Nowadays, short messages are famous all over the world, especially among young people. Short Message Service (SMS) is a new communicational tool that combines the functions of mobile phone and pager. According to the statistics from Global GPS Association, the total number of SMs has reached 2300 billion in 2008, and China accounts for one third of them, soaring to 700 billion. SM is regarded as a convenient, informational medium for conveying messages that conforms well to human needs. As a modern communication tool, SM has many advantages which are absent in other communication medias. For example, SM enables dumb people to communicate freely with healthy people; SM makes no noise which may bother others; SM protects privacy, because no third party knows the content of SM conversation.
However, the characteristics of SM language also bring negative effects to people’s life. People find that SM is not so powerful and pleasant, and it can be easily misunderstood. With the help of linguistic approaches, factors that are responsible for the misunderstanding of SM are analyzed in this paper. Firstly, SM language violates the cooperative principle. Secondly, in contrast with face-to-face conversations, SM lacks body language, facial expressions. Thirdly, SM language is more casual than written language. In conclusion, this paper suggests some solutions to the related problem.
Key words: short massage or SM, misunderstanding, cooperative principle, body language, facial expression, written language
I. The vulnerability of SM to misunderstanding from the perspective of the cooperative principle
The process of sending SM is so easy and informal that people treat it as they do conversations. For a conversation to be successful, in most social contexts, the participants need to feel they are contributing something to it and are getting something out of it. The success of a conversation depends not only on what speakers say but on their whole approach to.