20th February 2018


that people change the way they type according to who they are texting.

language is an amazing thing. it is what sets us apart from all other species on earth. the ability to convey original and second-hand information is what has allowed us to diversify and expand beyond anything we could have dreamed to achieved without it. but language is so much more than that, it is an ever-changing organism that evolves through the ages and is reworked according to where when and who, it is a form of self-expression and has the ability to hold many layers of meaning. there is no doubt that how you chose to use language can make or break just about any situation, so it being able to switch from formal to friendly to spiteful, to formal again just by the words you chose can be very useful.

another phenomenon of language is that some times people change the way they talk/right according to who they are talking to or who is intended to read the information. we do this in many ways and it can occur due to a number of reasons but what i am interested to find out is if this adaptation is present in a more modern form of communication: texting, and if it is than why we use it.


one of these adaptations is something called mirroring. mirroring is a tool that one uses to feel connected to someone else, usually without knowing they are doing it. it can be done by changing ones accent, using different words or changing the speed of which you talk. the effect of this is a feeling of intimacy and a subtle display of affection. by mirroring someones accent or way of talking one can feel closer and better understood, it is a way to close invisible rifts between people and to convey mutual respect, dislike or any other kind of emotional response a person might harbour. an example of mirroring would be an employee standing up strate and making eye contact with an employer as they do the same. this interaction would show the nature of their relationship (which would be formal and professional) and also displays reciprocal respect, were as if the employee slouched and was giving intermittent eye contact this would show disapproval or apprehension while still being formal and polite. it could mean that the employer had done something to disappoint or frighten the employee. 

when looking at my text messages I realised that I do this with quite a lot of people, the most obvious of which being my dad. he has quite a unique style of texting; he uses many full stops between his statements, like “Hey.. Don’t forget skateboard and wetsuit…. See you tomorrow!!!..xxx”. I like his way of texting, it is visually pleasing and makes it easy to see when he has changed subject. over time I have noticed that I text in a similar way but only when I am texting him. this proves that mirroring can and is carryed over and put to use in texting. I would even go as far to say that mirroring is esayer to do then texting because unlike in a verbal conversation one can see all that has been said even after the individual has said it. this means that, although the paraliguistic feathers would be hard to replicate the typing style would be easy to pick up on. when you think about it is quite amazing that we have transferred this tendency into texting. no matter if it is conitouse or subcontiose this is a wonderful modification that once again proves just how adaptable we humans are.


when you first meet a person you tend to act in a polite and formal manner. this is because behavior like that is widely recognised as good and instantly portrays you as a nice person, but once we get to know people better we can afford to act with a little more animation and to be ourselves instead of just doing what we think is necessary. a lot can be deduced about someone by listening to them talk so it is good that we are able to change our speaking patterns according to the relationship we have with the one we are talking to. it means we can decide how much we want people to know about us. changing the level of formality you apley is also something that can be used in texting. we often change how we text from using emoticons, homophones and repeated letters to punctuation, and capitals in the correct places as quickly as we might go from using slang with our friends to speaking clear and direct with an elder or someone else who demands respect.

I do this quite a lot when I text. for example I might text my friend “r u gonna pick me up????” where as I would text my grandma “are you going to pick me up?”. I do this because when I text my grandma I don’t think she would understand the homophones that I used and because my relationship with my grandma is not as casual as the one I have with my friend. the way I text also very depending on whether my correspondent is well known to me or is a stranger or if I like that person or not. it is astounding how much you can tell about a person’s relationship with another person by looking at how they text, and its all thanks to the fact that we change the way we type according to who we are texting…




paragraph 1: change to be the same as the person you are texting.

paragraph 2: change to different level of formality according to person you are texting.

paragraph 3: change the words and phrases you use.

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Ava, this hypothesis will work well. What I would like you to explore as you do your analysis is the reasons why you think we do make these changes when we text people with whom we have different relationships.

  2. Your introductory paragraph is a thing of beauty. The job now is to develop a greater level of integration between the – almost lyrical – writing of the opening paragraph and the analysis that follows.

    This means that I encourage you to include some of this expressive exposition of your ideas in the body paragraphs too – particularly the topic sentences. For example you might initiate a body paragraph with words like: “One of these nuanced layers of meaning that can be seen in spoken communication is mirroring. This has a wide range of effects on communication and forms a strong strand via which the communication of the relationship between two speakers can be conveyed” (I’m sure you could put this better)

    Does this make sense?

  3. It would be wrong of me to ignore the fact that there are some small mechanical issues with the paragraphs that you’re writing. One of the main ones is the missing capital letters at the beginning of sentences and paragraphs. The interesting thing about this is that, while the writing is often vibrant and precise and all the things that it needs to be, sometimes it’s quite hard to understand simply because the punctuation markers that I need to fully understand it aren’t present.


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