04 Jun

My last blog on language ended with wondering if texting abbreviations could be considered language. Arguably, before texting came acronyms used in the computer community. A miniscule sampling is below and these are G-rated. Believe me, there are many of the more risqué samples.

AFAIK: As Far As I Know
AKA: Also Known As
ASAP: As Soon As Possible
BTW: By The Way
BRB: Be Right Back
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
FYI: For Your Information
FWIW: For What It’s Worth
GD&R: Grinning, Ducking and Running (After snide remark)
IANAL: I Am Not A Lawyer (But…)
IDK: I don’t know
IMHO: In My Humble Opinion
IMO: In My Opinion
IYKWIM: If You Know What I Mean
JM2C: Just My 2 Cents
LOL: Laughing Out Loud
OTOH: On The Other Hand
PMFJI: Pardon Me For Jumping In (a polite way to get into a discussion
PS: Post Script
ROTFL: Rolling On The Floor Laughing
SWALK: Sealed With A Loving Kiss
TIA: Thanks In Advance
TPTB: The Powers That Be
TTFN: Ta Ta For Now
TWIMC: To Whom It May Concern
YWIA: You’re welcome in advance

Next, let us not forget the emoticons that communicate feelings. There are also many of these I could list.

🙂 🙂 :>   Smiling, happy faces; don’t take me too seriously
😉 😉 ;>   Winking happy faces (something said tongue-in-cheek)
😮          “Oh, nooooooo!” (a la Mr. Bill)
😦           Sad or disappointed face
😛          Tongue stuck out
<g>        Grin
&:-)        From a person with curly hair
@:-)       From a person with wavy hair
#:-)         From a person with matted hair

For more, go to Acronyms & Emoticons Used in the Computer Community.

From, the first two definitions refer to words and communication by voice. The next three definitions are:

3. the system of linguistic signs or symbols considered in the abstract ( opposed to speech).

4. any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another.

5. any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.: the language of mathematics; sign language.

Are acronyms and emoticons language? Are people in such a hurry that they have to abbreviate instead of spell out the whole word or sentence? Does using these types of communication mean we are losing our language or at least, the skill to know the proper spellings and usage? Are we getting lazier?

So, let the debate begin. Please weigh in.


Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Idaho, research


Tags: , ,

18 responses to “FWIW

  1. Liz Fredericks

    June 4, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    LOL ~ I ❤ this post ~ IMHO u r so very talented @ showing the nuances of human discourse. Uv also grntd me ideas 4 a %#$^%$& load of plot lines. IANAL (my personal favorite of those I've discovered in your blog), anyhoo, IANAL, but u da bom, BaBe

    JM2C . . . FWIW, for nearly every other word, I had to refer to the cheat sheet you've kindly provided to us. Wow (actually, just wow, doesn't stand for anything that I'm aware of, but blogging friends may know differently?) . . . wow, I had no idea or should that be WIHNI ~ get it, &;-)

  2. Janis McCurry

    June 4, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    OMG, it is a different way of communicating, isn’t it?

  3. Meredith Allen Conner

    June 4, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    I haven’t had my coffee yet this morning, so I can’t be nearly as clever as you ladies – however, I will say that language is an ever evolving form of communication. Just think of the difference from Shakespearean times to now. Texting is a new addition to our language. IMHO – now, I finally know what you have been saying in your emails Janis!!!! Thank you for this and now to my much needed cup of coffee. 🙂

    • Janis McCurry

      June 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      You’re welcome. I think we need to be aware of the new ways to communicate, but still hold on to the nuances of our great language.

  4. Peggy Staggs

    June 4, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Okay, it’s going to take me an hour to decipher Liz’s reply. As one who struggles with her native language, I’m going to stick with the basics. 😉
    To the real topic. Yes, I do believe people are becoming language lazy, but I bet those in Shakespeare’s time thought so too. I blame texting and our new need to remain in contact with everyone all the time.

