SMS language is English language slang, used as a means of mobile phone text
messaging. This practice may impact on the written language skills of learners at
school. The main aim of this study was to determine the perspectives of Grade 8 and
9 English (as Home Language) educators in Gauteng regarding the possible influence
of SMS language on certain aspects of learners’ written language skills. If
an influence was perceived by the educators, their perceptions regarding the degree
and nature of the influence were also explored. A quantitative research design,
utilising a questionnaire, was employed. The sample of participants comprised 22
educators employed at independent secondary schools within Gauteng, South Africa.
The results indicated that the majority of educators viewed SMS language as having
a negative influence on the written language skills of Grade 8 and 9 learners. The
influence was perceived as occurring in the learners’ spelling, punctuation, and
sentence length. A further finding was that the majority of educators address the
negative influences of SMS language when encountered in written tasks.
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