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back to article British boffin named first ever 'doctor of texting'

A student at a British university has been awarded the first ever PhD in text messaging. Linguist Caroline Tagg - now Dr Caroline Tagg - spent more than three years at Birmingham University researching the subject of text messages and the language used within them. She trawled through 11,000 text messages sent by 235 people …

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FAIL

Maybe she can help me then...

I want to say "Who cares?", but in a devastating sledgehammer to the forehead sort of a way. I've ruled out:

"So what?"

"BFD"

"No one f*cking cares"

"What a complete waste of three years"

Any suggestions?

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Go

inserts

nice one :D

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Joke

hmm

Truly a cunning linguist then...

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Very useful, I'm sure.

D u wnt frs wth tht?

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Texting?

Next it'll be a PhD in going to the pub. Actually that'd do me nicely.

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wtf?

i pay my taxes for this frivolous crap? schools and universities compalin that they dont have the cash to teach basic courses like english and maths properly and yet they can use MY HARD EARNED MONEY for this bollocks? sign me up for revolution ive had enough

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OMG math skilz!

"She trawled through 11,000 text messages ... together containing 190,000 words."

"She concluded that the average text contains 17.5 words"

Maybe she should have consulted with a math student.

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I wonder if i can get a PHD

In commenting on the articles on "The Register"...

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Money well spent

As in title!!!

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WTF??

PhD in text messaging, well there you go Uni students, parents of Uni students and those who can't afford Uni; extortionate tution fees are entirely justified to create these pinnacles of educational excellence. Without groundbreaking achievements like these some people may have their feelings hurt upon the realisation that they can't do a real degree.

Mine's the one with the bachelors degree for colouring in and dribbling in the pocket

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WTF?

Good luck with that

Good luck finding a job with that PHD. Though I'm sure it will enable you to help some teen who can't understand their friends text while your taking his order at McDoonolds.

wd u lk fries W dat?

IGMC

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She must be book!

I'm glad to see that in these tight times, my taxes are being put to good use. What the HELL sort of Doctorate it that;

"Yes I'd like the job of head on Linguistics please... my qualifications, well I have this Doctorate in Texting... W-Why are you laughing??"

This is how I forsee every job interview she will ever take. Almost as pathetic as the First degree is stand-up comedy last week. SHE WASN'T EVEN FUNNY!!!

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u no wot...?

From a decent University that, which inclines me to believe this was actually a serious piece of linguistic research and not some joke doctorate from Scumbag College (who nearly beat Footlights College, Oxbridge on University Challenge dontchaknow).

Bugger. Have I seen through the implications of a carefully worded headline?! Mine's the one with a Nokia 6150 and no T5.

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Art of the bleeding obvious...

So texts are usual short and are done with words so use of language is encouraged.

Who'd've thunk it?

used to be that doctorates involved serious new research that opened new thought and avenues to explore...

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Pint

@Michael Miller

There are people who would say the same thing about a PhD in datamining, slightly brighter blue LED etc etc etc.

Just because it doesn't interest *you* doesn't mean it's not useful....

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Headmaster

Isn't Birmingham offering degree 2.0?

Thanks to Caroline for this nugget of wisdom:

"From her research she believes that texts are much more about maintaining and building relationships rather than passing on raw facts."

Well, fucking fancy that. Who'd have thought it? Or: the redundancy of much communication is a well-researched and understood area (in any university outside Birmingham). People send texts /twats / IRC to pretend they have real human relationships.

I hope she did a bit more that relatively trivial linguistic analysis for three years. An automatic Twat-O-Tron parser would have been useful, for a start.

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@ Michael Miller

'Meh.'?

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WTF?

good grammer + spelling??

take off predictive text then see if you have good grammer and spelling!!!

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Gotta use the time somehow

Well, if you consider that in the current economy, with its lack of jobs and glut of useless degrees, she'd probably have been unemployed for those three years, it was as good a use of her time as any and at least she kept her mind occupied.

I'd throw rocks at her supervisor for picking/approving the research topic and at her university for wasting a PhD degree. They don't grow on trees, you know!

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PhD

I should have a doctorate in smoking and drinking then, I studied it enough at university.

What an absurd waste of time and effort.

No wonder the Dr prefix doesn't get the same respect it used to.

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what!

atleast they can get a job at phones4u... sorry i mean phones for you

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Anonymous Coward

boffin

or just nosey ?

Will probably get a job at GCHQ reading our text messages !!!!

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TTLLY FCKNG PNTLSS

WHT SD PTHTC WNKR SPNDS 3 YEARS OF THEIR LF STDYNG TXT MSSGS SNT BY YOUNG ILLTRT MRNS

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WTF?

Ummm...

WTFO?

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well worth it

well done labour, you have successfully wasted 3 years of someone's life on a qualification that will hopefully hinder her employment opportunities.

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Pint

@Michael Miller

Tl;dr?

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Does it really help

If texting is helping the English language why in the final sentence of the story did someone feel the need to expand her comments for clarity?

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Wht a ld of bllcks

I hv a gnuin PhD & ths stry mks my bld boil. Giv ths prsn a GCSE & hve dun wth it.

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Megaphone

RE: Maybe she can help me then...

Following the "txt vrnclr", how's about "STFU, GTFO, GAFL"?

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Bah!

Finally, someone in the UK has siezed a crown from the Americans. About time!

Pity it was for the "Daft Doctorate" category, but you have to start somewhere I suppose.

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Stop

Ingee

It took her 3 years to find out the average length of a text message? ... Maybe Michael Miller (above) got it just right...

