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THE EFFECT OF TEXTING AND ABBREVIATION SPELLING ON THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF UNIVERSITY OF ABUJA STUDENTS

Abstract

Text Message (TM) simply refers to the use of abbreviations that might not necessarily be universally accepted. It makes use of short language forms to craft short message services (SMS), instant messages (IM) and so and so forth. This type of communication does not usually follow any language pattern, standards, rules, spellings, syntax or otherwise. The general objective of this study is to determine the menace of text message abbreviations on Academic achievement in English language examination. From the analysis, it was discovered that texting and Abbreviation spelling can have both positive and negative effects. Positively because some use it for an important academic message or family members or friends both at school and at home for information especially when they are out of credit and cannot make voice calls. Negative when they become dependent on SMS, IM, BBM and so on when they use text abbreviations to the point of writing such abbreviations in their continuous assessment and examinations

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

  • Background of the study

According to Vosloo, (2009) Abbreviations and acronyms are used a lot in chat conversations and text messages as a way to speed up conversations, get points across quickly and type less when you’re in a rush. An abbreviation is a short form of a word or phrase (e.g. TV is an abbreviation of television). Vosloo explained that an acronym is when one takes the first letter of each word (or most words) in a phrase and put them together to make an abbreviation (e.g. TGIF is an acronym for Thank God It’s Friday). Smith, (2008) added that sometimes it can be very embarrassing if one misunderstands an abbreviation or use one in the wrong way. Students do lots of texting in English, learn some useful texting abbreviations and read an article about texting and literacy (Smith, 2008).

Lately, as stated by Michael, (2012) some people have been concerned that the explosion in text messaging among young people is hurting their literacy skills (Michael, 2012). However, a recent study compared the spelling and punctuation of some students-texters and non-texters, finding no significant differences between the two groups. It is important when texting to be fast and concise. This is to save on time and space. A reader who is unfamiliar with texting will feel lost when they see abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons. For texters, this ‘language’ is easy to read and easy to write. The debate about the harmful effects of texting started a few years ago (Bachman, 2010).

In Nigeria, teachers began noticing examples of texting abbreviations in their students’ exam papers. In one case, students who wrote an entire description of summer holidays in text language became famous for using many abbreviations. The teachers sent a sample of the essay to a national newspaper and readers sent in hundreds of letters giving their opinion (Odey, 2014). However, the rules of English, as taught in a classroom, prescribe a correct word and grammar for every situation: "lay" vs "lie," "can" vs "may," "it's" vs "its." But in the realm of texting, the emphasis is on brevity and clarity. Any message that makes sense is allowed, and those messages vary widely (Awoyemi, 2013). Once this lack of attention to correct language becomes the norm in texting, it carries over to non-texting use as well.

A study at Delta State by Ochonogor, Alakpodia & Achugbue on “The Impact of Text Message Slang (TMS) or Chartroom Slang on Students Academic Performance” found that students who texted more abbreviations performed worse on grammar tests. Not every texting convenience had the same effect, however: “Word adaptations” -- think abbreviations and slang -- had a negative impact on examination, but "structural adaptations" had no significant effect (Ochonogor, Alakpodia&Achugbue, 2012).

According to Taiwo, (2014), there was a hoax school essay produced some years back which was entirely written in texting abbreviations. Unfortunately, many were taken in by it. Taiwo opined that teachers were asked to show examples of textisms in examination answer papers and was noticed a single instance of rushed writing (Taiwo, 2014). Taiwo further stated that when asking the students themselves would they ever use textisms in their writing. The answer was “Why would one ever want to do that?” said one to Taiwo. “That would be stupid.” Quite so. You would have to be pretty dumb to not see the difference between texting style and essay styleTaiwo said. Similarly, Ugot, (2010) opined that when asking many examiners whether they have seen textisms in examination answers. The answer was no. Ugot further said, but conducting research and asking if students use textisms in examinations, there is an almost universal yes. Though many including students themselves don’t believe that students use abbreviations in examinations. It’s extraordinary how these myths take hold of the public imagination (Bomodo, 2009). A further myth is that texting is harming students’ literacy. Well, of course, according to Essoh, (2011) once one sees the reality, this myth disappears. What is interesting is the recent research which is showing that the more students text, the better their literacy scores. Because reading and writing improve with practice. Texting provides that practice but the issue is when depending on using abbreviations more often than necessary (Essoh, (2011).

  • Statement of the problem

Balogun, (2013) maintained that many scholars have found out and believe that a text message among University of Abuja students is “full” of abbreviations. Balogun stated when collecting a corpus of messages from University of Abuja students and analyzing them, the average number of words per message that are abbreviated is around 10% in a sentence. That means that most words are in standard spelling. This is especially true of messages between adolescents, now constituting about 80% of all text messages (Balogun, 2013). As opined by Babalola, (2013) some countries had banned abbreviations, because of their possible unfamiliarity or ambiguity and threat on examinations regarding students usage.

