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SMS Lingo

I remember the time when my friend sent an SMS to her boyfriend saying, “Hey, sorry for rplyn It. Wsbsy n cls. KOTC.Plz cl. M ttly dvtd2u. bye4nw.”

I also remember seeing the look on her face when her boyfriend replied. “What?!” he’d asked. “I sent him a message of love and all he has to say is, “What?!”’ she exclaimed in astonishment and anger. That incident made me think of how so many people use SMS lingo; but for all they know, it may be plain gibberish to the receiver. And it might lead to unnecessary fights, as it happened with my friend.

Words are used to express thoughts, actions, feelings, everything else under the sun and beyond. Words are used to illustrate pictures. But today, these words have been reduced to “SMS lingo”. The mobile-phone generation uses lingo like “AFAIK”, “CID”< “F2F”, “BRB”, “HAND”, “IMHO”, and “YYSSW”. For people like me who at first glance don’t understand those abbreviations – and I know you’re out there – they stand for, “As far as I know”, “Consider it done” or “Crying in disgrace”, “Face to face”, “Be right back”, “Have a nice day”, “In my humble opinion”, and “Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever”. Phew!

We have become so totally engrossed in using such short forms on our phones, on Facebook, and on Twitter that we have forgotten the beauty of words. Our lives are being engulfed so smoothly by technology that we no longer notice the difference between “going to: and “gonna”. For people like me, it’s “not happening”. The true meanings of words are being lost. Users of SMS lingo will offer justifications on the grounds that it saves them time. But I wonder… it this lingo needs explanation, how exactly does it save time?

My generation has transformed “what’s up” to “wassup”. Come on! Does “wassup” look exciting and “what up” boring? Or maybe it’s just plain fun Gen-Y? It seems I’m missing something here. SMS lingo is now part of our lives. But to use SMS lingo in presentations or answer papers is unacceptable! WABI (what a bright idea) will lead to EOD (end of discussion).

These short forms take away the meaning of the words. For example, thank you is now “TQ”. If someone doesn’t have the energy to even type the words, I doubt they are actually thankful. Because in the end all we have are letters.

Some time ago my friend asked me for a “CK” treat. “Now what could ‘CK’ be?” I asked myself. It could be a book, food, make-up, a dress, or some kind of gadget. In other words, it could be just about anything! I was tearing my hair out only to realise that all she wanted was a cake.

From that day, according to my peers, I was “stupid” because I didn’t know this “SMS lingo”. But really, the joke’s on them. Because one day soon they are going to wake up and realise that the next generation has forgotten how to spell and they are partly to blame.

Excerpted from The Chronicle, a newspaper produced by students of Commits Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication, Bangalore

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