OMG liek r u rly readng ths? I cnt beleev it that’s srsly so kewl. U r 2 knd. LOL gtg bbl i’ll cul8r!
Did you understand any of that? I didn’t think so. Why would you, unless you are texting 13-year-olds on a daily basis?
Here’s a short history lesson for you. In May of 1997, America Online launched AIM, an instant messaging network that let users communicate with each other quickly and easily. Slowly, users of the teenage variety began to adapt their language to shorten their communications because apparently, words take sooooo looooong to type.
The major flaw was that it took twice as long to decode the missive once it was received. But that didn’t matter because if you used “netspeak” you were liek, srsly so kewl, rite? Riiiight.
I’ve always taken a majorly passive stance on netspeak, neither embracing it nor skewering it. I’ve even been amused when I have to call my own father from time to time and ask him to explain a particularly netspeak-abbreviated text that he may have sent. It wasn’t until this weekend, during a trip to Target, that I came to a hard conclusion. I realized that by the time I reach my golden years, netspeak will have caused the language we speak now to evolve into something entirely different. Will I even be able to communicate with my fellow humans as I enter seniordom?
The instance that led me to this revelation was this: a conversation that I overheard, held by a group of teenagers in the makeup aisle. “Like OMG. That will seriously look so hot on you,” said one. Am I seriously hearing what I think I’m hearing? “LOL I know, right?” her friend replied. What the….what?!
I had to bite my tongue to keep from turning around with a sarcastic, “I know, right? WTF like seriously? LMFAO G2G TTYL!” But my adult restraint kicked in just in time, and I walked away shaking my head and laughing under my breath.
Cut to the next day, and a trip to Sephora with Sarah. (I was on a makeup buying kick, ok?) The two teenagers next to me were having such a loud conversation I would have been deaf not to hear it. “Like seriously, my life is soooo awesommme. Ah can’t even bleeve it sometimes. How awesome ah am. People wud looove to have our lives.” Imagine that in your best Valley Girl voice….and don’t pretend like you don’t have one.
Step aside, linguistics professors. Teenagers are pushing you out of a job. One need only Google the words “netspeak dictionary” to obtain a complete understanding of this new language. Parents, visit Barnes & Noble. They have self-help books for you, just so you can understand what your kids may be texting you. Only by the time you reach the checkout line and head home with your purchase, that book will probably be outdated, and there will be a whole new list of trendy terms. That won’t be a problem though…just head on back to Google and search for “netspeak translator.” There, you can type in the text you received, and it will handily ungarble the text into something readable. Wow….easy, right?
This is one of many reasons that I realize in the future I am going to be that crotchety old lady neighbor who chases kids off her lawn.
I think I’m ok with that.
Well Chrissy I will be right there with you. We can sit on a porch, afghan over spider-veined legs, and speak Ye Olde English.
All our sentences will be properly formed and we will use words with more than two syllables. Reading books on paper, and watching a TV with an antenna, we will be a sign of simpler times.
As our herd of cats shed copious amounts of hair and wait for us to die, we will load our pellet guns and watch for a wayward child to accidentally wander onto our property.
LOL. ROFL GR8!