Tuesday, October 24, 2006
‘On Language’ 10/18: If U chat, not everyone speaks your language
“These abhorrent abbreviations are nothing less than an insidious linguistic plague,” wrote student Patrick Hogan in the University of Chicago’s newspaper, Chicago Maroon. He was complaining about instant-messaging lingo such as “LOL” (“laughing out loud”) and “TTYL” (“talk to you later”).
But how widespread is chat slang among young people? The publishing and online worlds offer plenty of reference material to help you translate abbreviations and slang words used in Web chats and text messages.
I, however, went straight to the source. I took a list of chat slang and did an informal survey of almost 150 students, about half in high school and half in college. Everybody recognized a few of the abbreviations but many of the items stumped them. Are they behind the times, or so ahead of the times that this list is already out of date?
Or has chat slang yet to go mainstream even among young people? As one student wrote, “I hate IM abbreviations, but all my younger sibs use them.”
Here’s what I found: