Predicting Text Messaging Style in the Philippines - A Sociolinguistic Analysis

This study found that over time and constant communication, texters developed a unique Filipino style of texting. It also found that the texters' age, sex and work were main predictors of texting style.

Defining the Filipino Texter and Texting Style: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Text Messaging in the Philippines

Ms. Mildred Rojo-Laurilla
De La Salle University


The study aimed at understanding and explaining the sociolinguistic dynamics of text messaging (texting or SMS) within the Philippine context. Using the theoretical framework of Hymes (1974) - the ethnography of speaking, the Filipino texters' text messages were described in terms of:

(1) setting
(2) participants' sociodemographic characteristics, texting, profile, perceptions about texting and the co-texters' profile
(3) ends
(4) act sequences particularly topic and turn taking
(5) key particularly code switching and abbreviation patterns, politeness and speech acts
(6) instrumentality
(7) norms of interpretation and interaction
(8) genre.

Using multiple regression analysis, it was revealed that the texters' age, sex and work were predictors of texting style. In terms of the discourse features, certain politeness markers, role, topics, speech acts and co-texter texting styles were also predictors of texting style. Perception and texting profile were weak predictors of Filipino texting style.

The study also proposes a sociolinguistic communication model of communication. The model shows the shared fields of experience of the texters and co-texters through symbolic interaction, as realized by constant communication over time (via texting) that allowed them to participate fully in the texting culture. What these texters and co-texters share in common are the same interpretations of the linguistic or discourse markers thus, producing a unique Filipino texting style.