Sunday, 10 March 2013

Emoticons, Text Message Shorthand and Acronyms - Where did English Go?

Is it only me or is it only those of us past a certain age that feel like we have missed out on some vital education that relates to abbreviations used in text messages and online correspondence.   It seems it is not only the teenagers using all sorts of acronyms and shorthand for real words these days.   Its starting to creep into blog posts, text messages and emails from my girlfriends, work colleagues and even clients.

Would it not be easier if we just all used English?

Am i being a Fuddy Duddy?  To be called this is just the ultimate in uncool, even for me.  I swore I wouldn't be one of those Mums when i was young/er so I'm diving in head first. 

I know that LOL means Laugh Out Loud.  It appears to be the most common shorthand used and given that it is basically harmless and generally recognised, over time it has crept into my own online and phone messages, and even my posts.

However, in a blog the other day i saw ROFL and had to Google it to see what it meant - Rolling On Floor Laughing.  Today i got one that said LMAO - Laughing my Arse Off.  Should i have known this?
One thing i do love is that those of us who still have childhood hangups about saying naughty words can now do so with abandon, in code.

My readers will note that i say Oh My Goodness instead of Oh My God, and Jeepers Creepers instead of Jesus Christ as "thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain".  I say Poo Bum instead of Shit, Holy Cow... (though some Indians might find this offensive)....  I have a virtual second language to cater for a strict upbringing and a fear of upsetting someone.  I still get into trouble for saying "bum" not "bottom" and I'm almost 50. "Its a nice round word for a nice round object" my 83 year old mother would say to me looking sternly.  

Is there a special course you can take to learn this new language?

Never one to let things just lie, I have taken it upon myself to familiarise myself with enough shorthand, acronyms and emoticons so that i can keep up to date and not embarrass myself.

First, what's the difference? 

Shorthand -  The initials or numbers are just joined together  eg. LOL, ASAP  B4U
Acronyms - The initials are pronounced as a new word.  
Emoticons - .  Little pictures made using key strokes on a keyboard to convey emotion. 

On the following site there are too many to contemplate learning them all, so i have picked out the ones i think could be useful (so i have a clue what my son and his friends are talking about). 

The resource i used purports to be the largest list of Text Message Shorthand and Internet Acronyms Found On The Web.  There are literally hundreds.

I picked just a few that i thought might come in handy but take a look yourself.  At least you'll be able to decipher your kids messages.

121            One to One
2G2BT      To Good To Be True
2moro        Tomorrow
4COL         For Crying Out Loud
A3              Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime
AEAP        As early as possible
AFC          Away from computer
AR            Action Required                    (Pay attention If you get this one from your boss)
ATWD      Agree That We Disagree       (Good For Messages to Husband)
B4             Before
B4N          By For Now
BZ             Busy
BTD          Bored To Death
CSL           Can't Stop Laughing

I'm not going to keep going down the list, as you can see i haven't even got past the first few letters.  

Now for Some Humour

No doubt most of you are familiar with emoticons like various forms of smiley faces made by using the keyboard:

:-)       Happy Face
:-D     Big Smile
:-X     Big Wet Kiss
:-O     Hungry

But have you heard of assicons and boobiecons?

(-!-)    Normal Ass
(_!_)   Big Ass
(!)       Tight Ass

(.)(.)     Little Boobies
(o)(o)   Normal Boobies
(O)(O)  Big Boobies

I'm cracking myself up here and hope that no one shows my Mum or I'll be in trouble for not being ladylike.  LOL

Word of Caution - Spelling On The Way Out

I received a text from my 16 year old son and had to check when i got home that my son knew that "What" had an "h " in it and wasn't spelt "Wot".  So many kids (and adults) these days spell phonetically and I'm not sure whether its done by choice or whether they just don't really know how to spell. 

Oh, can i make a disclaimer.  Back in ye ole days I was taught to type - on a real manual typewriter no less - don't laugh.  That is, i was taught to Touch Type at secretarial school along with dictation, shorthand and letter writing.  After 30 years experience typing, I can type as fast as the thoughts pop into my head without looking at the keyboard.  Sometimes, when i am doing this while writing a post i make spelling mistakes that no matter how many times i proof read prior to publishing still make their way through.  I'm not an idiot, i assure you (she doth protest too much)!  I find i make the most mistakes when i am making a comment as i am doing so in a rush usually while squeezing in some me time between tasks. So please excuse the odd spelling mistake and well as my habit of not capitalising "I" .  I really cant be bothered. 

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land Of Oz



  1. Cora spent the night at a friend's and brought the kids cell phone and we got the "I luv u" texts and I don't know why that bothered me, I guess there are some things you can short cut on and not others.

    1. Take it anyway you can because there will be a time when it wont come at all. Mid teenage girls can be real B.....s to their Mum's. Its just normal growing up and separating. Its a rare thing for me to hear endearments but since the last med increase, Tom has been a bit more affectionate. Still treating me like his personal servant but his dad does the same so its a learned thing. Im cool.

  2. I was amused to find the number of 'x's after the signature was important. One man got into serious trouble with his wife when a girl friend (NB friend who was a girl - not girlfriend) signed off with three 'x's. It was a three ex text she complained. To play safe I only ever send my wife three 'x's and limit myself to two to any of my female friends...


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