Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Woz up?

Thanks for the pic, Freefoto.com! Free = cool.

I know this is potentially the World's Most Boring Topic and you may hear a faint 'neigh! neigh!' as I flog this almost dead horse, but text speak really shits me.

Not so much for the purity of the language thang but because it takes me too bloody long to read it.

My marker of an unsuccessful text communication is when I have to lean over to the person sitting next to me on the train and say "I'm so awfully sorry to bother you, but I've just received this very silly message from a very lovely but silly friend and I can't understand a bleedin' word of it. Would you be ever so kind as to tell me what 'ttyl' means?"

Usually said neighbour and the chappy sitting behind us are stumped too. The kid across the aisle suggests 'time to yell loudly' and I throw in 'ten tonne yellow legs' but that doesn't seem to make much sense at all. Half an hour (and several new friends) later we're still no closer to knowing what the heck darn it all means.

So a new study has shown it takes almost a trillion years to read a message in text-speak out loud while it takes only 14 seconds to read a message in 'conventional English'. Frankly I'd rather be creating a new universe or counting blades of grass etc in that trillion years than getting to the nutty core of 'ttyl'.

On the plus side, taking half an hour to read a text may lead to delightful flights of fancy: as Words, Wine, Coffee, Art suggested a few posts ago, 'lol' could easily be 'little old lady'. Throw in a haunted castle, accountant and a set of coloured pencils and we've got a Great Australian Novel. Noice.

4 comments:

squib said...

I don't have a mobile but I ban acronyms at the dinner table because they give me indigestion

words, wine, coffee, art said...

Hi Kettle, I am pleased that I may have played a tiny role in your choice of subject for this blog.
The things that bother me are those emoticons. There are so many of them - where's the dictionary? Even with my very expensive new glasses I can't see any difference between them. I don't dare use one in case it sends a very wrong message.

words, wine, coffee, art said...

Further confessions - I may have used the wrong term 'emoticons'. What I meant were the little smiley faces in our mobiles. And I like to think I'm reasonably techno-savvy!

The Dangerous Kettle said...

No no, you're quite right, Words and Wine! Emoticons they are. A dictionary of emoticons is an excellent idea (I nearly wrote 'a dictionary for emoticons' but that would be an entirely different idea!). I shall have to do some research; perhaps one exists?

I'm terrified of emoticons, too. They seem to have a life of their own, and I suspect are a little evil in that way clowns are (this could just be me; apologies to all the kind-hearted emoticons out there). Perhaps if there is no dictionary there may be a support group?

And hi squib, I like your anti-acronym-at-table rule!