Chat Language and the Challenges of Students in Written Composition

Dorathy Ijeoma Chijioke, Michael Alozie Nwala


With the prevalence of the internet and social network platforms in this digital age, most people opt for text messages as a fast and convenient means of communication and prefer real-time online chats to face-to-face social interactions. The cyber language is replete with writing errors that are not conventionally acceptable in academic writing and which can impede comprehension in some cases. As teenage participation in this new media increases, this study investigated the impact of chat language on the written composition of senior secondary school students who are prospective candidates for O’level and or A’level examinations. Data were generated from the students’ written essay scripts and analysed using Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar as the theoretical framework. The study adopted the quantitative and qualitative research methods in which 842 senior secondary 2 and 3 (SS2 and SS3) students of selected schools in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, are the population. The result revealed that online chat language and text-based messages mostly affect students’ writings in mechanical accuracy and expression. The study therefore recommended that the negative effects of the social media on the students’ writings should be checked in schools.


Texting, online chatting, composition, effective writing

Full Text:



Abati, R. (2016). Social media and the English language. The Guardian online newspaper, 25th May, 2016. Retrieved 3rd August, 2018.

Aichner, T. & Jacob, F. (2015). Measuring the degree of corporate social media use. International Journal of Market Research 57(2).

Akanbi, M. & Akanbi, A. (2014). Influence of social media usage on self image and academic performance among senior secondary students in Ilorin West LGA, Kwara State. International Resource Journal. Pure Applied Physics pp 42-50.

Asema, E. S.; Okpanachi, R. A. & Edogoh, L. (2013). Influence of social media in the academic performance of the undergraduate students of Kogi State University, Anyigba, Nigeria. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences 3(12).

Ayodele, A.; Mosunmola,A.; Senanu, O.; Gbenga.A. & A.deronke O. (2015). Social networking and student’s academic performance: The role of attention deficit predictors of behaviour and academic competence. International conference on African development issues (CU – ICADI): Information and communication technologytrack.

Badri, M.; Al Nuaimi, A., Yang, G. & Al Rashedi, A. (2017). School performance, social networking effect a and learning of school children: Evidence of reciprocal relationships in Abu Dhabi. Telematics and informatics.

Bamgbose, G. (2018). The influence of social media on the English language in Nigeria. The Nigerian Voice, 3rd April, 2018. Retrieved 20th May, 2018.

Baron, N. (1984). Computer mediated communication as a force in language change. Visible Language.

Bodomo, A. (2010). Computer-mediated communication for linguistics and literacy. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Carter, R. (1992). Vocabulary: Applied linguistics perspectives. London: Routledge.

Chiluwa, I. (2015). Computer-mediated discourse. In Ikenna Kamalu and Isaac Tamunobelema (Eds.). Issues in the study of language and literature: Theory and practice. Ibadan: Kraft Books Limited.

Colomb, G.G., & Simutis, J.A. (1996). Visible conversation and academic inquiry: CMC in a culturally diverse classroom. In S. Herring (Ed.). Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 203-222.

Craig, D. (2003). Instant messaging: The language of youth literacy. The Boothe Prize Essays pp. 116-133. Source: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.

Crystal, D. (2001). Language and the internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. (2006). Language and the internet. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eko, E. (1987). Effective writing. Ibadan: Hienemann.

Ghanney, R. A., Antwi, T. & Agyeman, E. A. (2017). The effects of social media on literacy development among pupils in junior high schools in Ghana. The Advances in Social Sciences and Research 4(16).

Glen, S. (2014). Social media and writing style. Blog post. April 2, 2014. https//explorations of Retrieved 23rd September, 2018.

Herring, S. (2001). Computer-mediated discourse. In Deborah Tannen, Heidi E. Hamilton and Deborah Schiffrin (Eds.). The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Blackwell.

Herring, S. C. & Androutsopoulos, J. (2015). Computer-mediated discourse 2.0. In Deborah Tannen, Heidi E. Hamilton and Deborah Schiffrin (Eds.). The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. (2nd ed.). John Wesley & Sons Inc.

Herring, S. C.; Scheidt, L.A.; Bonu, S. & Wright, E. (2005). Weblogs as a bridging genre. Information technology and people

Hornby, A, S, (2015). Oxford advanced learners dictionary of current English. New 8th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Iro, S. & Mohammed, S.B. (2014). The impact of social networks on ESL undergraduate students’ writing in Nigeria. Arts and Social Sciences Journal 5(69).

Ko, K. (1996). Structural characteristics of computer-mediated language: A comparative analysis of InterChange discourse. The Electronic Journal of Communication 6(3).

Lind, A. (2012). Chat language – In the continuum of speech and writing. School of language and literature, English linguistics, Linnæus University.

Mphalele, M. & Meshamaite, K. (2005). The impact of short message service (sms) language on language proficiency of learners and the sms dictionaries: A challenge for educators and lexicographers. In proceeding the IADIS international conference. Google Scholar.

Murray, D. (1985). Composition as conversation: The computer terminal as medium of communication. In L. Odell and D. Goswami (Eds.). Writing in non-academic settings. New York: Guilford.

Ndaku, A. J.; Negussie, N. & Katema, G. (2013). Impact of the social media on students’ academic performance: Relationship between Facebook practice and academic performance of university students. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 2(2) pp. 1-7.

Ojo, B. J. & Umera-Okeke, P.N. (2007). College writing skills. Ibadan: Royal Edge Global Concepts Ltd.

Ooi, V.B.Y. (2002). Aspects of computer-mediated communication for research in corpus linguistics. In P. Peters, P. Collins and A. Smith (Eds.). New frontiers of corpus research. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi.

Osuafor, C. (1998). Aspects of writing for specialized and general studies. Owerri: Great Versatile Publishers Ltd.

ScienceDaily (2014). Could texting and autocorrect affect kids’ writing skills? University of Alabama at Birmingham. Retrieved 23rd September, 2018.

Van Dijk, C.N.; Van Witteloostuijn, M.; Vasi, N.; Avrutin, S. & Blom , E. (2016). The influence of texting language on grammar and executive functions in primary school children. Philip Allen (Ed.). Plos One 11(3):e015209. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.015209

Wood, C.; Kemp, N. & Waldron, S. (2014). Exploring the longitudinal relationships between the use of grammar in text messaging and performance on grammatical tasks. Behavioural Journal of Developmental Psychology. Pp 419-29

Yamane, T. (1967). Statistics: An introductory analysis. Second edition. New York, NY: Harper and Row.


Copyright (c) 2020 Celt: A Journal of Culture, English Language Teaching & Literature

| pISSN (print): 1412-3320 | eISSN (online): 2502-4914 | web
analytics View My Stats