SMS texting practices and communicative intention

Susana Sotillo


This study focuses on the predicate-argument structure of frequently used lexical verbs in the text messages of members of five SMS social networks. Using a text analysis tool, lexical verbs were identified, coded for semantic category, and tagged for analysis in a corpus of 31, 288 words. Three research questions are addressed in relation to lexical verb usage, structural simplification, recovery of implied argument, and achievement of communicative intention via mobile telephony. The results reveal that (1) predicate-argument structures determined by certain lexical verbs become simplified in text messages; (2) particular θ-roles assigned to particular arguments become implicit but are easily recovered; and (3) text messaging language constitutes a variety of naturally occurring language. It is possible that such language variations in use may bring about language change over time.