DONATE YOUR SMS
For language research. One of the most common ways of using language is now through the sms mode of communication, which has been discribed by Sutherland (2002) as a ‘linguistic pig ear… Texting is penmanship for illiterates’. However disparaged this system of communication has been, it has remained important to many. Sadly it has not attracted adequate research in the past. I am therefore currently leading a research project to collect text messages which will be used to study a variety of linguistic matters. One of these is how individuals change spelling and sentences when confronted with small screen, small keyboard and the need to respond urgently.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH MY SMS?
We will put your sms into a data bank containing hundreds of other smses and then process the entire data bank through a computer software that analyses the way people write language. Your sms will therefore aid multi-research projects by students and members of staff.
WHAT KIND OF ANALYSIS ARE YOU REFERRING TO?
There are a variety of experiments which will be conducted on the data using text processing software such as frequency profiling and concordance analysis such as the following analysis of b:
Balibi Modibetsane is completing an MA thesis titled WORDHOOD IN TEXT MESSAGES. Her study used a collection of smses with 4247 words (tokens).
WHAT ABOUT MY PRIVACY?
We have found out that most smses don’t identify individuals specifically. People refer to John or Dol etc. However if there are numbers or any other information which you believe may compromise your identity change it or replace some of it with stars (71**5*1*). There is also no need to write your name when you send us your smses.
HOW MANY SMSES DO YOU HAVE CURRENTLY?
Lots, with over 4000 words (tokens). Most of these were collected by my Masters student, Ms. Balibi Modibetsane. The number of smses added to this collection is growing everyday as more people send us their smses.
HOW MUCH SMS DO YOU TARGET TO COLLECT?
We target to have a collection of smses of over 1 million words (tokens).
IS THAT NOT TOO AMBITIOUS? HOW WILL YOU ACHIEVE THAT?
I have an experience of compiling massive text collections for research. I have put together a collection of over 15 million words (tokens) of Setswana text. To get 1 million tokens of smses will be a great achievement which I believe is possible with your assistance.
HOW DO I DONATE MY SMS?
- Send your sms by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your sms must be COPIED EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS ON YOUR PHONE even with “spelling mistakes”.
- Write your sms in a piece of paper and slip the paper under the door of Block 202/02. Don’t knock. REMEMBER: Your sms must be COPIED EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS ON YOUR PHONE even with “spelling mistakes”.
- Email us as many smses as you can and PLEASE GET OTHERS TO SEND THEIR SMSES TO US AS WELL.
INBOX OR OUTBOX SMS?
Everything. And all smses are welcome, regardless of whether they are polite or not. Remember we are studying all varieties of language use.
Email: email@example.com or call Dr. T.J. Otlogetswe: 355 2093