1) 10 YRS OF TXT (Daily Mirror; 3/12/3)
The Headline
Look at the headline of the article, and answer the following questions.
a) Re-write the headline in full.
Ten years of text.
b) What do you think the article is about?
The article is probably about the tenth anniversary of text messaging.
Paragraphs 1 to 8 (down to “... see it coming.”)
1 • Read these paragraphs carefully and find the following information:
a) The inventors of text messaging and their nationality
→ The inventors of text messaging were British scientists at Sema, a technology company.
b) The exact date of the first text message
→ The first text message was sent on the 3rd of December, 1992.
c) The contents of the first text message
→ The first text message simply read “Merry Christmas”.
d) The names of the sender and the receiver of this first text message
→ The sender of the message was Neil Papworth, a messaging engineer, and the receiver was Richard
Jarvis, director of Vodafone.
2 • Translate paragraphs four and five into French (from “The message echoed…” down to “…
without realising it.”).
Le message a fait écho à cette autre grande première au niveau des télécommunications – l’appel
téléphonique de Alexander Graham Bell en 1876, appel passé à son assistant Thomas Watson, qui se
trouvait dans la pièce voisine : “Monsieur Watson, venez, je veux vous voir.”
Mais alors que la naissance du téléphone était immédiatement reconnue comme étant un événement
extrêmement important, le texto resta un produit oublié et superflu pendant bon nombre d’années,
jusqu’au moment où, plus tard, le réseau téléphonique reconnut qu’ils avaient pondu un œuf en or
sans s’en rendre compte.
3 • What does the abbreviation SMS stand for?
SMS = Short Message Service.
4 • Who used SMS at the beginning and for what purpose?
At the beginning, geeks used SMS as a toy, and telephone engineers used it as a tool.
5 • What was the main drawback which discouraged people from using texting?
It was much simpler just to speak the message rather than to write it.
Paragraph 9 (from “Yet today...” down to “... by the end of 2002.”)
Write the following figures out in full, then, in your own words, explain what they represent.
a) 50 million
→ Fifty million represents the number of text messages sent on average every day in the United
b) 2 million
→ Two million represents the number of texts sent every hour in the United Kingdom.
c) more than 70%
→ More than seventy per cent: of all the people who use mobile phones, more than seventy per cent
send text messages.
Telecommunications − 5
d) 1.54 billion
→ One point five four billion represents the number of text messages sent in the United Kingdom
during the month of October, 2002.
e) 16 billion
→ Sixteen billion represents the number of text messages sent in the United Kingdom for the whole of
the year 2002.
Paragraphs 10 to 13 (down to “...being piloted”.)
1 • Fill in the following table using the information in the article. Put a cross if the information is
not available.
Present users of SMS
What they use it for
flirting, advertising,
sports fans
to find out the latest scores
to have snow reports sent to
to exchange sweet nothings
the National Blood Service
local council elections
to remind blood donors to give
The advantages of SMS
they have the latest, up-to-date
the snow reports are sent
directly to their pocket
SMS is very discreet and
they can reach thousands of
people using SMS
2 • Read paragraph 16 again, and match each of the following words from the article (column A)
with its definition (column B):
take somebody away illegally by force
in the pipeline
in preparation
inform in advance
experiment something new
a system
a region
3 • Now translate the paragraph into French
Dans le projet se trouvent des plans pour prévenir des millions d’utilisateurs de téléphones portables,
au moyen de textes, lorsqu’un enfant a été enlevé dans la région dans laquelle ils se trouvent, grâce
au procédé d’alerte ‘The child Rescue’ expérimenté actuellement.
Paragraphs 14 to 16 (down to “... an SMS service.”)
True or false? Justify your choice by quoting the article.
a) The smallest number of text messages is sent between half past ten and eleven in the evening.
False: “the peak hours for texting are between 10.30pm and 11pm”
b) People prefer sending e-mails from work rather than text messages.
True: “ company time. That’s what email is for”
c) Most of the people surveyed said they got most of their text messages from their partners.
False: “Eighty per cent of people say they receive messages from friends, 61 per cent from partners”
d) According to the journalist, text messages will become more and more popular as time goes by.
True: “The text explosion does not look like slowing down either”
Paragraphs 17 to 21 (down to “... says Patterson.”)
1 • Choose the sentence which best sums up the contents of this part
b) A summary of the first ten years of text messaging.
6 − Tomorrow’s world
2 • Find an example of one of the drawbacks of text messaging at the beginning.
At the beginning, it was only possible to send messages within the same network.
3 • In your own words, explain the three major changes which made text messaging more popular
in 1998.
First of all, it became possible to send messages to any other network. Then, a new kind of telephone,
which was cheaper, was invented. Finally, the British no longer saw mobile phones as expensive
luxuries, but rather as everyday essentials.
4 • What do the following figures represent? Explain them in your own words, and in one single
Today, forty-five million people own mobile phones, which is almost five-fold (or five times) the ten
million people who had one by the end of 1998.
5 • True of false? Justify your choice by quoting from the text.
Experts thought that text messaging would be instantly popular, and so nobody was surprised when
it became a success.
False: “When mobile sales took off, the industry was taken completely by surprise. Nobody expected
text messaging to be a big deal”.
Paragraphs 22 to 28 (down to “ deliver it.”)
Make a list of all the advantages and disadvantages of text messaging which are mentioned in the
- It is fast and convenient, as you can read it when you want
- It is a secretive and personal way of communicating
- It is less intrusive than the telephone
- It can be used in quiet or noisy surroundings
- Text messaging has led to a new way of writing
- Traditionalists dislike the new way of writing created by text messaging
- The space is restricted
- Text messaging is expensive for the user
The end of the article (from “The future...” down to “... camera phones.”)
Is the journalist optimistic or pessimistic about the future of text messaging?
What arguments does he use to back up his opinion?
The journalist is optimistic about the future of text messaging, because of multi-media messaging and
also because of the number of celebrities starring in advertising campaigns.
How it works
Translate this passage into French.
Le fonctionnement :
1) Un message SMS est envoyé sur le réseau, en utilisant une ligne normale GSM
2) Chaque réseau a son propre centre de SMS qui capte le texte et détermine le réseau utilisé par la
personne qui reçoit le message
3) Ce message est alors envoyé sur le réseau approprié et noté pour être distribué. Si la ligne est
disponible, le message est transmis et une enveloppe apparaît sur votre téléphone.
Focus on vocabulary
Find in the article fifteen compound nouns which belong to the lexical field of “telephones”, and
translate them into French.
mobile phone
= un portable
text message
= un texto
Telecommunications − 7