If u were messaging on your cell would u key in words properly or use the shortcuts like most ppl do? Abbreviated sentences have become the standard lingo for communication through electronic means. Whether it’s chatting online or sending text messages, cryptic acronyms like TTYL (talk to you later) and BTW (by the way) are changing the way people approach the English language in its written form.
It may be far too early to tell whether or not the dotcom era will bring any real change to the language as we know it, but when considering all the ways the language has evolved over the last 100 years, we might be using TTYL and BTW a lot more often than we think.
In 1904, it would have been hard to imagine saying “would’ve” instead of “would have” or “doesn’t” instead of “does not” but we do it without hesitation now. Why? Because language evolves to reflect changes in society as a whole. It’s probably safe to say that we’re not as uptight as people might’ve been back then, and a century is plenty of time for a society and language to evolve. The examples are all over the place.
Take slang in the spoken word, for instance. It’s been around forever, and has even taken on a life of its own in some circles: ebonics or “Black English” is considered a dialect of sorts in the United States, thanks to inner-city black youth and music like rap and hip-hop.
On the written side of things, businessmen and politicians set the standard for acronyms long ago by shortening their company and political party names so they could make it easier for customers and voters to remember them. And if it weren’t for the Internet and wireless communication, “tech talk” would probably never be what it is today.
Throughout this linguistic evolution, technology has played a key role in driving language to new heights. Cryptanalysts during the Second World War (1939-1945) used the world’s first computers to decipher German and Japanese military codes, and militaries all over the world soon started using their own languages of cryptic euphemisms and acronyms to operate with security, which continues to this day through computers and telecommunications.
The online boom of the last 10 years has created an entirely different way for people to express themselves, though the real key to it all is the speed that goes with it. The convenience of shortening words or combining them with acronyms is hard to resist, especially in a day and age where time is a precious resource.
Using shortened variations of words and phrases has been an accepted practice for a long time, and that won’t change anytime soon. But it’s the technology of the online era that has provided the speed with which to do it easily and efficiently. What might take 20 seconds to type with normal spelling could take as little as eight seconds with all the right abbreviations. That’s a significant drop, and amounts to a lot of time saved when you start factoring in the minutes, hours and days we spend text-messaging and emailing.
Still, regardless of how powerful online lingo has become, it hasn’t penetrated all circles yet, and may have a tough time doing so. The business world may have helped give acronyms the role they have today, but would a corporation endorse the practice of using LMK (let me know) and LOL (laugh out loud) in the near future? It may also take some time before resumés, formal letters and newspapers use tech talk, which seems hypocritical, like a big doublestandard, after all, what makes ASAP any different from LMK, or OK any better than U 2?
The ? is, will ppl run with it, or will it B just another fad 2 4get about?
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