SHE SAID: Texting/Email Abbreviations

July 3, 2009

Jeremy is concerned about coming across as a “lazy, fat slob who does nothing but watch movies and 90210 repeats all day” and I probably come across as an uptight and dour over analyzer.  So, to continue in that vein, I’m going to go off on email and text abbreviations.


The reason I have an issue isn’t entirely because they are lame.  While I understand that point of view, I also understand why they are useful.  Yes, it is easier to type “k” instead of “okay”.  Especially if you’re driving while drinking a hot cup of coffee, turning up the volume on the radio and IM-ing on your phone, all of which some people find acutely necessary at times.  I have an issue with the younger generation (no, I am not 80 despite how that came out) abusing and relying too heavily on this electronic slang before understanding and correctly applying grammatical rules of language.

When I was in high school, this was in the mid-nineties (after pinch rolling jeans and scrunchies but before boot cut jeans and spaghetti strap tank tops), we didn’t have cell phones.  We didn’t have text/SMS messaging, instant messaging, we didn’t even have email addresses (exclude the occasional kid who had a compuserve email which consisted of seventeen million  Shortening the language for quick communication wasn’t an issue, and people still couldn’t get it right.  A high school acquaintance started off a paper about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the start of the WWI with “King Willy was like wow.”  King Willy being Wilhelm II.  We couldn’t get language right without proper study back before we had no excuse.  How can we expect proper sentence structure and language flow now?

Still not 80.

I will accept almost anything in a text message.  You write gr8, yes, I will chuckle and think it’s lame, but I don’t expect much.  Texting is the fast food of the written word.  I’m also pretty lenient on email.  Capitalization, run-ons, sentences ending in a preposition, misspellings, it’s okay.  But, gr8 in an email?  I’ll draw the line there.  And I made fun of a friend who wrote: “U r correct. How u been? Might be grabbing a burger. U ought to join if u r free.”

As far as words like pwn are concerned, while flirting with the slippery slope of abbreviation, they are ultimately different.  While suspect because the etymology is based on a possible typo, pwned and the like are different in that they are how language is developing and being effected by the world wide web and instant communication.  While I might not utilize it, I agree with Samuel Johnson that language cannot be contained and is constantly evolving.  I’m not fighting evolution, but I am daring to say no to bastardization.

Brb, lol, rotflmao, gr8, omg, tmi … WTF!  Are you really laughing out loud?  I am you.  Not u.  Is it that hard to give the y and the o equal attention?  Anyone who resorts to the abbreviations becomes a twelve year-old girl to me.  And while twelve year-old girls are wonderful, I don’t respect their command of the written word, nor do I think anyone over 12 should be taking tips from them on communication.  Because I don’t want to “be all” anything.  And I don’t want to start every conversation with “Oh my God” and end it with “TTYL”.