Language is dynamic.
Take any linguistics course, and the ever-changing nature of language is one of the first things you learn. Over time, words morph and change into completely new animals. This is why Charles Spurgeon frequently referred to God as awful in his sermons. It is why Michael Jackson sang a whole song about being bad, and somehow that was a good thing. It is why, “That’s sick!” is a compliment.
But we must ask ourselves, is there a point where society has gone too far?
In recent years a new phenomenon has made its way into the vernacular. It started with text messages and was heightened to a new level with the advent of Twitter. Due to the space constraints in these mediums, it seems Americans are increasingly unable to compose a thought longer than 140 characters.
Innocent enough at first, people would replace common phrases with simple acronyms. As English teachers everywhere cringed, teenagers coined terms such as: LOL (laugh out loud), ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing), TTYL (talk to you later), and the rarely used ICBINB (I can’t believe it’s not butter).
However, what started as simple truncation for the sake of squeezing a complete thought into a tweet is no longer reserved for smartphone screens.
Hyper-Abbreviation is the unnecessary truncation of normal, everyday words in speech communication. While this deplorable act should have caused outrage over the molestation of the beloved English language, it has paraded into the vernacular unannounced and laid siege to the tongues of a great many youth. And not just the youth, as I have encountered several college graduates pursuing advanced degrees who frequently commit this egregious error in communication.
In truth, text messages and tweets do create space constraints that sometimes makes abbreviations or acronyms necessary. However, in speech communication, this is simply not so. There is no need to shave off the back half of a word in normal conversation.
If you, like myself, are appalled by this act, perhaps you will find the remainder of this post helpful. The following is my attempt at a simple guide to help you identify the Hyper-Abbreviators around you.
Hyper-Abbreviation: A Manual
Abbrevs – n. (short for abbreviations) the term given to any and all words that have been unnecessarily truncated
ex: Boy, Johnny sure does use a lot of abbrevs when he talks.
A list of common abbrevs:
- Totes – totally
- Def – definitely (as in “most def”)
- Presh – precious (not to be confused with preesh see below)
- Preesh – to appreciate
- Reg – regular (as in “on the reg”)
- Divs – divas (pronounced deevs)
- Perf – perfect
- Delish – delicious
- Jelly – jealous
- Adorbs – adorable
Here are some examples of abbrev usage in everyday conversations:Person 1 – Can you believe the way Franklin and Henry are acting? Person 2 – Oh, they’re just being a couple of divs! Person 1 – Most def Person 1 – Have you seen Ashley’s new boyfriend? Person 2 – Yeah, he’s so presh. Person 1 – Totes adorbs Person 2 – I know, right? I’m so jelly.
Certainly, this manual is a work in progress. You tell me, what abbrevs have I left out? Is there something else that belongs on this list?