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© 2020, Department of General Linguistics, Stellenbosch University. All rights reserved. This article reports on research which examined whether the use of mobile phone text messaging is responsible for the reported presence of abbreviations in students’ written work at the University of Benin. I argue that the frequent use of short messaging service (SMS) abbreviations may not be attributed only to the reported increase in the use of abbreviations in the written work of students. Other factors, such as the purpose of the writing and the students’ state of mind, might also be determinants of whether students use abbreviations or not. The research was based on the analysis of a questionnaire distributed to final-year linguistics students of the University of Benin in 2015, during their regular classes at the main campus of the University of Benin. In total, 62 final-year students from the Department of Linguistics and African Studies at the University of Benin participated in the in-class survey. The professor of the students obtained ethical clearance and provided 72 notebooks, 126 written assignments and 85 examination scripts of the same students to the researcher for analysis and validation of their responses to the questionnaire. The analysis indicated that SMS abbreviations were carried over into students’ written classwork. However, one cannot categorically state that SMSs are the reason why students use abbreviations in their written work as widely reported because the evidence from this study does not support such a claim.

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