Thursday, September 10, 2009

Language of the Internet Revisited

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” – Benjamin Lee Whorf

I can’t help but wonder what Mr. Whorf, a linguist who died in 1941, would think of acronyms becoming a part of the English language. Personally, I’m not crazy about the idea. Since Monday’s post on the Changing Dictionary, I’ve spent way too much time flipping through pages of online guides to understanding chat acronyms. BTW (by the way) I’ve recycled the next couple of paragraphs from a blog I posted in January 2008, on the Language of the Internet because my feelings are the same.

I worry about technology; I can’t help it. I mean I love computers but I worry that they, along with cell phones, are changing the language of communication. And, I am not good at learning languages. In fact, I have problems with English.

While living overseas, I attempted to tackle various languages (Mandarin, Korean, Dutch, Italian and Arabic). I managed to learn just enough to get me in trouble. For example, in Taiwan, I thought our Landlord had come to invite us to his mother’s 76th birthday party. I smiled, said yes, and offered my congratulations. Imagine my horror the following day when I discovered we were invited to her funeral. It’s a wonder we weren’t evicted.

To prevent putting my foot in my mouth in computer lingo, I simply avoid using anything but a couple of the basics, such as LOL (laugh out loud). This week, after perusing Wĕbopēdia, NetLingo and techdictionary, I may now add a few more words to my repertoire. For instance I really liked the following:

AWGTHTGTTA – Are we going to have to go through this again? (I swear I didn’t make this up – you’ll find it listed in techdictionary)
BOBFOC – Body off Baywatch, Face off Crimewatch
WOMBAT – waste of money, brains and time
WUCIWUG – what you see is what you get
A3 – anytime, anywhere, anyplace
L8RG8R – later, gator
SMHID - scratching my head in disbelief
ATWD – Agree that we disagree
IANAL – I am not a lawyer

However, I don’t understand the use acronyms when you save only two or three letters. For example why use UNBLEFBLE for unbelievable?

For you parents out there, I’m throwing in CD9 – Code 9 meaning parents are around and POS – parent over shoulder

If you get stuck on an acronym, you can find help at Internet Slang Dictionary and Translator. Simply enter the letters, click on translate and the meaning will magically appear.

Unfortunately, I think acronyms are here to stay. Therefore, in order to be able to communicate with my grandson in a few years, I plan to purchase E-Z Text Messaging 4 Grandparents by Valli Marti. If I start studying now, maybe I’ll be fluent in…hmm…ten or twelve years.

Feel free to share your favorite acronym(s), rant on the use of them, or rave about this wonderful new language.

And, to get into the swing of things, I made up one of my own my own – TU4SB (thank you for stopping by).

Tags: Whorf, Acronyms, Slang Dictionary, Webopedia, NetLingo, techdictionary,


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Texting language is remarkably like vanity license plate language. The most common ones I see on my son's phone are gr8 (great) and g2g (got to go.)

Mystery Writing is Murder

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Some of those I'd never seen before! When I used to use Yahoo IM, it took me forever to figure out one friend's BRB. (Be right back.) I think the next generation won't know how to spell anything.

I think about the only one I use is LOL, and that's mostly because I'm hooked on LOL Cats!

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Karen Walker said...

LOL and BTW are about the only to I recognize and understand. I've already forgotten what DH stands for. Oh God, this menopause mind.

Helen Ginger said...

Jimminee. I'm with you. Say what you mean. On the other hand, one I've learned through blogging that I sort of like is DH (dear husband). I can use DH and talk abut my husband without having to say his name (since he didn't ask to be talked about).

Straight From Hel

The Old Silly said...

It is a remarkable phenomenon. Not only the internet, but now with text messaging everyone is abandoning spelling things out anymore. Sometimes I get stuck with new ones I see, trying to figure out wtf they are saying - lol.

TYVMFTP! (thank you very much for this post)


Kerrie said...

Old Silly made me lol. I too am concerned about the effect this whole texting and condensed language will have on the next generation. We will have to wait and see.

Ta ta for now

Carol Kilgore said...

OMG! I ask a lot of questions. The ones I see most are IDK (I don't know), PIA (pain in the ass) and Old Silly's WTF (use your imagination on this one).

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great post. I am so behind the times... but do use lol--a lot-- :) There are a few I know on sight but don't use. Love the idea of a text for dummies book...

I do know BRB, (be right back) and ttyl (talk to ya later) as well as ttys (talk to ya soon.) or maybe I'm just making these up. ;) Cheers!

Patricia Stoltey said...

IMHO (in my humble opinion) is one I see a lot. And recently I saw a few Twitter tweets using ROFL. I puzzled that one out from the context and think it means "rolling on the floor laughing."

Galen Kindley--Author said...

For me, there’s one big advantage. I never learned to spell…along with a host of other things…accordingly, I try to chalk up illiterate postings to internet shorthand. It rarely works, but, it makes me feel better to trick myself. How bad is that?

Best Regards, Galen
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