A team of Canadian university researchers want your text messages to add to their pool of research. The project ‘text4science‘ is a collaboration between Simon Fraser University, University of Ottawa, and the Universite de Montreal. The project itself is part of the international ‘sms4science’ project coordinated at the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium.
What is the aim of the project? Their website states:
In recent years, communication via SMS (text message) has become a social phenomenon. Many scientific studies (in linguistics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, communication etc.) have looked into this new medium, but their conclusions remain partial and incomplete. Indeed, researchers lack access to large databases (corpora) that offer enough genuine material for extensive studies.
The aim of sms4science is to contribute to the understanding of the language used in SMS messages. In order to reach this goal, researchers from various countries are joining forces to undertake the building of a larger corpus of SMS messages for scientific research.
According to the Vancouver Sun’s Gillian Shaw, in her interview with SFU professor Christian Guilbault, the study hopes research will confirm their theory that people aren’t being lazy when texting with shortcuts and abbreviations, but rather showing a display of creativity and imagination. Also, the study aims to look at how various dialects of English text differently.
I think it comes down to a combination of both laziness and creativity when sending short texts and emails. If you’re in a situation where you can’t write a paragraph, we result to short texts and abbreviations such as TTYL, OMFG, LOL, LMAO, FML, and so on.
Want to participate? You can ‘donate’ your texts by sending a message to 202202. If you send five texts and answer a short survey, you will be eligible to win prizes. You can read their FAQ for more info here.
What are some of your favourite texting shortcuts and abbreviations?