Unconventional Spelling in French SMS Text Messages
The abbreviated and often nonstandard orthography and grammar used in SMS messages have provoked the ire of language purists in France. This chapter presents a systematic linguistic analysis of neography in French SMS. Central to the study is the development of a typology of neographical transformations — involving phonetic reductions, syllabograms, and logograms — based on a corpus of examples. The analysis illuminates the heterogeneity, polyvalence, and high degree of variation in SMS spellings. Neography is proposed to be a dynamic phenomenon based on local combinations of general mechanisms, driven by natural linguistic and semiotic processes and produced under pressures from various constraints. Finally, SMS features are compared with those of other communication media and future directions for research are suggested to expand investigation to other alphabetical and nonalphabetical CMC phenomena.
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