It's been happening for a whilllee, texters lengthening their verbage, and linguists are here to analyze. Using nearly 4 million words from students' digital-communications data, a linguist at the University of Toronto has discovered this word elongating practice is a trend most common among female twenty-somethings (though it extends to different ages and across both genders as well). Vowels are the most frequently duplicated letters, and often words are only elongated by two or three letters at a time.
Author of Babel No More, Michael Erard, told the Atlantic that this might be an attempt to integrate the nuance of our verbalization into our digital communication. "When people talk, they use intonation in a number of varied and subtle ways," he said.
"The extra letters acknowledge that, though his message may only require six letters, his care is worth at least eight."
But more letters don't always mean more affection: sometimes the extra "a" in thaanks can be passive-aggressive. An extra vowel here or there can be whiney or baleful; an extra consonant can be curt or demanding.
Or sometimes, it can just be a barometer of margarita intake.