OMG! Are you ‘textlexic’ LOL? Six in 10 adults admit they can’t understand abbreviations in text messages

OMG! Are you ‘textlexic’ LOL? Six in 10 adults admit they can’t understand abbreviations in text messages:

  • Initials confuse many phone users, survey finds

  • Fears that written English standards may decline

Millions of ‘textlexic’ Britons are unable to understand the abbreviations sent to them in phone messages, research suggests.

Six in 10 adults admit they have received a message which left them baffled, thanks to the ever-growing dictionary of initials and phrases.

Even people in powerful positions can become confused, as became clear when David Cameron told the Leveson Inquiry that he believed ‘LOL’ stood for ‘lots of love’. It actually stands for ‘laugh out loud’.

‘Textlexic’: Six in 10 adults in Britain admit they have received a text message which left them baffled because of the abbreviations it contained. A survey of 1,000 adults found that many were aware of ‘LOL’ and ‘C U L8R’, which means ‘see you later’.

Many now use text shorthand in all forms of writing, from emails to status updates on websites such as Facebook. Some over-50s are slipping the odd ‘BTW’ (‘by the way’) or ‘IMHO’ (‘in my humble opinion’) into their emails, the research for online security firm SecurEnvoy showed.

But four in 10 adults fear the practice has become so common that children are not learning how to write English correctly.

Text language, like using ‘4’ instead of ‘for’ or ‘OMG’ for ‘oh my God’, developed when the earliest mobile phones only allowed 160 characters on a text.

Although that restriction no longer exists, Twitter has a 140-character limit and many use textspeak in all forms of written communication today as if it was a normal part of language.

SecurEnvoy boss Andy Kemshall said: ‘A quarter of the population tend to use text words rather than normal English. ‘It shows the impact that texting and the mobile phone has had on society. The tendency to shorten words has stuck around.

‘Given that 60 per cent have received a text that they didn’t understand because it contained text speak, perhaps it is a worrying trend and a source of confusion and miscommunication.’


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