HomeIAMURE International Journal of Literature, Philosophy and Religionvol. 7 no. 1 (2015)

Social Stratification of Linguistic Forms in Text Messages of Selected Cebuanos

Jade Flores Bamba

Discipline: Social Science



While cellular phones have become common among Filipinos, it is contended that, even though, such accessibility may have bridged the digital gap, it is far from eradicating social divides between the rich and the poor. The class divide is very apparent based on usage alone. This divide is more a function of income and education than the availability of technology. Three aims of this study include: 1) finding out whether social stratification is evident in the text messages of people from lower, middle, and upper classes; 2) affirming the relationship between social stratification and linguistic forms usage; and 3) exploring noticeable patterns in texting styles of participants. Employing mixed methods design, linguistic forms used by participants were described and analyzed. Noticeable patterns in the texting styles of 18 participants (six for each social class, males and females equally represented) were also accounted. Three linguistic forms: shortenings, punctuations, and letters/numbers/homophones are frequently used by the participants across the three social classes to facilitate ease of texting and to shorten long words. Two form categories are socially stratified: punctuations and accent stylization. Thus, knowing the linguistic forms used by an individual can lead to knowledge of his/her social status.