WOT R U TALKIN ABOUT? - Are Text Acronyms Destroying the English Language?

Karen McTackett By Karen McTackett, 4th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Languages

Are text acronyms creating a faux English that will eventually wipe out grammar? Or are you confused about the messages you receive from younger friends and family? There is help, but hopefully it is not too late.

Busy, Busy, Busy... No time 4 Grammar!

I wonder what the typing speed of anyone under the age of 25 would be these days? I would hazard to guess that it is pretty good, perhaps 50wpm on average. Well, what do you expect when this is how they communicate?

Hi m8, how R U? Me & d grrls R goin 2 hed dwn 2 d pub 4 drinks. U lIk 2 join?

- this contains 77 characters.


Hi mate, how are you? Me and the girls are going to head down to the pub for a few drinks. Would you like to join us?

- This contains 117 characters.

I get it - less characters means more information can be plunged into a single text saving both money and time. Well, I get the concept, but I cannot agree with it. Firstly, unlimited text is included in most phone plans and pre-paid options so it can't be the money they are trying to save. Secondly, how can replacing the word “girls” with “grrlz” save time? Not to mention the increased time taken to decipher a message like this as the receiver. Sadly, this is becoming common “English” and kids and young adults today will read that text without struggle. So I suppose in that sense, they are saving time. Excuse me while I sigh heavily.

Are we all living in such a busy World now that not even our kids have time to add a g on the end of “goin”, or at least an apostrophe to show they are dropping a letter intentionally: goin'? This broken and condensed English has become so popular that there are countless translators online to not only decipher an incoming text but to also shorten your well structured and grammatically correct text to this... faux English.

Does it even MAKE SENSE?

As an experiment, I took the first two lines of my novel and gave them the “lingo” treatment by typing them into one of these translators.

Here is the result:

wot iz DIS place?
I gasp 4 air; I do not mean to, I jst do. I do not mean 2 smash my hed on d concrete floor, I jst do.

It is readable, but with only ten characters less than the original, what's the point? Yet, I worry that the next generation of writers will barely know how construct a full sentence let alone produce a novel. In my human resources position, I see resumes in my inbox using this adulterated English and I can tell you right now, they do not receive a phone call from me.

What does this mean for you... as a parent?

Well, I hope you enjoy having your kids at home! Have you wondered why your offspring is having trouble landing a job? Maybe you should have a glance at their resume and just check that they are not shooting themselves in the foot.

What doe this mean for you... as a young adult?

Well, I hope you like living at home with your parents! Of course, this is not a steadfast rule of thumb and the truth of the matter is that if you want a job, you will find one, but make sure your reliance on “txt” shortening (because who has the time to write TEXT?) is not standing in your way. Save yourself a life of inherently bad grammar unconsciously ingrained through acronyms and try a little dose of correct English. BTW (by the way), intelligence is attractive!

A Quick Guide to the Most Popular Acronyms – Decipher That Text!

LOL – Laugh Out Loud (NOT Lots Of Love)
ROFL – Rolling On the Floor Laughing
LMAO – Laughing My Ass Off
LMFAO – Laughing My *EXPLETIVE* Ass Off
ROFLMAO - Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off
AFK – Away From Keyboard (Applicable when on Skype)
BRB – Be Right Back
BTW – By The Way
GR8 – Great
ILY – I Love You (Awwww, because who wants to hear the words when you can be told “ILY”?)
IMHO – In My Humble Opinion
NP – No Problem
OMG – Oh My God
THX - Thanks
TMI - Too Much Information
TTYL - Talk To You Later -or- Type To You Later
WYWH - Wish You Were Here

And the most annoying of all:

YOLO – You Only Live Once (Love the sentiment, hate the acronym!)


Acronym, Acronyms, English, English Grammar, English Language, English Language And Literature, English Terms, English Writers, Grammar, Grammar And Style, Grammar Correct, Grammar English, Grammar Help, Grammar Proper, Grammar Rules, Grammar Tips, Grammar Tools, Grammars, Grammatical Errors, Sms, Text, Text Message, Text Messaging, Texting, Texts

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
4th Jan 2014 (#)

Good morning, Porle. Since I begin each comment with a salutation, I clearly am no fan of condensed character speak.

I think about an article I read. A grandmother decided to be hip and current so sent a text to her granddaughter’s friend following the sudden death of the boyfriend. She wanted to tell the young woman that she was sending lots of love with her message. Using, LOL, she devastated the young woman who of course read it as Laugh Out Loud.

Vocabulary is, and probably will continue to be important to me, and while I like learning new words, I do not think I will spend a lot of time on the Urban Dictionary site. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
4th Jan 2014 (#)

I think so but it is the age we live in so they will do what they do..thank you...

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Jan 2014 (#)

Of course I have used TXT shortenings, but I prefer to use the long-form and to be honest things are much clearer.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
6th Jan 2014 (#)

A well written and interesting post, kudos!

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author avatar Ptrikha
10th Jan 2014 (#)

Too much of shorthand type language and I think people will indeed forget using ful sentences!

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