When using one period in a text message, it’s perceived as less sincere, overly formal, stilted, and not genuine. A period in texts might be interpreted as a signal of an unfriendly end of discussion. This is the feature of situational code-switching: we change the way we talk depending on the context where the conversation takes place.
Text Messaging is a conversation that involves back-and -forth, people add fillers as a way to mimic spoken language
Texting is a nonverbal, context-depended conversation. Unlike face-to-face conversation, texting doesn’t have much social cues such as eye contact, facial expression, tone of speaking and pauses. A study found out that text users can't practice those mechanisms when they are texting. So it makes sense that text users rely on what they have available to them — emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, and punctuation.
In texting, the best way to end a sentence may be by not punctuating it at all. It’s acceptable to just let it dangle. A report shows that over 70 percentage of texters seldom use periods in texting because a period gives a certain air of finality to a statement. In fact, without periods, the message feels much more open-ended.
Writing language becomes more flexible with texting possessing its own set of stylistic norms
With all the things out there when seeing a period at the end of a text message, why is it shown insincerity? The answer might have something to do with the term used by linguist John J. Gumperz: “situational code-switching,” which means we changed the way we talk depending on the situation, who are we talking to, and how are we communicate.
The most common example is the way we speak in a presentation versus talking to friends on the street. In many cases, people will choose to use the formal language rather than hanging out with peers because it’s the typical way. But when you chose to use the formal language to communicate with yours friends on the street, it then created a distant feeling in the conversation.
The use of period is just one of the example of situational code-switching. Using a period in a text messaging is like using formal language on the street with friends. It always perceived as overly formal and can created insincere or awkward feeling.
The repetition of letters or punctuation marks adds sincerity in text messaging
Another example of language change in casual written form is the repetition of letter and exclamation marks. Communication scholar Erika Darics had observed that the repetition of letters or punctuation marks can add intensity to messages, (“Let’s Gooo!!!!”). She indicates that this created a display of informality through using relaxed writing style.
DUDE I AM SO SO SORRY! I thought you were behind us!!! I am soooo sorry man! Catch another cab and ill pay it for youuu
As you can see this text message doesn’t have any period at the end, instead the person used the non-standard long vowels in a certain words and some exclamation marks to emphasized this person’s urgency of fervently apologizing to his or her friend.
Using text language increase students' learning ability and literacy
As the popularity of texting continues to grow, people started to worry that if texting will affect their writing ability. Media like LA Times, the BBC, and The Daily Mail have been debating whether texting or using overly casual language can ruin one’s writing ability.
However, researches have shown that texting wont have effect in one’s ability to write but can be helpful for some other circumstances. Researches shown that a person’s ability to code-switch can signal social competency, affirm a person’s sense of identity or membership in a community, and may be an indicator of high intellectual ability in students.
As a matter of fact, many educators have introduced lessons about formal and informal writing, which can help the students identify the use of different style of language in certain situations. Instead of ignoring the merge of variation of written language, try to embrace the change in language and people’s ability to code-switch. It can improve our communication skills in all contexts