Just Text Me: The Preliminary Results of a Text Message Corpus Compilation Pilot Project

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This paper reports the preliminary theoretical, methodological and analytical results of a text-message corpus compilation pilot project. 756 naturally occurring text-messages were collected via a web survey from an international convenience sample of 203 individuals. In addition to providing demographic information, answering the open-ended-question, “For you, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of communicating via text-messages,” and discussing their text-use patterns, participants provided verbatim transcripts of recent incoming and outgoing text-message communications, a context elaboration for each message, as well as all relevant metadata about their messages (ex. time and date sent/received, relationship to the sender/receiver, demographic information about sender/receiver, etc.). Qualitative analysis of the communicative intent (ex. task orientation v. relationship maintenance, etc.) of each message is currently underway, as is a corpus linguistic analysis of the sociolinguistic patterns of language use (ex. “UR” vs. “you’re/your”) within the text-message corpus. The hope is to minimally refine the method of data collection, improve sampling procedures for greater representativeness, and maximize ongoing participant recruitment efforts in order to develop an open-source diachronic corpus of naturally occurring text-messages so that researchers may track changes in the communicative intent and changes in language use patterns in text-messages over time. Complimentary copies of the pilot corpus will be provided for non-publication research and classroom use. Ideas and collaborations will be sought. You may contribute your text-messages to the survey at: http://survey.oit.pdx.edu/ss/wsb.dll/79/textmessagecorpuscollectionpilot.htm


Keywords: Text-Messages, Short Message Service, SMS, Cell Phone Communication, Mobile Phone Communication, Corpus Linguistics, Mixed-Methods Research
Stream: Human Technologies and Usability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Wynde Dyer

Graduate Student / Graduate Teaching Instructor, Department of Communication Studies, Portland State University
Portland, Oregon, USA

During my first career as a photojournalist I returned to school for a piece of paper, a diploma, a ticket to a better job, etc. What I found instead, or should I say in addition to, was a passion for teaching and research. I am currently a graduate teaching instructor at Portland State University where I will hopefully someday finish, or should I say ‘officially’ start, my thesis so I can at last complete my M.S. in Communication Studies with emphasis areas in Social Science Research Methods, Language and Social Interaction in Mediated Contexts, and Pedagogy. Although my passion for research truly lies more in the methods themselves than in any particular research focus, my research interests focus on what I call ‘technologically mediated interpersonal communication’ and the language used in and social phenomena found in such contexts as social networking sites, internet dating venues, online classrooms, discussion groups, bulletin boards, and so on. Though I am no longer a cell phone owner, my primary research interest is mobile communication and the implications cell phones have on our experience of the world.

Ref: T08P0258