatar

I will make this simple for you. Use real words or I will punch you in the dick.

Jeruba's avatar

I can’t speak for the younger set, but on the basis of a limited sample I am getting the impression that the coolness factor for all that consonant-heavy babytalk is going way down.

As a beginning text user a few years ago, I did try to use all the shorthand. That lasted until I found out that my sons were saving some of my messages to show to their friends because they were so funny—or even worse, so cute. “Mum, no one texts like that.”

So I gave up and went back to complete sentences with proper capitalization and punctuation, with but a few exceptions. The standard abbreviations at our house (for example, “wfd”) turn up routinely in text messages.

And what I get from my kids is also mostly standard English. Maybe they’re just indulging me, but at least they’re able to.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Good lord no. I almost never do, when I do, it’s because I’m in a serious time crunch. And I seriously hate it when my older relatives do it – I know they hate doing it, so why do they do it? Have they not noticed me never doing it? Especially on short texts – I can totally get u (you) and tonite (tonight) when you’re using up close to all 140 characters, but “where r u”? Really? You couldn’t possibly be buggered to spend the extra 2 seconds typing “where are you?”? My texts usually have proper grammar in them, complete with capitalization and proper its and it’s.

In short, no one will think less of you for typing it out properly. They might think less if you don’t know a few basic abbreviations (but nothing that isn’t used on Fluther – lol, omg, wtf, btw, iirc, fwiw), but you can always do a quick Urban Dictionary check if you’re worried about being ridiculed should you ask the person to clarify.

augustlan's avatar

God, no. My kids rarely use txtspeak, and I never do. Be your bad-ass, proper English self, @Hawaii_Jake!

Ayesha's avatar

No! Write normally. Nothing ‘has’ to be written in any way but the normal way. I don’t see how the word ‘Geeky’ fits here.

jerv's avatar

No, but many do it because of the limits of SMS messaging. For technical reasons, us English-speaking people are limited to 160 characters per message. U is one character while YOU is three.

That said, for shorter messages like, “Where are you?”, where there is no chance of hitting 160 characters, you really are better off typing it out.

As @Aethelflaed points out though, you will need to at least know a bit of the lingo or you will be ROFLstomped for being such a n00b. You can send proper English all you want, but if you can’t read the replies…

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t give a damn what people think, I text with proper grammar.

Blueroses's avatar

If you have a smartphone and an unlimited text plan, you don’t even have to worry about character limits. The phone will automatically break the message into 2 or more pieces if you exceed 160. No reason to stop using real words.

Boogabooga1's avatar

Yes !
They HAVE to be “have to be written in text speak”
...or else the phone cops will email you a $1000 fine or force you to go no Nigeria to collect your $10000000 inheritance from your long lost uncle.

Oh I almost forgot, for being the 20th person to ask this question you have WON an Ipad, just visit dowhateveryouwant.con with your bank details to claim your PRIZE!

ucme's avatar

I use textspeak for quickness/convenience & so does everyone I know. I mean, it’s never the entire composition, that would be just dumb, only the bits than can be skirted over.
Never given it a moments thought really, it’s just a text message after all.

stardust's avatar

I don’t use text-speak, for the most part anyway. Type whatever way you want to type. Some people use it for convenience. I use predictive text as I find it much quicker. To each his own.

Bellatrix's avatar

I never send messages in text speak. I use complete words AND if your phone has swipe typing (I don’t know the correct technical term) it is much quicker to send text messages anyway. I like it a lot. Let us know which phone you go with.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Bellatrix It’s called Swype, and you can get it on an iPhone, but it requires some technological know-how and a jailbroken iPhone. Swype is available for all Android phones.

Bellatrix's avatar

Aaah, thank you @Aethelflaed. Yes, Swype! I like it anyway. I have an Android phone.

chewhorse's avatar

Text abreviations are typically for long winded texters.. In most texts you have a word limit. using abs you can text more than the usual limit.. Unnecessary since all you have to do is continue on next text (but that’s me).

