Skip to content

Using Text messaging in the ESL classrrom

January 11, 2010

After reading Chapter 1 of From Blogs to Bombs I thought it was a good idea to test my digital native students to see if they were able to understand the txtspk in the book.
To my surprise most of them found this activity quite challenging. Out of 25 students not only one was able to understand the whole text.
They couldn`t believe that this was an essay a student sent to their teacher. We had a very interesting debate on text messaging.

I would like to test you this time. Have you ever read Romeo and Juliet in Text messaging? Let??s see how much you understand.

Romeo and Juliet – Text Messaging Version

Act 1

Login: Romeo : R u awake? Want 2 chat?
Juliet: O Rom. Where4 art thou?
Romeo: Outside yr window.
Juliet: Stalker!
Romeo: Had 2 come. feeling jiggy.
Juliet: B careful. My family h8 u.
Romeo: Tell me about it. What about u?
Juliet: ‘m up for marriage f u are.. Is tht a bit fwd?
Romeo: No. Yes. No. Oh, dsnt mat-r, 2moro @ 9?
Juliet: Luv U xxxx
Romeo: CU then xxxx

Act 2

Friar: Do u?
Juliet: I do
Romeo: I do

Act 3

Juliet: Come bck 2 bed. It’s the nightingale not the lark.
Romeo: OK
Juliet: !!! I ws wrong !!!. It’s the lark. U gotta go. Or die.
Romeo: Damn. I shouldn’t hv wasted Tybalt & gt banished.
Juliet: When CU again?
Romeo: Soon. Promise. Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu.
Juliet: Miss u big time.

Act 4

Nurse: Yr mum says u have 2 marry Paris!!
Juliet: No way. Yuk yuk yuk. n-e-way, am mard 2 Rom.

Act 5

Friar: Really? O no. U wl have 2 take potion that makes u look ded.
Juliet: Gr8

Act 6

Romeo: J-why r u not returning my texts?
Romeo: RUOK? Am abroad but phone still works.
Romeo: TEXT ME!
Batty: Bad news. J dead. Sorry l8

Act 7

Romeo: J-wish u wr able 2 read this…am now poisoning & and climbing in yr grave. LUV U Ju xxxx

Act 8

Juliet: R-got yr text! Am alive! Ws faking it! Whr RU? Oh…
Friar: Vry bad situation.
Juliet: Nightmare. LUVU2. Always. Dagger. Ow!!! Logout

by cartoonist Roz Chast, first published in the New Yorker

How would you use text messaging in your classroom? Would you use this activity? Would you allow your students to submit this kind of text?

Warm regards


From → Uncategorized

  1. Mariel Amez permalink

    Fascinating indeed! As a Spanish speaker myself I found it very hard to decipher some of it.Thanks, Jennifer!

  2. Nina Liakos permalink

    This is so fascinating to me, as I studied Spanish when I was a child. It’s so innovative and uses so many different ways to get meaning across (like English txtspk, I suppose, which I also don’t know). It uses sound-alike words and numbers (100pre, from cien/siem; b7s from siete/sit…), letter names (bb, d2…), reduced pronunciation (y for ll), deleted consonants (asias), deleted vowels (msj, dfcl…), one letter to replace two (x for ch, w for gu, including the unSpanish k for c/qu…), English words and onomatopoeia (grrr)… It’s so creative! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Jennifer Verschoor permalink

