Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the last 12 years, you probably own a mobile phone. And having a mobile phone means you can send and receive text messages, through a text messaging service. A text message has replaced the telegram and the perfunctory phone calls. Our mobile phones have become a necessity. They have even become parts of our lifestyle and an extension of our limbs. (we didn’t say arms or hands because we’ve seen people text with their toes! We kid you not!) In short, they’ve become indispensable.
A lot of people text all the time while doing other things. It’s called multi-tasking, and because people try to do two (or three, or four) things all at the same time, we have come up with text-speak. In some slangs dictionary, text-speak is a language invented by SMS (short messaging service) users to communicate with each other, while taking into account the speed and brevity of SMS. Yes, in layman’s terms, these text-speak words are texting abbreviations that make texting messages faster and easier. When you text someone, you don’t have to spell out words anymore. There are short-cuts, and those words are probably in texting how to manuals. Novices and the more, uhm, mature ones might not be too adept at figuring out text-speak. They might feel like they need a special dictionary of sorts to make sense out of all the slang words and abbreviations used.
Minimal effort, time and money are involved when sends an SMS and text message. It’s speedy! It’s a cinch! However, it’s also annoying when taken too far. Here are some common cringe-worthy examples:
1. u for you
2. r for are
3. y for why
4. d, da, or teh for the
5. dis for this
6. dat for dat
7. dun for done
8. hu for who
9. c for see
10. 2nyt or 2nite for tonight
11. 2mrw, 2moro, 2morrow, tom or tmrw for tomorrow
12. l8 for late
13. gr8 for great
14. h8 for h8
15. cum for come (so wrong…)
16. rox or rawks for rocks (“X-Men:First Class rox!”; Okaaay. But you don’t)
17. sux for sucks
Okay, majority of us may be guilty of using all these text-speak words, especially when we send text messaging to our friends. Who isn’t fond of shortcuts anyway? BUT at the risk of pissing off your textmate (the one you send an sms or text to, duh), here’s why you should resist the urge to refer to her as U instead of YOU:
1. Text-speak is hard to decipher
Text-speak, when taken too far, is hard to decipher. Not everyone you text with are experts at this. Your parents are perfect examples. Those who are a bit on the ahem, older side, like your aunts, uncles, grandparents, belong to the old school. They can hardly get themselves to text, how much more to understand this generation’s text language? So please, spare your oldies from your amazing text-speak skills. While they would love to hear from you, it wouldn’t mean so much if they can’t understand what you are trying to say, would it?
2. Text-speak may be misunderstood
And you all know how one phrase taken the wrong way can literally break relationships and friendships. See #15 of the list. If the person you have sent a text message to is not very familiar with text-speak, she can be offended with what you have texted her. How rude! Expect a slap at least to compensate for what you have told her. You cuming? Urgh. Yes, you may abbreviate but ensure that the message is clear and you haven’t funnily cut the words into offensive little things.
3. Text-speak is not professional
We’re saying that don’t ever use text-speak when sending text messages to colleagues, especially to your boss. Your personal and professional lives should be different and separated. It’s hard to respect someone who texts: “hey all. i wil b l8 2 wrk. rain sux.” Co-workers, no matter how casual your relationship is with them, deserve a message that’s easy to read and correctly spelled. You don’t want to give them an idea that they have hired someone who cannot spell the simplest words, right?
Text-speak. It IS fast, easy and convenient to communicate using text messaging. That’s why people text all the time! They text in meetings, at church (oops!), in theaters, and at restaurants. They text during games, at concerts and in the library. They text in supermarket aisles, in the car (hopefully, while parked and not while not driving, because that’s illegal in most countries), and at the airport. They text while waiting in line, while shopping and while sipping coffee. They text in the salon, at the park and at the beach. We wonder what people will come up with next, considering how often we all text. But again, keep in mind that there are certain restrictions and limitations in using text-speak. Text messages should keep our bonds with other people stronger, by constantly communicating with our friends and loved ones, and not to alienate them by using out-of-this-world words. There’s a food for thought. Anyway, TTYL!