Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Acronyms - Initialisms & Abbreviations

With the popularity and rise in real-time text-based communications, such as Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, e-mail, Internet and online gaming services, chat rooms, discussion boards and mobile phone text messaging (SMS), came the emergence of a new language tailored to the immediacy and compactness of these new communication media. - fun-with-words.com
Until now, I’ve done my best to stay out of this new world. I’ve declined to learn how to text, and I don’t tweet on Twitter. I routinely ignore people who send texts to my cell phone – after all, it costs me 20¢ to read the darn things! I have a tad-bit of knowledge about the language used by texters and tweeters, but after I read FYI, I’m pretty much in the dark.

According to Net Lingua (the language of the Internet), I’m a member of those unenlightened individuals who remain “confused by the baffling symbols and meaningless strings of letters that litter e-mails, chat rooms, and text messages.”

Yup, that’s me, and I’ve come to realize this isolationist policy (82 million Americans do text regularly) is causing me to fall out of sync with the current word usage of my fellow bloggers, my sisters, (not to mention my grandkids) and even the Oxford English Dictionary.

During a Blog-Meister meeting in May, it was suggested we hook up to Twitter and other social networks in order to promote our blog. Yikes! Then a few weeks ago, my sisters declared “Mary Jane needs to learn how to text,” and promptly united in communicating to me only through text messages. Ouch!

And the last straw? Just yesterday I discovered the highly educated folks at the Oxford English Dictionary announced their official acceptance of terms such as OMG (Oh, my God), FYI (for your information), and LOL (laugh out loud), into the lexicon of official English words. They say they’ve become part of our everyday language, so have included them in their latest dictionary. Fiddlesticks!

I guess it's time to figure out what this "slanguage" is all about. TISNF!

It may be JMO, but I found the Internet Language Dictionary at Net Lingo (www.netlingo.com) to have the most comprehensive list of definitions about computers, the Internet, and the online world of business, technology, and communication. Their lists include thousands of Acronyms & Text Messaging Shorthand Terms, Symbols, and Smileys to help people communicate through the various types of communication media. The following definitions are from this site:
Online Jargon (a.k.a. cyberslang, electronic language, e-mail style, geek-speak, hi-tech lingo, hybrid shorthand, netspeak, slang, slanguage, and textese)

Online jargon is the specialized language, chat acronyms, text message shorthand, and technical lingo that is used while communicating in the online world. Like slang, it can develop as a kind of shorthand, to express ideas that are frequently discussed between members of a group, though it can also be developed deliberately using chosen terms.

Here's an example: "My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :-@ kids FTF. ILNY, it's a gr8 plc." It is translated like this: "My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend, and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It's a great place."

Chat Acronyms (a.k.a. Abbreviations, Initialism, Shorthand, Text Messaging Shorthand)

A nickname for abbreviations of words used primarily in chat rooms and while texting or instant messaging, chat acronyms are popular on the Internet as a modern day type of shorthand for common phrases. This type of shorthand is also seen in e-mail messages, newsgroup postings, discussion boards, and in the media in general.

One reason acronyms and shorthand are used so widely is that it's quicker and easier to type a few letters rather than to type the full expression. They're fun (but they can also be naughty)!

The difference between acronyms and shorthand is that with acronyms, you pronounce the letters as a new word (for example, "NATO" is pronounced "na-toe"). In contrast, shorthand pronunciations are like an initialism (a set of initials) in which you say the letters one-by-one (for example, "ESP" is an initialism for "extra sensory perception."

The online practice is to refer to any online shorthand, initialisms, or abbreviations as acronyms.

Another reason to learn "netspeak"

According to Ammon Shea, consulting editor for Oxford University Press, both acronyms and initialisms are a growing part of our everyday language and “Since it is unlikely that they will go away anytime soon," you might as well learn about them.

Acronym – An abbreviation that forms a new word such as NATO (“Na-toe,” North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

Initialism – An abbreviation in which each letter is capitalized and in which each letter is pronounced, as in RIP (R-I-P, rest in peace) and TMI (T-M-I, too much information).

These examples led me to think about abbreviations I’m more familiar with. I am a member of DAR, an initialism for Daughters of the American Revolution; and I belong to an organization called kNIFVES, an acronym for Northwest Independent Film & Video Entertainment Society. Oh, and I am also a contributor to a blog called WNI, an initialism for Writing North Idaho. (If it was an acronym, it would sound like “whinny” and everyone would think we’re a group of horse lovers.)

