An analysis of the relationship between writing skills and Short Messaging Service language : a self–regulatory perspective
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Self–regulation in writing is viewed as critically important in order to be a good writer. With the advent of cellular telephony, what passes as ‘good’ writing is being challenged with the introduction of the abbreviated form of SMS (Short Messaging Service) language. The purpose of this study was to determine the nature of the changes in SMS spelling and whether or not these changes affected the participants’ spelling age and their ability to write formally within the context of a formal SMS and the English language class. This study also aimed to determine whether a relationship exists between self–regulatory skills and writing in SMS. A sequential explanatory mixed–method research design was selected in order to address the research questions which had been posed. The study examined the nature of Short Messaging Service (SMS) language and the relationship between self–regulation and SMS, using a dominant quantitative survey design which was followed by a qualitative phase which explored and explained the phenomena which had been exposed in the quantitative phase of this study. The results of this study indicated that SMS language is an abbreviated form of digital writing, which is colloquial and informal in nature. SMS language is used in SMS text messages and within the forum of the chatroom MXit. The results also indicated that the participants in this study use the self–regulatory strategies of goal setting, strategic planning, self–recording, self–evaluation and self–reaction when writing SMS text messages that are more formal in nature. Furthermore, no evidence of SMS language could be found in an analysis of writing portfolios, indicating that SMS language does not affect the academic writing skills of the participants in this study. The main conclusion was that although this study was completed on a very small scale and that it would be inappropriate to generalise, the implementation of and research regarding the nature of SMS and self–regulation in SMS writing, require attention in order to ensure that the self–regulatory skills possessed by learners in our schools are used optimally in order to promote literacy and good writing practices.
- Education