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Monday, November 21, 2011

Emoticons & Texting - C U L8R - Right or Wrong?

I've seen a lot of articles in the press recently concerning emoticons and text message abbreviations. Most of those articles have been written by older members of our society. And most of those articles have come out against the use of both topics.

I guess I could also be considered an 'older member of society'; after all I am over 50 years of age now (a scary thought in itself). So I thought I'd spend a little time today writing about the prevelance of emoticons and word and sentence abbreviations.

The main argument against the use of these things seems to be that they make reading more difficult and that young people today should learn how to write properly and use real grammar and words in sentences. I wonder if those very people would have said the same thing to Shakespeare if they had been living in his day? Actually it may even be the other way around. Shakespeare would cetainly have great difficulty understanding most modern day books and comics. Our usage of the English language has changed considerably over the past four hundred years.

My point is that language, over time, evolves. Who's to say that writing 'see you later' is more correct than 'c u l8r'? Maybe in another hundred years, we'll all be writing that way. We shouldn't be making judgments on how our language is evolving. Only time will determine what sticks and what doesn't. After all, I am writing this article using a host of abbreviated words. Even a couple of hundred years ago, such a thing would have been severely frowned upon, yet now it is perfectly acceptable. New words enter our everyday vocabulary each year. Should we poo poo those as well?

As a writer I try to embrace the use of modern concepts and new ways of expressing myself. Sure, I don't always want to write in shorthand note form or use emoticons with gay abandon, but I'm not going to criticize their use. Who was it that said we should never stand in the way of progrerss? Emoticons and text messaging abbreviations are progress - in their own minor way.

?4U @TEOTD will U <33 me more?   

And if you're interested in a more comprehensive list of abbreviations, take a look here:


  1. Ah, but the difference is that usually when language evolves, pretty much everyone knows about it, with new words sooner or later ending up in the dictionary. These abbreviations look like abracadabra to many people, so they're perhaps more of a dialect within a language.

    Also, I do hope English won't permanently (d)evolve into chat language, to the point that people in the future won't be able to understand what we're writing right now without an advanced course in Early 21st Century English.

    Because even if Shakespeare might not understand much of our language, his English is still close enough to ours that we can read his works and understand most of it. If we would get to a point in the future where every word we're writing right now gets abbreviated, there will also come a time when people will forget what the abbreviated word stands for. If that happens, those future people will miss out on reading and understanding centuries worth of English literature... unless it would all be translated into "Chat English", of course, which in itself would be a monumental, if not impossible (how would they translate Ulysses?) task.

  2. It was 2003 when I joined an online carblub (The Outlaws) and I couldn't understand why these guys were always saying Lots of Love "LOL" I had to ask my son what it meant, but if I remember correctly when my sisters were in high school (They are 7 and 9 years older then me) they took shorthand classes and what they wrote in their steno books, most people wouldn't know unless they understood shorthand. With all our technology (Internet) If you don't know you google it.

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