Hibernate's avatar

You won’t look geeky at all. I use normal language with the sms I send. Takes a bit longer but I prefer the normal language. Some people like to text me with “txt speak”. I usually reply with a message they won’t understand [written in my own text speak :D ]. They follow up asking what did I say there [asking in normal language] ... I just tell them I did not understood what they said so I just thought it was a silly game so I said the exact crap i received.

I have nothing against some abbreviations but let’s be serious. If you want to tell someone something important [longer than 160 characters] you just call them for one minute and explain.

It’s just me but most of my friends that text on a daily basis [100+ messages] use normal language with me. Or else I don’t bother and they usually ask for my help.

zensky's avatar

Nope. I have never used textspeak and I write about 20 a day. Many are brief; yes, no, how are you – but no real need to textspeak. Sometimes I catch myself writing something longer than a couple of sentences and then just hit the dial button. When I see that I am rambling on – it’s then I realize it’s time to actually call.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I would do what @johnpowell says.

I text in normal English almost everytime I send a msg. I mean message.

rts486's avatar

No, if I text I use complete sentences. If it takes more than one or two sentences, I call.

sydsydrox's avatar

I think that if people keep texting and abbreviating, they will forget how to use proper language and forget how to spell words properly. I don’t think all text messages should be abbreviated, unless you are really trying to get your point across quickly.

JLeslie's avatar

Nope. But, you might need to learn how to understand it.

zensky's avatar

@sydsydrox Very true and welcome to Fluther.

morphail's avatar

@sydsydrox It is possible that, instead of forgetting how to use “proper language”, people who text will simply use different languages in different contexts. Anyway, texting improves literacy

smilingheart1's avatar

In these days with monthly accounts and text messaging included for your 5 or 10 favorite contacts, it seems redundant to have to LOL all over the place.

Leanne1986's avatar

I don’t use text speak in my messages. I make sure my spelling and grammer is correct.

jonsblond's avatar

None of my immediate family (husband and sons, age 17 & 19) use text speak. Only when we run out of characters or use the occasional lol. I’m 40, and my 47 year old sister calls me a dork for not using text speak. Oh well.

wundayatta's avatar

It is a law that you must use txtspk, but I break it all the time. I use swype. It’s harder to make spelling mistakes with swype and it is much faster just to spell normally. Here’s a test of iphone vs swype.

SuperMouse's avatar

I text all the time and I flat out refuse to use text speak. Whoever I am communicating with can txtspk me into oblivion and I will always respond with all of the words spelled out and the proper punctuation!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

No, I still use punctuation and I still spell out most of my words, unless I feel like using a quick “u” in place of “you”. I do it sometimes in quick texts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I txt spk because I still have a simple abc phone, not the key pad. My husband (who doesn’t text!) has a key pad phone and it’s much easier to text properly with. But I rarely use his phone. When I use mine it saves time and characters.

Also, n 1 wy its intregng 2 fgre out wat letrs cn b omtded bt stl b redabl!

I think there is a time and a place for everything…however, kids, writing formal English papers and essays is NOT the time nor place! Now THAT drives me nuts and I jump on it, hard!

KoleraHeliko's avatar

I do, and always have, written in full sentences with correct spelling, grammar, and syntax.

martianspringtime's avatar

Just for added context, I’m 19 and have been pretty consistently texting since I was about 15/16. I’ve never really used text speak (aside from ‘lol’s or the occasional emoticon, as I mentioned earlier), nor have the majority of my friends (who are around my age). I know a lot of teenagers use it, but I assure you, it’s not all of them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m curious…what is so bad about using text speak when texting?

prasad's avatar

Well, I used texting for character limit and time saving.
I used to chat with friends using text messages. So, we used all short forms like “gr8” for “great”. That way, we saved time. We sent about 100 to 500 messages daily. Yeah, we had activated text message packs; that’s why we could afford it.
Now also, sometimes, I use it when I get lazy to type in all letters.
Some of friends got so much practice that they could type and send messages without looking at it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Dutchess_III Please tell me people don’t actually try to use text speak in formal papers/essays.Seriously? They do this? I guess it’s not that bad (and I can be quite a bit hyperbolic about it), just that it takes significantly longer for me to read it. It sends me back to that place in language development where you have to stop to figure out each word, and then go back and put them into a sentance that then makes sense. So like your quote (n 1 wy its intregng 2 fgre out wat letrs cn b omtded bt stl b redabl!) takes me about 15–20 seconds to decipher, whereas typed properly it takes a fraction of a second.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Dutchess_III : I don’t think there’s anything wrong with text speak. I simply don’t understand most of it and prefer not to use it.

