Imagine being a school teacher and being handed an essay that read: "My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :- kids FTF. ILNY, it's a gr8 plc." (In more commonly recognisable English: "My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It's a great place.") This was the case for one Scottish teacher in 2003.
If Shakespeare had grown up surrounded by mobile phone culture, imagine how differently Romeo and Juliet, for instance, could have read:
Rather than panic at the linguistic desecration that the mobile phone offers, I’d rather focus on the flourish of creativity that is evident in both developing (and understanding!) the SMS language of mobile phones UK and abroad.
For instance, rendering non-Roman alphabets into Roman script text messages on mobile phones has encouraged a sort of obscure though logical creativity. In Japan, gyaru-moji (“gal’s alphabet”) incorporates Roman characters that resemble hiragana, katakana and kanji in appearance, but not in sound. This means that the hiragana for “ke” is written “Lt”, but is not pronounced as “lt”. A similar approach is taken in Russian, where the symbol for “ch” is written as the similarly-shaped “4”. So, say you wanted to meet your friends at popular St. Petersburg nightclub Dacha, you could just write it as “da4a”.
Numbers are commonly used to represent words according to sounds. Just like the “2moro” form for “tomorrow” in English, the French have “2m1” for “demain” as the sounds correspond to the numbers. The humble mobile phone offers a new outlet of creativity across the globe – in 160 characters or less!