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Shorthand for life

Published April 13. 2013 09:02AM

A friend on Facebook ended her message with "TY" and it took me a while to figure out what it meant. I usually write out the words "Thank You" instead of just using "TY." After I thought about the "TY" for a minute, I got annoyed.

How much longer does it take to write out the whole word than to use an abbreviation? Seconds. And, there's no confusion about what you mean. Plus, the English language perseveres.

The current trend of using shortened phrases bugs the heck out of me. Sure, I am a former English teacher and want people to use WORDS. I also want writers to think in whole phrases. Call me old-fashioned. Call me silly. I am right.

Have you seen the "LOL" or "LMAO" or "OMG" that abound in the world today? Most people who use the internet use these "chat slangs." You can even go online to to get lists and lists of shorthand terms.

In a recent episode of my favorite TV show - "The Big Bang Theory," Sheldon was reading an online comment about his teaching ability. One student said, "KMN" and Sheldon didn't know what it meant. Howard, his friend, told him it probably meant "Kill me now," because the student thought Sheldon's lesson was as boring as a bag of rocks.

On another episode of TBBT, Penny grows enamored of online gaming. She learns to use some abbreviated terms, such as "AFK" - away from keyboard - and "BRB" - be right back.

I have not yet succumbed to using a chat slang term. It goes against my basic belief that using this type of shorthand will destroy what's left of proper English.

When I taught English, I assigned my students to keep 'word journals.' In a notebook, they had to list new words they came across in their reading. They told me where they saw the word or cut out the sentence if they were allowed, looked up a definition, and used the word in another original sentence.

Some of my students were excellent at keeping the notebook. Most of them were regular readers and found new words an interesting challenge. In one family, the notebook was passed down to a younger sibling to help with his vocabulary study for the SAT exam.

Added to the notebook assignment was a list of approximately 500 roots, prefixes, and suffixes. The pupils memorized the meanings of them and used them to decipher the meaning of many new words.

I wonder what my former English students think of chat slang. I'm sure that some of them have become accustomed to using the shorthand terms. But, I hope that somewhere in the back of their minds they can hear their old English teacher encouraging them to use words and phrases.

In our hectic world, sometimes it is just easier for some people to write l8r instead of "later." In my mind, "later" is a better choice. IDK if you agree with me or not. Let me know, will you?

By the way, if you are a parent, watch out for POS on your child's computer. It means "Parent Over Shoulder." OMG! Right?


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