OET-like grammar challenges, similar to those in Reading Part C and Writing, found after the text.
The first text message, “Merry Xmas”, was sent on 3 December 1992. By 2007, texts had outstripped the number of phone calls per month (Rebtel). With all the amazing things our smartphones do for us nowadays, there is one thing we will always need them for and that is communication. Smart gadgets have changed the way and “language” of our communication even as they help us to stay connected to others. And the most popular way of keeping in touch with one another is of course through text messaging. Most recently, the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic pushed texting to become the best way to communicate (besides voice and video calls, but that’s a topic for another blog!).
Now, we can’t imagine life without texting or messaging on Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype and more. We do it so much that the word “chat” no longer means face-to-face conversation, but texting! And while tech services advance solutions to help us keep our tribal connections, on a personal level, why do we humans love and prefer to text? Well, there are three sides to the texting issue.
Side A is the need as a social species. We each want to be part of the life and conversation with someone living in the same city or overseas (Nir and Far). The younger generation enjoy messaging super short texts filled with slang and acronyms, and decorated with emoticons (emojis) and GIFs. For them, it is more about showing creativity, wit and coolness, belonging to their peer group and inspiring popularity, keeping up with trends and being cool.
Meanwhile, according to the research that was done by Jodie Bradnam, middle aged people send up to 90 text messages each day as a way of staying connected (Alexis Kuerbis, Katherine van Stolk-Cooke, Frederick Muench). from the comfort of behind their screens. Texting for them is also an effective tool for expressing ideas that could be difficult to do in person (Susan Weinschenk).
Older adults are overwhelmed with the need to say in touch with loved ones they don’t see perhaps as often as they would like, and to feel cared for and supported. And, of course, to get and share “healthy information”. After all, how many of us have gotten a message from your mother or grandma, forwarded a hundred times before that, about the healthy effect of purple onions or of keeping your legs elevated for 20 minutes a day?
So, across the world, almost without thinking, we all now open our preferred messenger app and “chat” regularly with siblings, partners, friend groups, scribbling a few lines or sending a few emojis, a simple “Hey, how are you?” or anything else that comes to mind. And we expect and wait for feedback…and we wait…and we wait. And try not to get pissed off if we don’t get an immediate response because, after all, people have their own lives and can be doing any manner of things. But still… why is Joe taking so long to read my text?! Can you imagine going a full day without anyone replying? Or can you imagine a whole day without replying to anyone? The cycle is a hard habit to break. For some, it’s a compulsion.
Which is side B of texting: dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical involved in motivation, seeking and the brain’s reward system. It makes us want to want. It makes us seek, strive to reach the next level of satisfaction, and once we reach that, it makes us dismiss the satisfaction we had experienced just a few hours ago and “induces a loop — it starts us seeking, then we get rewarded for the seeking which makes us seek more” (Ivan Pavlov). Those pings and blinking lights on our phones, telling us that someone has acknowledged us on one or other (or all!) our social media platforms, making us grab and look and make yet another overture – they are the equivalent of the bell that back in 1902 made Pavlov’s dogs salivate even before he gave them the food or any proof of a real reward (Ivana Vnučec).
Finally, side C of texting is all about practicality. There are some interesting statistics about the rise of texting across all age and social groups but it comes down to this: texting is fast, flexible, and free of cost and intrusion. No paying for a landline (who does that anymore expect businesses?) No logging into an email account in three different steps. No having to stop what you’re doing to answer a phone call. No disrupting bystanders in the train or elevator or having them overhear your conversation. And businesses have been exploiting this texting mindset, sending more appointments, confirmations, security alerts and discount offers directly to clients via SMS (short message service) because studies have shown that people are more likely to open an SMS than an email (Teodora Dobrilova ).
Practice your grammar by matching the sentences to the right grammar answer
|And while tech services advance solutions to help us keep our tribal connections
|In paragraph 2, “advance” functions as
a. a verb
b. an adjective
c. a noun
|The younger generation enjoy messaging super short texts filled with slang and acronyms and decorated with emoticons (emojis) and GIFs
|In paragraph 3, “decorated with” in this sentence functions as
a. a verb
b. an adjective
c. a noun
|According to the research that was done by Jodie Bradnam, middle aged people send up to 90 text messages each day as a way of staying connected
|In paragraph 4, “was done by” is
a. present perfect, active voice
b. simple past, active voice
c. simple past, passive voice
|They are the equivalent of the bell that back in 1902 made Pavlov’s dogs salivate even before he gave them the food or any proof of a reward.
|In paragraph 6, “they” refers to:
a. social media platforms
b. the brain’s reward system
c. pings and blinking lights
|Businesses have been exploiting this texting mindset
|In the last paragraph, “have been exploiting” is used to express that:
a. businesses did it in the past and stopped
b. businesses started it in the past and continue to do it still
c. businesses will do it in the future
Answers: 1- a, 2 – b, 3 – c, 4 – c, 5 – b