As I continued to scroll through the thousands of acronyms, my cynicism eventually evaporated and my love of words overcame my grudging nature to learn a new language at my stage of life; and I began to find the cryptic language both interesting and fun. IMHO, the biggest advantage to using these abbreviations lies in the time-saving ease they offer when communicating - once you learn the pesky little things.

So, now that I understand cyber-speak a little, I'm considering trying to formulate my first text to my sisters - oh yeah, and adding a texting account to my cellphone.

Most Frightful Initialism
SSEWBA (Someday Soon Everything Will Be Acronyms) – which really is an initialism about writing becoming merely a long list of a abbreviations – a truly scary thought!

NIMBY, TYVM! (Not in my back yard, thank you very much!)

Hey, why don't you send me a cyber message or tell me your favorite chat acronym!!

Helpful Sources


Books To Help Understand Internet & Texting Lingo

Net Lingo The Internet Dictionary
This is NetLingo's guide to jargon, acronyms and silly smileys. Reader's Digest described it as "A comprehensive A-Z of every kind of Internet gibberish you are ever likely to encounter." It contains definitions of all sorts of compute
r and
Internet terminology, as well as hilarious acronyms, and smileys. It may open your eyes on terms you have used incorrectly.

WAN2TLK? By Gabrielle Mancier
This is a must-have for fast, smooth talkers! WAN2TLK?: Ltl bk of txt msgs is the first ever guide to text messaging, the hot new way to communicate using a pager, cell phone, email or instant messaging ("IM"ing). Thousands of abbreviations, emoticons and their meanings are shorthand for irresistible pick-up lines and clever replies, scorching romantic exchanges, and insults.

Super Smileys by Pleasant Company Publications
Smileys are great fun and kids especially love to use them to spice up their e-mails, chat room conversations, and text messages. This book presents a whole range of silly faces children can use. Smileys - both original and standard - add a touch of humor to any written communication.

Just a Few Internet Terms

AFAIK – as far as I know

AFAIR - as far as I remember

AFK – away from keyboard

AIAMU - and I'm a monkey's uncle

ATM – at the moment

b/c - because

BBL – be back later – use when offline for longer time than BRB or AFK

BFN – Bye for now

BIO - bring it on

BR – Best regards

BRB – be right back

BTW – by the way

C4N - Caio for now

CTA - call to action

CX - correction

DAMHIKT - don't as me how I know that

EM - Email

EWI - Emailing while intoxicated

FB - Facebook

FWIW – for what it’s worth

GFTD - gone for the day

HTH – hope that helps

HWGA - here we go again

IBIWISI - I'll believe it when I see it

ICYMI – in case you missed it

IDK – I don’t know

IMHO – in my humble opinion

IMO – in my opinion

IRL – in real life

J/K – just kidding

JMO - just my opinion

JSYK - just so you know

LMK – let me know

MBN – must be nice

MITIN – more information than I need

MOF – matter of fact – but be careful with any word that has an “F” in it.

MOS - mom over shoulder

MUBAR – messed up beyond all recognition

NB - Nota Bene. Make sure to read the comments, where there are many great additions.

N1 - nice one

NBIF – no basis in fact

OBX - old battle axe

Orly, O Rly, Rly ORLY – usually sarcastic “Oh, really.”

PCM - please call me

PEBCAK – problem exists between chair and keyboard

RNN - reply not necessary

RTF – read the FAQ

RTQ – read the question

TISNF - this is so not fair

TL;DR – Too long; didn’t read.

TMI – too much information

TTYL – Talk to you later

W/R/T/ – With regards to

YW – you're welcome


Norma said...


Jennifer Rova said...

My favs? W/E = whatever; H/K = hugs and kisses; IMNSHO = In my not-so-humble-opinion. Also love from your list = PEBCAK."They" say that soon we will have a generation of adults who do not know how to spell at all and it will become a problem in business. XCLNT post. TX.

Mary Jane Honegger said...

Thanks, Jennifer. PEBCAK struck a note with me too.

Okay, Norma wrote:

Nice one, Mary Jane
Wonder why I received no text from you?
I'll believe it when I see it. Wink!
Talk to you later, Norma Yost

Guess what? Norma is one of my sisters who is patiently waiting for me to send her a text message.

Dear NY, I'm working on it, but DHYB. (((H))) MJ

Nancy Owens Barnes said...

Mary Jane: Thanks to you and this post, my brain is now officially fried.

John Bagwell Jr. said...

Rappers have their own code phrases and initialisms.

f/ - "featuring" - a secondary performer

"drop" - release a new song/recording