10 Tex­ting ab­bre­vi­a­tion and emoji tips

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - EDITORIAL - Ted Markle

In re­cent years our lan­guage has been rammed through a dig­i­tal Moulinex with nu­anced words fun­nelled in one end and blended ab­bre­vi­a­tions com­ing out the other, and to­day we are con­fronted with the ad­di­tional flurry of puz­zling emo­jis.

It’s worse than Ge­orge Or­well pre­dicted in his novel, 1984, where with the goal of con­trol­ling dis­sent, the of­fi­cial lan­guage of the to­tal­i­tar­ian state was be­ing con­tin­u­ously culled of su­per­flu­ous words. Limit the vo­cab­u­lary and you can limit thought it­self. Seems to me the in­for­ma­tion age has taken Or­well’s dark vi­sion one step fur­ther and is elim­i­nat­ing the need for words al­to­gether!

This hits home in our daily lives. Have you strug­gled with in­ter­pret­ing your chil­dren’s cor­re­spon­dence? If you are for­tu­nate enough to ac­tu­ally re­ceive a timely re­sponse to your text mes­sages (for­get email al­to­gether, to­tal waste of time), does their re­ply still need to be read aloud or be fed through Bletch­ley Park’s Enigma ma­chine for decoding? Does it some­times seem like we’re play­ing that old game show – Bumper Stumpers – where stut­ter­ing con­tes­tants had seven sec­onds to de­ci­pher the hid­den mean­ing of an end­less sup­ply of van­ity li­cense plates?

If any of this sounds fa­mil­iar, I’ve sifted through a se­ries of tex­ting ex­changes with my chil- dren and other younger folk, have done some home­work, and am here to help!

Here are 10 es­sen­tial tips and tricks.

1. A PO­TATO …is ac­tu­ally not a spud but rather a “Per­son Over Thirty Act­ing like Twenty-One.” (A slight with which I have been un­wit­tingly scal­loped on more than one oc­ca­sion.)

2. While we’re into food­stuffs, in case you’ve been re­ferred to as a PITA and thought you were be­ing called a tasty flat bread… How does “Pain In The Ass” sound?

3. The ad­di­tion of a wink­ing emoji at the end of an of­fen­sive or in­sult­ing text is akin to a ver­bal in­sult that fin­ishes with “Uhh, just kid­ding.” …Uhh, no you’re not.

4. TL; dr was one that had me per­plexed. I had hoped it was a re­spon­si­ble re­sponse mean- ing, Toot-a-loo, I’m Driv­ing. Turns out the ac­cu­rate in­ter­pre­ta­tion is “Too Long; Didn’t Read.”

5. The au­thor­i­ta­tive web­site emo­ji­pedia.org fea­tures 3 emo­jis with stuck-out tongues. One with eyes open , one with one eye closed and one with both eyes closed. I’m at a loss here. So, as my mother would say, “Don’t stick your tongue out.”

6. IANAL gen­er­ated some snick­ers and be­wil­der­ment when I first read it in a text mes­sage. Re­lax, it ac­tu­ally means “I Am Not A Lawyer.”

7. I in­ter­preted this emoji as that uni­ver­sal ques­tion, “Do My Pits Smell?” Emo­ji­pedia.org ex­plains it is ac­tu­ally a “Face With OK Ges­ture.”

Go fig­ure.

8. This emoji in fact is not a com­mand to give me 10 push-ups, but rather an ex­pres­sion of grat­i­tude. So, thank God I don’t have to do those any more.

9. The overuse of all caps, ex­cla­ma­tion and ques­tion marks is at the root of many a mis­un­der­stand­ing and per­sonal af­front… GET MY DRIFT!!!???

It’s enough to make you want to pick up the phone and ac­tu­ally talk to some­one – or bet­ter yet, seek them out for a face-to-face ex­change. I leave you with my own re­cently in­vented ab­bre­vi­a­tion.

10. UYW – this is my handy re­ply to an un­in­tel­li­gi­ble mes­sage or emoji-string from an en­ti­tled mil­len­nial or a brood­ing teenager. It stands for Use Your Words.

Ted Markle, a news­pa­per in­dus­try vet­eran of more than 30 years and for­mer pres­i­dent of TC Me­dia, is a keen ob­server of the hu­mor­ous side of the hu­man sit­u­a­tion. He ap­pears in this space ev­ery Mon­day. You can reach him at ted. markle@tc.tc. – Twit­ter : @ted­markle

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