This past week I attended a wedding and this quote appeared in the program. Isn’t it true?
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with and fall into mutual weirdness and call it love.” – Dr. Seuss
Archive for September, 2013
“The exit is usually where the entrance was.” – Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
Tags: dictionary, hash tag, jargon, Lady Gaga, Language, Mashable, Shorthand, slang, subculture, texting, Tweets, Twitter, Twitterspeak
“Shorthand” the writing of common English words eliminating letters has been around for decades. So has jargon and slang that use words specific to an industry or social group. But with the advent of texting, and Twitter, you could say new modern “languages” have been born.
Twitter is really more like a word game. It challenges you to communicate within the confines of its 140 character limitation. Sort of like a journalist having to come up with a good short headline for a story. Only on Twitter you can contract words, leave out letters, or use words that are familiar with your readers but which other groups wouldn’t understand. (Read some of Lady Gaga’s Tweets and you’ll get the idea – who the heck are “little Monsters”???!)
Texting doesn’t put a limit on characters or the number of words but like old fashioned shorthand, it is easier to type a message using special words or leaving out letters. I believe this grew from the fact that your keyboard is so tiny, eliminating keystrokes makes typing the message easier. It took me forever to learn how to “thumb” a message (using my other fingers was a nightmare) and I still am amazed when I see a man with huge “paws” entering a message quickly on a tiny device!
The result is that people have become so used to communicating in this “shorthand” language, that even at a full sized computer keyboard they don’t want to type out full words. Young people have an especially hard time switching from shorthand to normal English. This, of course, impedes communications such as work related correspondence or creating a job search cover letter that sounds professional.
It has also created what used to be called “slang”, words specific to a certain subculture, that are not in the dictionary. First is was using letters to describe things like the infamous LOL. Then it morphed into respelling words so they were shortened like substituting the numeral 4 instead of spelling “for”. Or getting real cre8tive just for the heck of it. Of course there are the totally new words like “hash tag” that in itself spawned “bashtagging” (bashing a company on Twitter using its own hash tag). Or giving a word another meaning for example a “Tweet” once meant only the sound a bird makes! Good or bad? Well, it’s always been said that language is a living thing and changes over time. We don’t speak the way they did in Shakespeare’s day, so why not #change?
Here are a few websites that will have you laughing, (or should I say twittering) or teach you a thing or two about these new “languages”:
A dictionary of Twitter words
For texting there are just too many good ones. So type “texting vocabulary” into your search engine of choice and have fun surfing the results!
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
Found in the Readers Digest: (comments in parenthesis are mine)
File Under “OOPS”
From the wedding announcement page of the Tennessean: “The six attendants wore blue raw silk dresses with pockets and varying necklines that hit right below the knee.” (gives a whole new meaning to “low cut” necklines!)
From a home-repair mailer:” All permanent repairs guaranteed for one year.” (Nothing last forever anymore, right?)
From an article about a hotel renovation in the Reno Gazette-Journal: “The downstairs, which will be connected to the upstairs by a spiral staircase, will have more meeting space plus food and beverage fatalities.” (yeh, like if they throw a lot of parties with booze!)