Help! Abbrevi-ese not spoken here.

We have become a race of abbreviants. I was at a birthday party for a nine-year old girl recently, and I heard the kids (a certain type of private-school kid) speaking in Abbreviese.

I am ashamed to say that I didn't understand most of what they were saying. I figured out LOL and OMG, but when I am online, or even receiving texts and emails, there are some that stump me!

"ROFL", for example. Is it "really orfully funny, luv"? "random or frenetic laughter"? "rule of feminist liberation"?

It kinda sounds like a noise one would make when puking, don't you think? "ROLF". Which would be bad. I mean "republic of loopy farters" or "ranting over lumpy fishpies" would be bad, right?

I think "BC" should mean "Before Children" don't you? It fits, being so long ago when life was completely different and we used to do certain things but now we know better and try to set a good example.

Some of the abbreviations are really long, like 8 letters long. They are not in the Oxford Dictionary. How is anyone supposed to figure them out? And how are the kids who speak in "text" supposed to communicate with normal humans, assuming they ever do? Because believe it or not, the vast majority of humans on this planet have STILL never used a cell phone, let alone sent a text message.

How weird would it be, if Abbreviese, like Acronymese, really becomes part of our regular "English"? It just might, in the same way that "scuba", "laser", and "Aids" have done. And of course those with no cell phones will learn to speak it fluently; but they will never understand it the way we understand true words. I love words and their roots and histories. I love languages. But I will never be enthusiastic about, and will probably never use, Abbreviese.


Anonymous said…
But of course, the "new words" would have history too, (their history would include the advent of cell phones) just like the old ones you love.I'm not arguing FOR Abbreviese, you understand (love the new word you've coined, BTW.) (By The Way) I use a few in typing, but can't imagine speaking this way. How very odd.
Nan Sheppard said…
Oops! Hi, edj, I accidentally rejected your comment, so "anonymous" above is you...

I agree that speaking in abbrieviese is very weird, and alarming. Hopefully it is just a passing nine-year-old girl trend!