morphail's avatar

@Dutchess_III Nothing, as far as I can see. Use language appropriate to your audience.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, seriously. I’ll get students in who’ll write “u” for ‘you’ and use all lower case…yes. Really. And then there is the infamous ”...could of…” See Ms. Val come uglued!!

@Aethelflaed Well, it’s just a matter of relaxing and not puzzling out each individual word. I mean, I read in blocks of words, not individual words. I have no problem reading txt speak. If I really don’t understand a word I skip it, get the whole context of the message and then the word I didn’t understand falls into place.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t even want to hear from people who write “u” for “you.” One woman I know uses it in e-mail (and she is a professional editor!); I avoid exchanging messages with her for that reason.

rebbel's avatar

Good for you, @Jeryouba ;-)
I do use shorthand sometimes when I text with my brother, but that is just to make fun of our father.
My father used to (and still does these days) shorten very illogical words or (street)names, probably to stay ‘in touch’ with the young people.
He’d say “I’ll see you in the Jacob” when he talked about the Jacob Gerrit Street.
So, to honour him I guess, we shorten all kind of words and names when my brother and I text each other.
We are probably the only ones who know what we talk about.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t mind text speak in a text, but not in an email or school essay. Lighten up folks!

TheIntern55's avatar

I’m 14 and I never use textspeak! My friends all make fun of me for it. However, as I assume you’re older, I don’t think people will do that. It’s okay to ask what something means though. My friend didn’t ask and COMPLETELY misunderstood a text. I once asked my dad what lol meant. It’s okay. But show your Fluther pride and speak like a human!

Dutchess_III's avatar

My 16 year old step-granddaughter once asked me what LMAO meant….all my kids know I’m much more technologically savvy than they are….I really choked about telling her.

I still say, you only have 160 characters. Say as much as you can and form be damned! Srsly.

augustlan's avatar

It just dawned on me that we’re probably not the best people to ask about this. Since we don’t allow it on the site, we’re bound to attract people who appreciate the lack of txtspk. That’s how we roll.

jonsblond's avatar

@augustlan I denno. You are prolly right.

^^some things are allowed. I know it’s not txtspk, but it sure as hell isn’t Engrish. Or is it? :P

augustlan's avatar

Prolly. :D

Jeruba's avatar

Can’t stand the sight of that nonword. I’d rather see txtspk.

augustlan's avatar

<Hangs head in shame.>

Jeruba's avatar

No reflection on you, my dear. This is simply a personal preference strongly influenced by an involuntary gag reflex. When one of my very dearest friends uses that expression in an e-mail, I close the e-mail and won’t open it again, sometimes not for months.

Leaving this thread now.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This article seems apropos.

Blueroses's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I wish my keyboard had an interrobang and a snark. they sound like they belong in a Lewis Carroll poem, don’t they?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Blueroses : Don’t you love the names? :)~

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Oh. My. GAWD. Stop everything, there’s a punctuation mark called the “snark”? This is the best thing ever!

Bellatrix's avatar

Perhaps we should start a movement to reinstate the ‘snark’?

Aethelflaed's avatar

Indeed. On Windows, the code to get it is Alt+11822. (It can also be Alt+1567, but it’s smaller ؟ than 11822 ⸮, and has a weird cursor placement thingy, so I don’t recommend 1567).

Dutchess_III's avatar

ƒ{╚§ôÄA█▼ I love alt-speak!
This is what I get with 11822 > . Yes, a period.
This is what I get with 1567 > ▼. Yes a triangle. : ( My life is so boring.
This looks like a snark though! ╚§ ? Maybe?

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