Acronyms are not only appearing in texts and messages, some are actually being adopted into the Oxford English Dictionary as acceptable words. LOL (laugh out loud), OMG (Oh, my God), BFF (best friends forever), and IMHO (in my humble opinion), are among 900 new words and slang recently added to this dictionary. If we are to keep up with the times, we have to quickly learn and understand the latest acronyms, just we can understand what others are saying. One almost needs decryption software just to decipher some of the new and popular acronyms used today!
Have you noticed that many people don’t have house phones anymore? They just have cell phones (which they hardly answer). More often than not, rather than calling someone on the phone, they text the person they want to talk to. This is quicker and they don’t have to deal with actually having to talk to them in person. The result is an impersonal message filled with acronyms, short phrases and abbreviations for words that sometimes need some translation efforts before the message is understood correctly. Today’s youth and adults are beginning to lose their social communication skills.
Let's take a look at a sample text that two people might have and what it might look like.
Speaker 1: sup?
Speaker 2: brb
Speaker 1: o rly? Np
Speaker 2: back
Speaker 1: k movie?
Speaker 1: w/e
Speaker 2: otoh, dinner?
Speaker 1: ROFL
Speaker 2: ROFL
Speaker 1: Call u L8R
Speaker 2: xoxo <3
Ok, now what does the above text actually mean in real language?
Speaker 1: What's up?
Speaker 2: Hold on a minute, I'll be right back.
Speaker 1: Oh, really? No problem.
Speaker 2: I'm back.
Speaker 1: Ok, do you want to go to a movie?
Speaker 2: It doesn't matter, whatever you want. On the other hand, it might be nice to go out for dinner.
Speaker 1: That is so funny, I'm laughing!
Speaker 2: Me, too!
Speaker 1: I'll call you later.
Speaker 2: hugs and kisses
While we all need to change with the times, it becomes worrisome to see that many people’s social language and written language skills are declining. We are too often in a hurry to get things done and do not or will not to take the time to engage in real conversations. Texting is shorter, more convenient, and takes much less effort than a live conversation. Our language skills are deteriorating, and many people do not even realize it. Texting terms and acronyms are spilling into emails we write and some students and adults are experiencing difficulty constructing cohesive written documents with correct grammar and punctuation. Modern technology is a wonderful thing, and I am all for it. I can text with the best of them. However, we must remember that effective communication is the key to success and avoid the pitfalls the convenience of modern technology provides.