When I visited South Africa (and Russia to a lesser extend) I found myself
Cellphone illiterate - people sent me messages (a lot of jokes but even
poetry sometimes) that I had trouble to read and I could not reply.
Cellphone literacy seems a phenomenon less known in US because people here
use email more than cellphone messages. I wish I saved messages to me from
local people in South Africa and Russia. Sometimes it took me hours to
understand the messages while local people could read them fluently. I
wonder how instant messaging is similar and different to cellphone literacy.
I think literacy researchers should focus on this interesting new
What do you think?
From: Tony Whitson [mailto:twhitson@UDel.Edu]
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2004 3:06 PM
Subject: [UD-PIG] Cellphone literature
THE EXAMINED LIFE
By Joshua Glenn, Globe Staff, 2/1/2004
IT WAS A FRENCHMAN who once had the brilliant idea to mine the ape-speak
dictionary in Edgar Rice Burroughs's "Tarzan" for a series of erotic poems
titled "The Great-Ape Love Song." Small wonder, then, that the first book
written entirely in the equally exotic text-messaging tongue should also
hail from France.
On Wednesday, the Agence France Presse news service reported that author
Phil Marso has published (on paper) an antismoking novella for teenagers
called "Pa Sage a Taba" (Not Wise to Smoke), composed in the jambalaya of
abbreviations, slang, and neologisms that teens worldwide use to send each
other text messages online and via cellphone. In English, for example, 2moro
is "tomorrow" and YYSSW is "Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever." So in Marso's
book, when a detective asks the villain, "6 j t'aspRge d'O 2 kologne histoar
2 partaG le odeurs ke tu me fe subir?", what he's actually saying (in
translation) is, "What if I spray you with cologne so you can share the
smells you make me suffer?" A glossary of terms is included.
Marso, who admits that his book may "annoy the guardians of the French
language," says he wrote the book as a public service announcement.
Paradoxically, he has also worked to raise awareness of cellphone abuse. As
he points out, since 2001 he has been the organizer of an annual "Day
Without Mobile Phones" in France.
C Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
C <http://www.boston.com/help/bostoncom_info/copyright> Copyright 2004 The
New York Times Company
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