The nature of SMS discourse: The case of Hebrew

Esther Borochovsky-Bar-Aba*, Yafit Kedmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Short-message service (SMS) discourse, a type of computer-mediated discourse, is a mix of written and spoken language. In this article we show that SMS language is indeed similar to the spoken and written languages, but also differs from them. We provide a description of the salient lexical and grammatical characteristics of Hebrew SMS discourse and analyze its properties by comparing three 18,000-word corpora; one of spoken language, the other of written language, and the third of SMS language. The production characteristics of SMS discourse force senders to shorten their utterances, which sometimes causes their messages to be incompatible with the normative grammar, while at the same time they may contain high-register characteristics. Additionally, the style and lexicon of SMS messages are affected by their limited content: they convey directions, everyday questions, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalFolia Linguistica
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Electronic language
  • SMS discourse
  • SMS language


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