Millions and millions of text-messages are sent everyday worldwide. Its use is so common that the SMS form of shorthand English has entered the language's most respected dictionary, parts of the Bible have been rewritten in SMS, and now people are even writing poetry this way. Now it is your turn to see if you can become the Shakespeare of the text-message.
Mobile phone users have made an impression on the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). A glossary full of abbreviations used by SMS text-messengers has entered the revised edition of the concise OED. More than 200 billion text-messages were sent by GSM (Global System of Mobile communications) in 2002. As we described in our 4/2001 edition, a new form of shorthand English has emerged to quicken the sending of these messages.
"The OED editors felt that the influence of SMS text-messages made it worthy of treating them as an integral part of English," says Judy Pearsall, publishing manager at the OED. The dictionary has included phrases, expressions and terms commonly used by the text-messenger in English. Along with expressions such as GR8 (great), BBLR (be back later) and HAND (have a nice day), emoticons such as the 'smiley' :-) are in fashion, and included in the OED.
SMS spreads the word
Christians have even rewritten parts of the Bible in the spelling and form of the text-message to help "spread the word". The results can be seen in a book published in 2002 called r father in hvn: up 2 d8 txts frm d bible (Our Father in Heaven: up-to-date texts from the Bible). Simon Jenkins, the editor of the Christian webzine Ship-of-Fools.Com had the idea for the book after reading about a German pastor who preached a sermon to young people by sending them text-messages.
"More and more Christians are using mobile phones to send friends brief meditations, prayers and spiritual encouragement," he said. "We saw an opportunity to make the Bible accessible to today's youth culture, so we re-wrote parts of it for a generation that rarely goes to church."
And now the SMS has been turned into poetry. Britain's Guardian newspaper recently ran a competition to see who can write the best poetry in SMS form. The winner was announced in December, and was written by Emma Passmore, a television researcher from London.
I left my pictur on
d ground wher u walk
So that somday, if d sun was
& d rain didn't wash
u might c mi out of
d corner of yr i
& pic mi up
Which of course, in proper English, would look like this:
I left my picture on
the ground where you walk
So that someday, if the sun was just right,
And the rain didn't wash
You might see me out of
the corner of your eye,
And pick me up.
And here is another example of the text-message turned into poetry:
If a kiss woz a raindrop
id send you showers
If a hug woz a second
id send you hours
If smiles were water
id send you d c
+if luv woz a person
id send u me
But do you think that you could do better than that? If so, then write a love poem in the shorthand of SMS and send it in to us. The top three entries will win a super prize!!!
To help you create the perfect SMS love poem we have included a special little SMS glossary. Remember, there are no rules when writing text-messages. Consequently, you can be inventive. Letters can become words, and phonetic spelling is best as this shortens words. So, use this glossary as a guide but try, too, to create your own way of writing English on your mobile phone keypad.