Here’s the deal. My thanks to R. Washington for suggesting this week’s topic (speaking of which, what does that “R” stand for? Very suspicious for someone who claims to have an issue with abbreviations…)
I’m not a texter – don’t have the thumbs for it. McBee’s have notoriously weak thumbs…we almost never review movies and we’re terrible hitchhikers.
And, as a writer, I simply can’t endorse all of the texting abbreviations that mangle our language. Plus, as someone who is 28 years old or older (hint, it’s “or older”), I don’t understand any of it.
So I did a little internet work and found a site that listed all of these abbreviations…there were thousands of them. But I’ll just examine a few.
How about ALOL. This stands for, “Actually laughing out loud.” And I think it makes an important point. ALOL is necessary because everyone knows that when someone types LOL, they’re rarely actually LOLing. This shortened way of communicating is fast – but rarely genuine. How can you trust someone who communicates all of their feelings in this ridiculous shorthand? Soon ALOL won’t be enough. Maybe we should try NSTTIRLOL – “No, seriously, this time I’m really laughing out loud.”
And text messaging abbreviations are so impersonal. Nothing says you care like this actual abbreviation – HHTYAY (“Happy holidays to you and yours”). Text messaging…when you care enough to spend two seconds showing them how you feel.
Here’s another – d00d. That’s the “abbreviation” for dude. Yeah. And mythspeleng is the abbreviation for misspelling.
The site also listed this helpful abbreviation – 2B or not 2B. I don’t have any idea when this is used. I suppose it’s useful for all of those Shakespearean scholars looking to save a tenth of a second in their communications. O Romeo, Romeo where4 art thou Romeo?
How about CAAC? Cool as a cucumber. This one hasn’t been used as much since the fifties. Yep, little known fact, text messaging was all the rage in the fifties. dde0, ths sok^ iz 4equalsidesvll. (“Daddy-O, this sock hop is squaresville.”)
One of the few that I actually like is CRTLA – “Can’t remember the three letter acronym.” For those times when you need a succinct way to communicate the fact that you’ve forgotten how to communicate in a succinct way.
Lastly, some of the oddest that I found were 143, 459, and 831, all of which mean, “I love you.” I wonder how these things get started, the first couple of times someone uses a new abbreviation it must take more time as they have to explain what they’re talking about.
“143, 459, 831, baby.”
“It means I love you, I love you, I love you.”
“What are u talking about?”
“They’re love abbreviations that I invented for us. 143 means I love you because the first word has 1 letter, the second word has 4 letters and the third word has 3 letters. 459 means I love you because the I is on the 4 on the keypad, the L is on the 5 and the Y is on the 9. 831 means I love you because it’s 8 letters, three words and one meaning. I love you, baby.”
“I think we should see other people.”
SHAIGTDI? (So, how am I going to do it?) How will I stop pre-teens everywhere from shortening our words until there’s nothing left? I fear it may be too late to teach them to text differently. So, I’ll attack this problem from a different angle. I am going to create a program that converts text message abbreviations into normal English. If I can’t get them to write correctly, perhaps I can, at least, keep them from forgetting how to read correctly.
And we have to convince the youth of today that it’s not always about speed. Some things are worth taking the time. Instead of finding the best way to shorten a word, maybe you should think about finding the best word – the best way to say what you mean. Because, ultimately, it’s not the size of your words, it’s how you use them.