I love the English language. I love French too, but since I happen to know English better, it’s my favorite. Reading it, writing it, speaking it – I’m a fan. So many words, so many alternatives for expressing one’s thoughts, so much potential for discourse. There are a lot of people who have read this blog, many of whom have commented (and who write their own blogs) with far greater eloquence than I will ever have.
Yet, I am feeling so alone.
I recently read that there are now more than 80 million who are texting regularly. 80 million people!! Now, I am not a very good texter. I don’t do conversation in short-hand, counting characters as I go. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and in my little old-school brain, it bugs me that it comes so naturally to everybody else (or to 80 million people other than me – but that seems like a significant enough number that I can refer to them as the collective ‘everybody’). Anyway, I just looked up ‘texting’ on Google – and printed off 40 pages of acronyms. Forty pages of abbreviated ways that people can arguably communicate with each other. Really? This is communicating? This is what you’re doing while you’re driving, rolling your shopping cart down the supermarket aisles, walking on the street – all in the name of staying in touch (and multi-tasking – or so you think)?
143; 459; 831; ILU; ILY all mean ‘I love you’. 1432 -‘I love you more'; IWALU – ‘I will always love you'; ILUAAF – ‘I love you as a friend'; LUL – ‘love you lots’ LYLB – ‘love you later bye’. I could go on…I can’t even count the number of phrases with a certain epithet that rhymes with ‘truck’ – well I could, but there were just too many per page to sustain my interest. ROFL – ‘rolling on the floor laughing'; ROTFL – ‘rolling on the floor laughing'; ROTFLMAO – ‘rolling on the floor laughing my ass off’…there’s also ROTGLMAO – ‘rolling on the ground laughing my ass off’. I’m so glad that they’ve added enough options so that you can use different nouns.
There are some that are just plain stupid – AFJ – ‘April Fool’s Joke’ – how often do you need to use that expression to justify writing it in short-hand? RLF – ‘real life friend’. I don’t know how to say this gently, but if you have friends that exist only in your imagination – I understand – but perhaps it would help if you talked to someone about this FTF (face-to-face).
I am officially going anti-acronym. I am guilty of writing ‘lol’, even ‘rofl’ and yes, ‘btw’ has come up in more than one message from yours truly. And reading this list has shown me that we are giving each other and the English language short shrift. The other night Andy and I watched a family of four sit down at a restaurant, each completely immersed in his/her smartphone. They didn’t say one word to each other. They also ate with a fork in one hand, and kept texting with the other. Ok, it’s not how I would define family fun time, but clearly I’m missing something. I guess I haven’t gotten the 411 on the benefits of not speaking directly with each other, looking at someone’s face or enjoying the rhythmic dance of conversation. It would seem that m.02 (my two cents if you can believe it) is really outdated and over-valued. The joy of reading a descriptive sentence, the first class seat on a flight of imagination that is provided courtesy of language. And talking? I think it’s becoming passé, much like cursive. Perhaps it will be taught as part of the history curriculum someday (which will be provided online and with all the appropriate abbreviations to accelerate course completion).
Sigh…I think my cool factor just went down about forty points. But my cynicism quotient is definitely up. We are short-circuiting our connections in the name of staying connected. And I’m not down with that. So I am SMH (shaking my head) sending you a 5FS4N (five finger salute for now – which I sure hope means ‘bye for now’) and committing to doing my part to keep written and oral communication alive and well. :-) Oh, that means I’m smiling – emoticons are ok right?