It is undeniable that the language of the text had a profound impact on the English vocabulary, one of the main components of language change. While abbreviations and slang might not have a place in professional writing or academia, they have permeated daily life, with terms like cray and YOLO making it into dictionaries (Odey, 2014). More so, Awoyemi, (2013) maintained that old standards like BRB and LOL are so well known that some people even speak them aloud. And if one includes Twitter lingo as an offshoot of text speak, consider the prevalence of the term hashtag, which among young people has become a synonym for the hash sign itself (Awoyemi, 2013).

For Babalola, (2013) language also changes through the way people write and form sentences. Texting has a notoriously lax set of rules -- no one complains if a text doesn't end with a period -- and that attitude has taken seed in the rest of the language. Babalola further maintained that according to linguistics professor Naomi Baron in an article in Educational Leadership, people have grown less and less concerned about following the rules of English grammar over recent years. Texting wasn't the beginning of this shift, but as Baron writes, "computer and mobile-phone technologies add fuel to the linguistic fire." (Babalola, 2013)

However, According to Odey, (2014) texters might not care about periods, commas and apostrophes, but that doesn't mean that texts are grammarless. Odey went on to say that English professor John McWhorter once claimed that one of the texting's best-known terms, LOL, is a form of grammar. The term seldom actually means "laughing out loud." Instead, it serves a grammatical function, giving a message an air of levity (Odey, 2014). As stated by Essoh, (2011) McWhorter compares "LOL" to the suffix "-ed" in that it denotes past tense "rather than 'meaning' anything."

  • The objective of the study

The general objective of this study is to determine the menace of text message abbreviations on Academic achievement in English language examination (a study of university of Abuja students in English and communication department)

The specific objectives of this study are:

  1. assess students understanding regarding text message abbreviations
  2. identify the effect of text message abbreviations on Academic achievement in English language examination among University of Abuja students
  3. determine the extent to which text message abbreviations influences the writing performance of the sampled population.
  4. expose other users (parents/ teachers) of text message abbreviations to the menace of the influence of text message abbreviations on the university of Abuja students
    • Research Questions
  5. To what extent do students understand text message abbreviations?
  6. What is the effect of text message abbreviations on Academic achievement in English language examination among University of Abuja students?
  7. What is the extent to which text message abbreviations influences the writing performance of the sampled population?
  8. How will other users (parents/ teachers) be exposed to text message abbreviations regarding the menace of the influence of text message abbreviations on the university of Abuja students?

 

  • Significance of study

The identification of the menace of text message abbreviations on Academic achievement in English language examination by university of Abuja students is significant in the following ways: it will reveal the level of effect of text message abbreviations on students during examination in English. It will provide teachers with enough techniques to employ to meet the massive and evolving need of so desperate students for information and learning. It will help parents interpret some abbreviations of forged text messages to confuse their understanding of certain content, such as “CPC” which means “Keep Parents Clueless” and also help them check their children’s performance in English. It will allow teachers to be alert to the challenges posed by students’ unrestricted dependence on text message abbreviations and their backwash on their writing ability. The results of this study will add to the existing literature and will as well provide reference materials for the academic society and further research.

1.6   Scope of the study

This study is an investigation of the menace of text message abbreviations on Academic achievement in the English language examination among senior university of Abuja students in the English and communication department. The focus will be on the effect of text message abbreviations on the writing performance of this group of students

1.7   Limitation of the study

The challenges that posed a threat to this work include the following; the results are self-reported and the attitudes of the respondents turned to be huge obstacles to this study

1.8   Definition of terms

Menace: Is text message abbreviations being a threat or potential hazard to University of Abuja students when using them during examinations.

Text message: This is an electronic communication sent and received by university of Abuja students typing words through mobile phone which often could be in shortened form.

Abbreviation: is the most widely used term for a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase used predominantly in writing to represent the complete form, especially when taking examinations by university of Abuja students.

Examination: This is an official test that shows university of Abuja students’ knowledge or aptitude in Academic achievement in the English language examination.

Attached Files

THE EFFECT OF TEXTING AND ABBREVIATION SPELLING ON THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF UNIVERSITY OF ABUJA STUDENTS.docx
A STUDY TO INVESTIGATE PUNCTUATION AS A FACTOR IN WRITTEN ENGLISH AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN RIVERS STATE.docx
MODELING AND CLASSIFICATION OF DIABETIC PATIENTS AT STATE SPECIALIST HOSPITAL MAIDUGURI

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