Analysis of Online Texting among Bilingual Interlocutors

Rashad Ali Ahmed, Abdu M. Talib Al-kadi


This study advances research on using language in online communication. It intended to analyze texting on WhatsApp in terms of linguistic and paralinguistic characteristics, the identity of interlocutors, and uses of emojis. Adopting a corpus-based approach to the study of language variation, data were collected from WhatsApp chat group of six male students enrolled in a Master’s program at a graduate school in the Midwestern region of the United States. A total of 195 messages were garnered over a period of three months. Results showed laudable features of online texting which are deviant of the formal English orthographically, morphologically, syntactically, and phonologically. This supports previous claims that texting has adversely affected the structure of formal language. It was also found that emojis were used to complement words, impose additional meaning that mere words cannot convey or supplant written forms. Additionally, the way interlocutors used text messages reveals information about their identities. It also gives clues about their cultural, religious, and educational backgrounds.

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