Abbreviation in TEXTING – is it really OKAY long term?


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…this list is endless. Most of us do it and most of us aren’t sure why other than saying – well it’s faster, and when you are texting, speed is everything.

Sure I get it, the whole thing about texting is that you want to get a short message to someone very quickly, but the question still needs to be asked, is it good long term? And in particular is it good for ESL people when you all have a spell checker there on your phone.

So from my point of view: two things:

  1. Yes, it is okay because we are not all sheep, we know the difference between texting and sending a formal letter to a prospective employer, and we know as ESL teachers and students, that exploring both and understanding the time and place for these is as important a thing in English as it is in itself important to get right. Saying that – someone somewhere in the ESL learner’s life has to make it clear. There are a lot of people who aren’t clear about the time and place, particularly if you haven’t ever written anything formal before.


  1. Some abbreviations are just stupid! For example – any abbreviation that describes an emotion instead of actually writing the sound of it, has got to end. E.g. anyone who writes LOL – stop it! What happened to good old ‘hahahaha….’, when ever do we describe our emotions in words. If something is funny in real life – do we tap the person on the shoulder and say ‘laughing out loud’ – o – we …..actually laugh out loud! – for heaven’s sake!

One of the most interesting things about a language is that in this day and age it is an extremely mobile animal. Even those languages that people thought were pure are now getting corrupted with all kinds of new international phrases. But the key to this change is not just the introduction of new modern vocabulary, it’s also the usage.

Who could have ever thought that a phone that we used to have attached to a wall in 1965 is now something that you can hold in your hand and actually write on – unthinkable 30 years ago. Writing was something you only did on a paper with a pen, the dream was more – what if we had a ‘type-writer’?

So as the way we communicate changes, so does the impact on language generally.

However, I will admit the rate of change in the methods of communication in the last 30 years has been incredibly fast compared to the previous 100 years and prior to that the last 1000 years. But one thing is constant, change happens and we adapt to it.

But with all the change there are some things that just haven’t, and that is respect. I know some of you may say, respect has changed in the sense that we no longer call our boss Mr or Mrs, yes, true, but actually we still have the same amount of respect for them, particularly if they are good to us, done something positive worth noting and are paying our salaries – we have to. This means that we do need to think about how we communicate with them. The language we use with them is different than the language with our buddies. It always has been and it always will be.

This is why I feel there is no need to worry about ‘abbreviations in texting’, the key is to know who you are writing to. If you are writing to your boss to explain quickly why you are running late – use the spell checker and be professional, if it is your friend – use whatever abbreviations or emoticons you want!

……oh and again….stop using LOL for heavens sake!…(Just my own pet peeve)

What do you think?


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