Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009

I’ve never been a fan of shortening words just for the sake of saying less…it’s just a lazy way of speaking. Now I understand that there are words and terms in the vernacular that are interchangeable, like saying ‘info’ instead of ‘information’, or ‘cell’ instead of ‘cellular’…sometimes the short form takes over and replaces the actual word. But there are times that people will shorten things just for the sake of saving a syllable. Do you really need to say ‘convo’ instead of ‘conversation’…or ‘deets’ instead of ‘details’? ‘Penetanguishine’ is always referred to as ‘Penetang’…is it really that difficult or obtrusive to say the extra 2 syllables? Nobody shortens ‘Kitchener’ to ‘Kitch’, do they?

We live in a world now where email, instant messaging, and texting are primary forms of communication. To a new user, learning the accepted forms of communication via text would require an individual glossary of terms. I’m one of the few people who texts still using proper English, and I can’t in good conscience type ‘u’ instead of ‘you’. We don’t pay per character, and it takes approximately one second longer to type the entire word (unless you’re my brother). My ex-girlfriend used to always text ‘tomoro’ instead of ‘tomorrow’ and it would seriously aggravate me. How lazy do you have to be to not even be able to add those extra two letters?

I was talking to my friend Jodi on messenger the other night, and at the end of our conversation, I typed ‘ttyl’…and before I closed the window, she typed ‘What does that mean?’ I said ‘Talk to you later’…and she said ‘No, wait! I need to know what that means!’ That’s not a joke…that’s for real. This is what I mean…there should be a glossary of terms for people to reference who have no idea how to interpret ttyl, ttfn, l8r, btw, lmao, rofl, nh, and many others.
But in this maddening trend to shorten everything, sometimes the opposite happens. Take for instance, the lovely Canadian tradition of referring to a case of beer as a ‘two-four.’ Now, when you refer to a case of beer as a ‘two-four’…you’re actually making it longer! ‘Case’ is a one-syllable word, and everyone knows that it means 24 bottles, so why say ‘two-four’? Can you imagine a conversation like this:

“So, I went to the beer store, and got a case of Coors Light for the weekend.”
“How many bottles?”

NO! That would never happen. Twenty-four bottles is the default, everyone knows this! You don’t refer to a package of cigarettes as a ‘two-five’…it’s just ‘a pack.’

There’s a funny trend in the poker world too. Everyone loves to tell a poker story, and as people tell their respective stories, there are three terms that you can hear a lot: ‘flat call’, ‘smooth call’, and ‘cold call.’ But here’s the thing…they all mean the same thing! And they all mean ‘call’. There’s nothing fancy about adding these extras words, because ‘I flat called’ just means ‘I called’. Why are you making the story longer? So you can sound like you just finished reading a poker glossary? (Attention poker players: do not email me or leave comments explaining that ‘smooth call’ means you have the best hand. I know the subtle nuances of the terms, but at their core, they all just mean ‘call’ in the context of telling a story.)

As someone with an English degree, who still enjoys writing, it’s frustrating for me to see the unnecessary shortening (and lengthening) of the English language, in words and in text.

Just thought I’d share my rant with you.



Anonymous said...

pretty f'n funny

Matt said...

as someone from the icq generation who has better things to do then spell out words, when phonetically speaking works just as well for our uber k0ol l337 speak, i will side on the lazy short hand typing side.

i would explain more but i gotta 'ruse.

lots of love,

person who refuses to sign a email/letter/post with a single letter used to identify their name, followed by a grammatically incorrect period!

Suzanne said...

Funny - S. - almost as funny as Séan :)

Sean said...

wéét wéét.

Nice one, Sue.

Glad you two got it. :)

Paul S. said...

When someone is said to have "smooth called" it's usually from the guy who got beaten, in any number of "unbelievable" turn or river scenarios...there are several players who seem to think they have a copyright on that term in my opinion!

Hebs said...

I had to google 'roflmfao' the other day. I'm with you - I can't shorten words for the sake of convenience. Oh wait, I do use...


any2crds said...

As an eglnsih mjoar, i'm surpsiesd u dnot aprpaicete wintsiseng the gowrth of a bnrad new lgnauaage. I tihnk it's birlilniat. It wsa’nt mroe tahn 2 wekes ago i dyrcepetd (wtih the hlep of an eglnsih mjoar) waht bff was (bset fierdns frevoer). As a prosen who can 1 figner tpye 30 wdros a mnitue (lkoniog at the kyerboad), the derffneice bweteen 3 ltetrs syanig the smae tnihg as 20 ltetrs (ilcudnig the sapce, u sitll hve 2 hit a key...) can svae me sverael muniets in a day. Tnhak god 4 taht... The applications 4 tihs form of communication r edlnses. Sohrt hnad had its day... If ervyenoe at a lgrae cmanpoy lkie RIM 4 epxamle wulod tpye taht way, tehy cuold svae hdnuderds of dlolras in lsos prevetnoin. Tihnk of the doros tihs oneped if u had to drses dwon a subroniadte in the coprroate wrlod. “… WTF?!?! We need to discuss your lunch presentation behavior”. If yuor supreoir saw the eimal, u cuold be in 4 a repmirnad yuorslef, but … with tihs new lnagauge u can say “I’m noy srue what YOU tinhk I said mam, but WTF means Wensedady, Truhsady, Firady?”
Hviang siad all that, I bieleve mroe pelpoe are strinatg 2 use taht form of comnumoictan, vreblaly. E.G. “OMG, WTF did u jsut sanp call me wtih?!?! …” Get it?... By not syiang the wodrs u ralely did not sewar, thus u hvae not ofnefded the dnokey u r adsserdnig nor did u beark eqtiutete or toumrnuaent reuls (on pkr). I’m srue taht’s jsut 1 of a dzoen expamles.
Tihs is jsut the strat of cahgnnig the way we comnumicate. Wehhter it’s sohrt vesrion tetxing like “ttyl” or the dmraatic and decsritpive “snap call”. Tehy will all mkae tehir way into our lievs and be jsut as acectabple to the gerenal “Egnlsih sepkanig” pbuilc as “Pig Latin” and “Ebonics” are. U r rihgt, taht was vrey raical of me.... “Swine Latin”
Bges the quseiton, wahts the nxet form of lagnugae ginog to look like?

Sean said...

I'm embarrassed to say that I was able to understand all of that...