Woman Gets PhD in Texting

Philosophy thesis is first on text message communication
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2009 7:57 PM CDT
Woman Gets PhD in Texting
Doug Klinger pauses to send a text message while being photographed at Good Impressions Inc., Wednesday, April 22, 2009, in Stevens, Pa.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A British graduate student has earned a PhD in texting—an academic first, Discover magazine reports. Caroline Tagg’s doctorate, more specifically, is in the philosophy of texting communication. Tagg studied 11,000 texts from 235 people over four years. Among the findings: The average text is 17.5 words, texters often include features of conversational spoken language like “oh,” “erm,” and “dunno" even though they add unneccessary keystrokes, and they use fewer abbreviations than you'd think.

“Not many people use abbreviations,” Tagg tells the Telegraph. “People use playful manipulation and metaphors. It is a playful language. Not only are they quite creative, it is also quite expressive.” She called the research "enlightening" even if not all the texts were scintillating. One example: "Hi. I know you are at work but I just wanted you to know I found my pen lid.”
(Read more text message stories.)

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