  5. Janis McCurry

    June 4, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    The need to remain in contact “all the time” does take time, so perhaps that’s why shortening meanings has become prevalent. So much to text, so little time.

  6. ValRoberts

    June 4, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    The military has had a different language for…well, pretty much forever. They have a three-letter acronym for the term “three-letter acronym” (TLA, if anyone cares). I still don’t understand why “IED” is preferred over “bomb,” but you only have to listen to a couple of quotes from military briefings/press conferences to know that it is.

    My editor and I had an argument over the military term “silent running.” She’d never heard of it. I pointed out it was the title of a Bruce Dern movie in 1971 and had been in military use since the submarine service of WWII. She won that round, but I managed to keep “unassing,” as in, “We’ll be unassing from this chopper in two minutes.”

    For the record, among my circle of friends WoW stands for World of Warcraft. I don’t play MMOs (massive multiplayer online games) or FPSs (first-person shooters), so I don’t know much gaming lingo. But it’s out there, too.

    Totes muppet-flail, Janis. Way more squee! than whatevs. VBEG
    (English translation: Most excellent post, Janis. I liked it a lot. Insert Very Big Evil Grin here.)

    • Janis McCurry

      June 4, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      Val, I debated entering military short-speak because the only ones I knew were SNAFU and FUBAR and this is a family-rated blog! I know there are more, however, and then we have the career-specific TLAs, etc. Whew. Now that I’m thinking about it, it boggles my mind! Thanks for bringing the military and gaming into the fray.

  7. ramblingsfromtheleft

    June 4, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Okay Janis … I must insist that Liz jumped into my brain and took my ideas. Yes, the #of it all, the @to point to a place, the 140 characters (Note: not words) to communicate messages in clipped, short, often weird ways … Maybe I should ask my BFF if I need another lesson in cyber-facebook- cell phone-twitter speak? That BFF is my techno-obsessed daughter and her GenX friends who seem to understand what the old boomer struggles to learn. I need some TLC to cure me of this SOP or find the TOD for my last vic … find clues in CODIS, or AVIS or call Mark Harmon at NCIS since Peterson left CSI ??? What???

  8. Janis McCurry

    June 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I understand perfectly. 😉

  9. maryvine

    June 4, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    I’ve been laughing over the comment section, but Janis, I do need the help, so thank you.

  10. Janis McCurry

    June 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Any time, Mary.

  11. Marsha R. West

    June 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Been out of town in lovely, cool So. CA. So I’m playing catch up with emails and blogs. I only use a couple of the accronyms. Mostly, can’t remember them. So Janis, thanks for putting so many in one place. Very helpful. I hope whatever Liz said wasn’t important. It would take me a long time to decipher. 🙂 I do think we’re suffering a dumbing down of our communications skills. 176 characters for Twitter? Haven’t gone there yet. As a former speech teacher, I think it’s important for us to develop the skills to persuade people about important issues. We need logic and reasoning skills to cut through some of the goolash (sp?) we read in papers/interner or hear on TV.
    I don’t believe 176 characters will accomplish that goal. At least in a blog you have an ability to expand. LOL (See, I do use some of the little gems.)
    And since I write so long winded anyway, maybe I should put everything in the 176 characters first and then expand only as necessary. Guess I’d have novelas rather than 90 K novels. But hey, I understand those are big sellers right now. Great post Janis, and thanks again for the list.

  12. Janis McCurry

    June 4, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Marsha, I also read an article today that young people who text no longer automatically look people in the eyes when conversing. They are in the habit of head down, eyes glued to the phone display. The article pointed out it won’t help them in job interviews or in getting along with people.

  13. Clarissa Southwick

    June 5, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Efficient, not lazy. Great list, Janis. I’m sure I’ll be referring back to it since there’s no way I could keep them all straight on my own.

  14. Janis McCurry

    June 5, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    And new ones will be generated!

  15. Lynn Mapp

    June 6, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Janis, my head is spinning. MHIS. Thanks for sharing

  16. Janis McCurry

    June 7, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    And, there’s a new one…


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