What the hell is going on? Y is everything bing shortened? R U aware of this strange phenomenon? Or r u 2 bzy 2 notice?

In an article posted on Apophenia entitled, “I Think Therefore IM” written by Jennifer Lee for the New York Times in 2002, she noted that due to instant messaging, linguistic shortcuts were popping up everywhere. Not merely limited to small talk between friends, students were allowing typographical shorthand to rear it’s ugly head in term papers, essay tests and nightly homework.

On the one hand all this short hand makes me feel stupid. I went to high school back when we used typewriters and iPods were big ass boom boxes that we carried on our shoulders only to cramp up our triceps and biceps. I did a hell of a lot of writing and frankly, shortcuts would have helped. Considering that a typo meant pulling out my white out or retyping the entire page, short cuts would have been great. What were we thinking writing everything out like that? Even when I learned the medical shortcuts created by the healthcare industry to keep documentation speedy and uniform it didn’t occur to me to carry those timesavers into my functional, daily life. Yet the kids of today have no problem blurring the line between interpersonal and formal writing styles.

But come on! Aren’t the young people of today apathetic and lazy enough as it is? Should they really feel too swamped and overwhelmed by life to write out the phrase, “laugh out loud”? Then again, do you apologize for using contractions, idioms and acronyms? I know I don’t. Why write out can not when you can shorten it to can’t? Although kids may be creating a new IM language, adults can also be to blame for this shortening phenomenon.

For example, this blog is technically my web log that apparently got too difficult to pronounce so it was shortened to blog. I just read that I can turn my blog into a widget, that they are shortening to “blidget”. And of course there’s the unbelievably annoying habit of entertainment tabloids branding a famous couple through the combination of their names like “Bennifer” and “TomKat” or shortening their name to “J-Lo” or “K-Fed”. Poor Brangelina had to flee to NOLA to get some R and R from the producers at ET which airs locally on CBS here outside of DC which is the capital of the good old USA. Hmm…I guess we’ve been shortening things for a while, now. Maybe even since back when G-Wash was the Prez.

So the question becomes, is this IM shorthand and excessive use of acronyms, laziness or the efficient, evolvement of language? Unless you speak like a British actor reciting Shakespeare, you too have benefited from the ebb and flow of linguistic transformation. To be honest, I’m starting to be less annoyed and simply fascinated by it all. I mean when does NSS for “No Shit Sherlock” go mainstream like AWOL? At what point does FUM overtake FUBAR? Will HIG (How’s it going) ever become a normal, elevator-type salutation? GOK (God only knows). I assume that pronounceable acronyms have a better chance of entering the vernacular ASAP so as to avoid any SNAFU’s or other BS that may arise, BWDIK (but what do I know).

I also assume that a new acronym can’t take the place of an already known word. A “PIMP” will always be “someone that controls a prostitute”. I highly doubt I’ll start using it to indicate when I pee in my pants as the Net Lingo Internet Dictionary indicates. But regardless, listen up moms and dads. Kids will do anything to KPC (keep parents clueless) so get the 411 will ya? Log on and learn. We haven’t even covered urban slang. That’s a whole different ball game for an entirely different post.


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