Using Text messaging in the ESL classrrom

After reading Chapter 1 of Mark Pegrum’s book From Blogs to Bombs I thought it was a good idea to test my digital native students to see if they were able to understand the txtspk in the book.
To my surprise most of them found this activity quite challenging. Out of 25 students not only one was able to understand the whole text.
They couldn`t believe that this was an essay a student sent to their teacher. We had a very interesting debate on text messaging. Next year before doing this activity I will make them read a webpage on Text Messaging and Chat abbreviation.

I would like to test you this time. Have you ever read Romeo and Juliet in Text messaging? Let´s see how much you understand.

Romeo and Juliet – Text Messaging Version by cartoonist Roz Chast, first published in the New Yorker

Act 1

Login: Romeo : R u awake? Want 2 chat?
Juliet: O Rom. Where4 art thou?
Romeo: Outside yr window.
Juliet: Stalker!
Romeo: Had 2 come. feeling jiggy.
Juliet: B careful. My family h8 u.
Romeo: Tell me about it. What about u?
Juliet: ‘m up for marriage f u are.. Is tht a bit fwd?
Romeo: No. Yes. No. Oh, dsnt mat-r, 2moro @ 9?
Juliet: Luv U xxxx
Romeo: CU then xxxx

Act 2

Friar: Do u?
Juliet: I do
Romeo: I do

Act 3

Juliet: Come bck 2 bed. It’s the nightingale not the lark.
Romeo: OK
Juliet: !!! I ws wrong !!!. It’s the lark. U gotta go. Or die.
Romeo: Damn. I shouldn’t hv wasted Tybalt & gt banished.
Juliet: When CU again?
Romeo: Soon. Promise. Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu.
Juliet: Miss u big time.

Act 4

Nurse: Yr mum says u have 2 marry Paris!!
Juliet: No way. Yuk yuk yuk. n-e-way, am mard 2 Rom.

Act 5

Friar: Really? O no. U wl have 2 take potion that makes u look ded.
Juliet: Gr8

Act 6

Romeo: J-why r u not returning my texts?
Romeo: RUOK? Am abroad but phone still works.
Romeo: TEXT ME!
Batty: Bad news. J dead. Sorry l8

Act 7

Romeo: J-wish u wr able 2 read this…am now poisoning & and climbing in yr grave. LUV U Ju xxxx

Act 8

Juliet: R-got yr text! Am alive! Ws faking it! Whr RU? Oh…
Friar: Vry bad situation.
Juliet: Nightmare. LUVU2. Always. Dagger. Ow!!! Logout

How would you use text messaging in your classroom? Would you use this activity? Would you allow your students to submit this kind of text?



  1. Fantastic! I am going to use this with my English I (native speakers) class in a lesson called ‘Romance in the Digital Age”. They will have just finished up R&J. Thanks for sharing!

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