If you found the title hard to read, you’ve just proved a new study right! New research has shown that a heavily abbreviated text message (SMS) takes twice as long to understand than a fully spelt out message. But typing out such an abbreviated message saves the sender only a few seconds. The study led by University of Tasmania psychology lecturer Dr Nenagh Kemp has shown that many common abbreviations were hard to be deciphered or was misinterpreted.
She asked students to write as many abbreviations as possible in five minutes and then read a series of shortened messages.
The most common abbreviations were the easily understood 2, 4, c and u, while the difficult ones included ttyl (talk to you later), bbs (be back soon), pu (pick up) and cn (seeing you soon).
"Though it was quicker to write a message with abbreviations than conventional English, it took twice as long to read and many students made interpretation errors," News.com.au quoted Kemp as saying.
"These were second and third year students who use textisms all the time," she added.
The study also showed that most people were inconsistent with their use of abbreviations, forgetting to shorten words.
"Abbreviation started due to the small mobile screen and limited number of characters but has now become a genre of writing," she said.
The researchers suggest that texters should limit their abbreviation use to friends.
"People can pretty much understand these messages within their own community of friends because they develop a repertoire of abbreviations."
"Sometimes it can be quite difficult to understand when communicating with other people and it becomes more inefficient.
"It is fine if you are in a rush. But if you are writing an essay... use proper English," she added.