What is Squeeze text?
Squeeze text refers to the abbreviated spellings and emoticons that have evolved to facilitate sending text messages from mobile phones. The smallness of the mobile phone screen, and the awkwardness of using a phone keypad to enter letters, motivated people to find the briefest ways to express meaning in text.
Squeeze text is also known as chatspeak, txt, txtspk, texting language, txt talk, txt messaging (TM ) or simply SMS language. This style of language is also used in instant messaging. SMS language has evolved fundamentally because of the need to be succinct. Each SMS message can only contain 160 characters including spaces. It literally is a form of shorthand.
The language is hybrid. It employs linguistic features such as letters, numbers and symbols. It is a casual form of written language that often employs linguistic features of the spoken language in that the structure is simple, fragmented, concrete and conditional on the context. It could be described as spoken mode in a written medium
The term ‘semiotics’ in its simplest form stands for the ‘study of sign’ or the social manufacture of meaning by systems of signs and how things are given meaning. The contents of various messages or signs that exist all around us form the basis of semiotics. Semiotics investigates the way in which signs are arranged and fashioned and the medium in which these signs are transmitted and later interpreted. When discussing text-messaging language we are dealing directly with signs and messages and how each person interprets the language code received on their screens.
We can be clever at decoding letters to make sense of a message. For example:
“Accdrig to rsceearh at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t matter in what ordr the ltteers in a owr are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteers are in the rghit pclae. This is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the word as a wlohe. Ceeriho”
In SMS language ‘GR8’ means ‘great’. Though a user may or may not have learnt this sign, its meaning can be deduced when one recognises the strategies that are used to create squeeze text and acknowledges the shortcomings of limited space to compose a message. The reader may at times need to depend on context.
Squeeze text is also used in Instant Messaging.