Some call texting a universal form of English, while others argue it's ruining the language and producing a generation of illiterates.

But researchers at three Canadian universities who are studying text messaging think we may have become more creative because of this new form of communication.

Academics with Simon Fraser University, the University of Montreal and the University of Ottawa are looking at how texting is affecting the way Canadians write.

The project began in December, and researchers have already collected more than 8,000 text messages.

Preliminary research findings show that contributors have used 10 different ways to text laughter, including three variants of "LOL."

Christian Guilbault of Simon Fraser said the research teams will collect data until the end of June and begin their analysis at the end of the summer.

Guilbault said the project, called Text-4-Science, is part of a larger, ongoing study called sms-4-Science that began in Belgium a few years ago.

Guilbault said Text-4-Science is the only part of the international study to focus on English.

He said one of the goals of the study is to see how differently people text in the U.K. and the U.S. compared to within Canada.