Every Generation Has Its Slang
I remember when I first heard a classmate use the word "cool" to imply "hot," or when "hassle" as in "don’t hassle me, man" went from being strange to common; for that matter I remembe when I had to ask a friend who works in advertising what to "blog" meant. We have all gotten used to new words, and to the buzz words that define a time, and a generation. And that leads me to wonder about the abbreviations of the texting world. I am so behind I still have to think through common terms like LOL, IHMO. And that leads me to a broader question — do you think texting is a temporary dialect, or the start of something more significant.
Argument for temporary: texting is a product of a given moment in technology — small keypads, writing with your thumbs, the cost structure of various cell plans. We already have "smart" keypads that guess what you want to say — so you input a texting term and the device "translates" that into a regular word. As the intelligence of the machines improve, the need for abbreviations will decline.
Argument against temporary: kids like the idea that they are creating their own terminology, they don’t want their words translated; they will disable that function, or use it in some other way.
Argument for temporary: a subset of kids will, but their younger siblings will tire of this game.
Against against temporary: in fact what those younger kids will do is to further shift langue towards the hieroglphic, writing in a kind of tech-rebus where an image carries the thought, instead of the abbreviation. Just as the Semetic languages have consonants but not vowels, and you have to add in marks to indicate which vowel you mean, we will communicate in images with txt codes indicating which meaning you have in mind.
Argument for temporary: so you say, predictions that images will replace words have been all the rage throughout this decade, and have yet to prove true. In fact kids are using more words all of the time — as well as (not instead of) images, sound, youtube.
So, what do you think, is txting important, transitory, the beginning of something we are only starting to understand? (And, by the way, this whole discussion ties to the Times article I including in my last blog — that was about What Is Reading? In a sense, this is about What Is Writing?)