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Destroying the English language

"“Quite the contrary from"

i see what she means.

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WTF?

Not a Dr of Math obviously

Three years to work out the average number of words in a sample of text?!?

Next time try Total number of words / total number of messages... PHD please!

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Boffin

Career Opportunities

Probably eminently qualified to ask "wld u like frys w tht?"

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Huh?

Srly, this is all you have to do to get a PhD these days?

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WTF?!

ROFLMFAO ;)

Sez it al :e

Ahem. I'll get me coat ;)

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Another sign of the impending apocalypse?

I've got my tinfoil hat ready just in case!

Mines the one lined with lead and labeled "Don't Panic" in large, friendly letters...

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Headmaster

Dr Caroline Tagg

... or 'Er Caroline Vagi' as the predictive text on my phone suggests I name her.

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Wrong

“Quite the contrary from destroying the English [language], [text messaging] is actually encouraging it,”

No, it's destroying the English language, as more and more people lose the ability to spell and construct simple sentences, and more and more words become corrupted and used incorrectly.

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Not a complete waste of time

Next time some old fart starts ranting on about "young people nowadays" ... "modern technology" ... "desecrating the language of Shakespeare" or similar tosh in the Daily Mail or on Radio 4, at least we can tell them where to shove it in a scientific, evidence-based way.

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(Written by Reg staff)

@Leewok

I was wondering when someone would spot that. The unextended, ungrammatical quotation can be seen in the linked Telegraph piece.

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Joke

Her supervisor

According to the B'hamU web site: Professor Susan Hunston - Head of School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies.

Canadian Studies? Surely that's what Giles Wemmbley-Hogg took (at both Bristol and Durham "due to the most horrendous cock-up on my UCCA form").

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PhD

@:

james 68

Dan 21

Hollerith 1

Darren 4

Richard 120

Ryan 1986

Steve Jones 2

Shane 8

AC 4

Richard 20

Stuart 13

Are you sure you're not the same person? looks like it from the similar sentiments shared across multiple messages and the random numbers after generic names..

Anyway, did you consider that PhDs are not government funded? You can stop crying about your taxes now.

Seriously, take your whining to dailymail.co.uk

If this is what the universities want to spent their research grants on, or indeed if the post-grad student wants to fund it themselves, then let them.

@ Dan 21 specifically:

Did you consider that there are other types of average, other than the mean? It could well be the median or mode. Or in fact, for simplicity, she may have just rounded, or been working to significant figures.

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Give over you lot....

Ooooh look! it's media knee-jerk time again. And you're joining in like they want you to.

It's applied linguistics, get over it. Of course the journos want a rant, they're all upset that linguistics people know how to use longer words than they do.

Dr Tagg could hardly have done her PhD on linguistic metadata schemas or we'd all be giggling about nominative determinism.

Here's a list of linguistics papers from a conference, so we can see her work in some sort of context, missing from the journalistic version.

http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/publications/CL2007/

Article 242 An Investigation of General Extenders in a Corpus of EU Parliamentary Debates, (measuring "vagueness" to you and me)

Article #304 looks promising for another hack rant. "Mapping undergraduate culture using the personal Blog" also #306, The Difficulties in Collecting a Corpus of Genuine and Simulated Suicide Notes

Now stop being peasants and don't be nasty to people like these, or they'll all go off and get nicely paid jobs with GCHQ improving datamining techniques as per the other news story today.

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Pint

Wha???

Ok, I have questions. I RTFA over at the telegraph

"... allows its meaning to remain in tact but..." intact? probably a typo and not on her. But still,

"People deliberately use words like this when they don't need to." Ok, stop the bus, back it up... words like what??

If this is what qualifies as Piled High & Deep on that side of the pond deez daze, you have my sympatees. Take what comfort you can from knowing it isn't any betta on dis side. Perhaps it's a good thing we're all too lazy to get jiggy, more of the same clearly isn't working.

A pint, B cuz meeza nd 1.

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@Shane8

"take off predictive text then see if you have good grammer and spelling!!!"

It's grammar...

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The worrying thing is...

That she's probabaly so far up her own arse she's probabaly proud of it.

The positive aspect of this is that I can't imagine her getting any respect from anyone with a proper higher education so she'll end up working in a callcentre, just like all the other idiots who went for style over substance when choosing their "cool" degrees. Either that or she'll end up working for Apple as they love a bit of style over substance.

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Gates Horns

@Tony

I cannot let the injustice continue. While acknowledging Leewok's fine work, what of Jon 44's closely worded, and more to the point, earlier effort?

Putting that right has been exactly 17.5 times more valuable than Dr Tagg's thesis.

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Universities love these courses

"Media studies" etc. Easy to find lecturers (just ask any burger-flipper at McD). Easy to find students (lazy bastards who want a cruisy time while at university). Easy to assign homework(watch a couple of hours of TV and write a report on how many times there are food ads). Extra credits if you submit your report in text-speak or CtlC CtlV it directly from a blog, or send it in via twitter. No expensive equipment.

Degrees that actually help the economy, engineering and the like, are pretty much the opposite. Hard to find lecturers (they are all gainfully employed). Hard to find students (few have the qualifications & skills needed). Hard to assign and mark homework (need to read all those maths workings etc). Expensive equipment.

Now that many universities get their funding based on performance (measured by number of students they have, and the number of grads they crank out), no wonder they push the easy option

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Thesis length?

Normally, the quality of a thesis is measured by weight, but I assume hers was just 140 characters...

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