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.