    @Nina None of my students were able to understand the whole text message.<br>I found this interesting list of Text messaging and chat abbreviations <a href="; target="_blank"></a><br>Check this list of Spanish Cell Phone Abbreviations.<br>Cell phone abbreviations are far from standardized, but here are some of them you may come across or want to try using yourself:<br><br>100pre ??? siempre ??? always<br>a10 ??? adi??s ??? goodbye<br>a2 ??? adi??s ??? goodbye<br>ac ??? hace ??? (form of hacer)<br>aki ??? aqu?? ??? here<br>amr ??? amor ??? love<br>aora ??? ahora ??? now<br>asdc ??? al salir de clase ??? after class<br>asias ??? gracias ??? thanks<br>b ??? bien ??? well, good<br>bb ??? beb?? ??? baby<br>bbr ??? bbr ??? to drink<br>bs, bss ??? besos ??? kisses<br>bye ??? adi??s ??? goodbye<br>b7s ??? besitos ??? kisses<br>c ??? s??, se ??? I know; (reflexive pronoun)<br>cam ??? c??mara ??? camera<br>chao, chau ??? adi??s ??? goodbye<br>d ??? de ??? from, of<br>d2 ??? dedos ??? fingers<br>dcr ??? decir ??? to say<br>dew, dw ??? adi??s ??? goodbye<br>dfcl ??? dif??cil ??? difficult<br>dim ??? dime ??? tell me<br>dnd ??? d??nde ??? where<br>exo ??? hecho ??? act<br>ems ??? hemos ??? We have<br>ers ??? eres t?? ??? you are, are you<br>ers2 ??? eres t?? ??? are you<br>eys ??? ellos ??? they, you (plural)<br>grrr ??? enfadado ??? angry<br>finde ??? fin de semana ??? weekend<br>fsta ??? fiesta ??? party<br>hl ??? hasta luego ??? see you later<br>hla ??? hola ??? hello<br>iwal ??? igual ??? equal<br>k ??? que, qu?? ??? that, what<br>kbza ??? cabeza ??? head<br>kls ??? clase ??? class<br>kntm ??? cu??ntame ??? tell me<br>kyat ??? c??llate ??? Shut up.<br>KO ??? estoy muerto ??? I’m in big trouble.<br>km ??? como ??? as, like<br>m1ml ??? m??ndame un mensaje luego ??? Send me a message later.<br>mim ??? misi??n imposible ??? mission impossible<br>msj ??? msnsaje ??? message<br>mxo ??? mucho ??? a lot<br>nph ??? no puedo hablar ??? I can’t talk now.<br>npn ??? no pasa nada ??? nothing’s happening<br>pa ??? para, padre ??? for, father<br>pco ??? poco ??? a little<br>pdt ??? pi??rdete ??? get lost<br>pf ??? por favor ??? please<br>pls ??? por favor ??? please<br>pq ??? porque, porqu?? ??? because, why<br>q ??? que, qu.a ??? that, what<br>q acs? ??? ??Qu?? haces? ??? What are you doing?<br>qand, qando ??? cuando, cu??ndo ??? when<br>qdms ??? quedamos ??? we’re staying<br>q plomo! ??? ??Qu?? plomo! ??? What a drag!<br>q qrs? ??? ??Qu?? quieres? ??? What do you want?<br>q risa! ??? ??Qu?? risa! ??? What a laugh!<br>q sea ??? qu?? sea ??? whatever<br>q tal? ??? qu?? tal ??? What’s happening?<br>sbs? ??? ??sabes? ??? Do you know?<br>salu2 ??? saludos ??? hello, goodbye<br>sms ??? mensaje ??? message<br>spro ??? espero ??? I hope<br>tq ??? te quiero ??? I love you<br>tqi ??? tengo que irme ??? I have to leave<br>tas OK? ??? ??Est??s bien? ??? Are you OK?<br>tb ??? tambi??n ??? also<br>uni ??? universidad ??? university, college<br>vns? ??? ??Vienes? ??? Are you coming?<br>vos ??? vosotros ??? you (plural)<br>wpa ??? ??Guapa! ??? Sweet!<br>xdon ??? perd??n ??? sorry<br>xfa ??? por favor ??? please<br>xo ??? pero ??? but<br>xq ??? porque, porqu?? ??? because, why<br>ymam, ymm ??? ll??mame ??? call me<br>zzz ??? dormir ??? sleeping<br>+ ??? m??s ??? more<br>:) ??? feliz, alegre ??? happy<br>:( ??? triste ??? sad<br>+o- ??? m??s o menos ??? more or less<br>- ??? menos ??? less<br>:p ??? sacar lengua ??? tongue sticking out<br>;) ??? gui??o ??? wink

  4. Nina Liakos permalink

    So when Spanish speakers use text messaging, do they usually spell out all the words? I wonder how this plays out in other languages as well. In English, the consonants are paramount, the vowels not so much; we can often omit the vowels and still get the drift from the consonants + context. Hawaiian would be impossible (I think it has only 8 consonants sprinkled amidst myriads of vowels). Spanish has more consonants but I think they carry somewhat less meaning than English consonants do. Am I making this up?<br><br>Maybe there is another way to abbreviate written language that does not involve the omission of vowels.

  5. Maria Bossa permalink

    @Nina, I guess it’s a bit difficult to do txtspk in Spanish as it’s not as sound language as English, I hope you can get my idea. I’m not saying we cannot do it, I’m saying it’s a bit more complicated! 🙂

  6. Nina Liakos permalink

    Jennifer, your students may be digital natives but they are not native English speakers, so how could they understand that txtspk passage?<br><br>I’d love to see an example of txtspk in Spanish.

  7. Maria Bossa permalink

    You can try the following web site and see how funnt it is as far as txt sms!<br>

  8. Michael Shade permalink

    I oftn wrt txt msgs in wht I cl Hbrw – my sstr-in-lw sys its Arbc, bt thts lgcl, shs Mrccn, n Im Jwsh – no vwls xcpt wr absltly ncssry. Its nt rlly txtspk as usd by t stdnt in Mrk Pgrm’s artcl – I jst mk it up as I go alng, in an attmpt t rdc t nmbr o chrctrs n kp wthn t 160 lmt.

  9. Jennifer Verschoor permalink

    Great job Michael!! You have invented a new type of text message that is clear and quite easy to read. Thks fr ths.

  10. Erin permalink

    Thanks, Jennifer, for the text abbreviations in Spanish! I’d like to try to use them at some point with my Spanish II students.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: