Thursday 22 February 2018

Confused by txt tlk? This young scientists may have the answer

Aishling Phelan

TWO young students from Cork believe they can combat the confusion mobile phone users experience when people send them messages with ‘‘text talk.’’

Aoife Ni Bhroin (15) and Soluna Ville (16) from Schull Community College in Cork wanted to understand how well people can interpret abbreviations and symbol emotions during texting.

‘‘From talking to people our age, we found that there is a lot of confusion when messages are interpreted which can lead to fights and bickering even within friend groups,’’ Aoife said.

‘‘Text talk’’ analysed why and how the confusion occurred when using various text talk and provided solutions to make texting language much easier.

‘‘The first part was a survey to see how well students in first and fifth year in our school could identify different emotions within texts,’’ she said.

It appears girls are better at interpreting text language as the students found that just 27 per cent of male answers were correct and 37 per cent of female answers were correct. 

‘‘So in general it’s very low but females were still 10 per cent better,’’ the student added.

Studies show that females are better at identifying emotions face to face and the school science project proved that this was the case via text also.

Aoife Ni Bhroin (15) and Soluna Ville (16) at the Young Scientist Exhibition. Photo: Mark McConville
Aoife Ni Bhroin (15) and Soluna Ville (16) at the Young Scientist Exhibition. Photo: Mark McConville

The pair also created a list of 105 commonly used text abbreviations and acronyms along with 30 different emotions or smileys.

They asked the students in their school to identify what each meant and just 39 per cent of answers were correct.

Females came out on top again with 45 per cent of the correct answers being male and 55 per cent being female.

The science duo has now created a website called ‘‘Txt-tlk’’ which is an online text language dictionary.

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