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April 2023 Vol. 11 No.4

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Merit Research Journal of Education and Review (ISSN: 2350-2282) Vol.11(4) pp. 032-041, April, 2023

Copyright © 2023 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article

Original Research Article

Influence of the Informal Chat Writing Styles Used on Social Media Platforms on Students’ Linguistic Styles in their Academic Work Writing


Tankiso Motjope-Mokhali


Department of African Languages and Literature, University of Eswatini, Private Bag 4, Kwaluseni M201, Eswatini (formerly - Swaziland)

*Corresponding Author's Email: tlmotjope@uniswa.sz

Received: 27 March 2023  I  Accepted: 26 April 2023  I  Published: 28 April 2023  I  Article ID: MRJER23014
Copyright © 2023 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.




Most students use informal styles of communication and expression when writing tests, assignments, examinations and Moodle group discussions. This study attempts to find out how the informal chat writing styles used on social media platforms such as WhatsApp have affected communication in academic writings and have led to the learner’s lack of interest in the importance of orthography in communication. The study used the communicative approach in which data was mainly collected through document analysis. An analysis of the works of level three students who were siSwati mother tongue speakers and were doing a course in Translation Studies at the University of Eswatini was done from two tests, two assignments, WhatsApp group messages and one Moodle group discussion. The study found that the informal language in students’ tests, assignments, and even Moodle is influenced by the way students informally communicate on the said social media platform. It was also established that there is a significant shift in the importance of standard orthography to phonetics. The study concludes that as much as informal chat platforms are good for teaching and learning, they have adverse effect on students’ use of standard orthography. The study recommends that parents, teachers or lecturers should stress the importance of the use of standard orthography, particularly when writing formal texts.

Keywords: Academic writing, English language, Informal language, Learners, Social media chat platforms, Standard orthography



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