Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Do you send text messages on your cellular phone? If not, surely you've been around people who are texting.
In the world of texting, abbreviations (a type of shorthand) are commonly used. So much so, it is almost like another language.
To be honest, I'm not very good at texting. I'm slow and I really don't enjoy it that much. However, it does come in handy at times. One of the most useful aspects of texting for me is the fact you can send the same message to several people at the same time. Example: "Baseball practice tonight is canceled."
As text-messaging shorthand becomes more and more widespread in emails, text messages and Tweets, people have a need to decode the ever-evolving shorthand.
Parents want to keep up with or police their teens. Bosses want to know what employees are saying on company equipment.
One reason for the growing number of texting abbreviations - now over 2,000 according to NetLingo.com - is the boom in social-media sites like Twitter, where messages are limited to 140 characters. Text messages, too, are limited in length, so users have developed the shorthand abbreviations.
The trend will most likely continue. In 2008, over one trillion texts were sent in the U.S.
The confusion over the explosion of abbreviations is fueling a greater number of resources that provide English translations. They include independent Web sites like NetLingo.com and UrbanDictionary.com and corporate ones like LG Mobile Phones’ DTXTR.com. Textapedia, a pocket guide to texting terms released last year, is now sold in over 4,000 stores nationwide. NetLingo reports a 391% increase in the number of unique visitors over the past five years, while UrbanDictionary says it saw a 40% jump in its unique visitors in the past year.
Both the AP Stylebook and Merriam-Webster Dictionary recognized texting shorthand for the first time in their 2009 editions. The AP Stylebook now includes IMO (“In my opinion”), ROFL (“Rolling on the floor laughing”) and BFF (“Best friends forever”), among others. Merriam-Webster defines LOL (“Laugh out loud”) and OMG (“Oh my God”).
Some parents have created their own cheat sheets in an effort to keep up with their teens. Rightfully so given these abbreviations: GNOC (“Get naked on camera”); POS (“Parent over shoulder”); LMIRL (“Let’s meet in real life”); and IWSN (“I want sex now”).
Here are some more examples of some common shorthand abbreviations:
* UG2BK - You got to be kidding
* GBTW - Get back to work
* NMP - Not my problem
* PIR - Parent in room
* GFTD - Gone for the day
* FYEO - For your eyes only
* BI5 - Back in five minutes
* DEGT - Don’t even go there
* BIL - Boss is listening
* PAW - Parents are watching
* 99 - Parents are no longer watching
* PCM - Please call me
* IMS - I am sorry
* TOY - Thinking of you
* KUTGW - Keep up the good work
* CID - Consider it done
* FWIW - For what it’s worth
* HAND - Have a nice day
* IAT - I am tired
* NRN - No response necessary
* 4COL - For crying out loud
* WRUD - What are you doing
* ^5 - High five
For what it's worth, I'll throw an original of mine in there: IHNIWAIS!
Know what it means. Hint: It's what I'm thinking when I get texts.
I Have No Idea What Anyone Is Saying. Of course, people are really not "saying" anything when they text, so I should probably change that to IHNIWAIT.
And you thought spelling and grammar suffered as a result of spellcheck...

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn

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