A Cross-Sectional Study of Textese in Academic Writing: Magnitude of Penetration, Impacts, and Perceptions
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Keywords:Academic writing, Morphosyntax, Instant messaging (IM), Texting
This cross-sectional study examined the distribution of electronic texting patterns in academic writing and effects of textese on EFL learners’ writing performance. It also explored teachers’ perspectives on this phenomenon. Data were gleaned from 60 undergraduates enrolled for a license degree in English language and literature and 10 of their professors who were familiar with writing skills of this body of informants. A corpus of texts derived from exam scripts, assignments, and lecture notes was analyzed, and the teachers were interviewed. The results revealed that learners tend to transfer some patterns of instant messaging (IM) into their writing. However, this remains rather limited to morphosyntactic features and some other paralinguistic features and local-based contents. The phenomenon was pervasive across the sample in a descending order; learners at the entry level e-texted more than their seniors did. Besides, heavy texters used this deformed variety of English to compensate low writing proficiency in terms of spelling, word selection, and sentence structures. Additionally, texting was apparently evident in note-taking more than in answer sheets and assignments. The study concludes that textese is not a surrogate for the Standard English but an addition to it with a variance of scope and purpose of usage.
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