RE: Cellphone literature

From: Eugene Matusov (
Date: Mon Feb 02 2004 - 16:34:56 PST

Dear Mike-

Did you read the article below?

It is cellphone LITERACY that I meant - not mastery of using cellular
phones. I think this literacy (see for the examples in the article below)
is closer to graffiti literacy because of it's condense and multilayer

What do you think?

PS I know that some xmca-ers, including Mike, prefer to cut messages and do
not provide history of exchanges. Although having a tail of exchanges can be
annoying at times, I think this practice of cutting is problematic as this
exchange shows.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Cole []
> Sent: Monday, February 02, 2004 7:15 PM
> To:
> Cc:;;;
>; ksetil@UDel.Edu
> Subject: Re: FW: [UD-PIG] Cellphone literature
> Vince Raphael has written on the role of texting in recent Phillipine
> political life.
> Although I have written and taught on "film literacy" and participated
> in research where the term "computer literacy" is widely used, all
> metaphorical extensions of the term, literacy, have their problems. Cell
> phone literacy (minus texting) can be replaced by the term "competence
> in the use of cell phones." (Or am I wrong about that?) In so far as
> some term like competence substitutes for literacy, the use of the term
> looses value, or sneaks in some values of its own, unawares.
> mike

Dear everybody-


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 To: UD-PIG Subject: [UD-PIG] Cellphone literature ure


Cellphone literature 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 Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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