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Deciphering the world of text lingo

January 13, 2013
By Patty Kimerer , Tribune Chronicle |
OK, so we made it to the first “13th” of 2013. Thank goodness it didn’t land on Friday. OMG, everyone would be like flipping bricks. Yes, it’s a saying. My 18-year-old niece / goddaughter taught it to me. Seriously. Listen, people, communication is my life — I need to be on the leading edge of pertinent updates in as many of the various forms of the art of communique as I am able, including the written, spoken and even implied word. In my day job, I need to be able to effectively, succinctly and intelligibly (well, two outta three ain’t bad) deliver messages to a vast array of constituencies. This requires much diligence to staying on top of every communication-related revision from headline-making changes to our grammar to trends in colloquialisms or mores (that’s not a typo, I mean conversational language) to shifts in industrial jargon to subtle nuances in social verbiage, et cetera! And sometimes, it all gets so jumbled up inside my own noggin that I spew out an amalgamation of the aforementioned with a splash of my own Patty Shorthand thrown in around the jagged edges. Hmpf. Just the other day, BTW — er, um, I mean, by the way — I got a bit of a smack-down for infusing email correspondence with common text / online abbreviations. “Patty, stop with the text talk,” said my boss. I’m sorry, what now? He was referring to my frequent use of the acronym LMK, which I just assumed the entire free world understands to mean “let me know.” WTW … that’s “what the what?” Truth is, there is a generational difference of preference and standard usage causing considerable distress and confusion among audiences of diversification. In other words, what we have here is a failure to communicate. Well, at least effectively across certain socioeconomic and age gaps, ya dig? And so, in an effort to bring together my two worlds, I’m offering the older set (of which I am a card-carrying member) a rare glimpse into the hip-modern code-speak of the “under 30s.” Think of it as your cheat sheet for actually reaching your kids, et al, on a level they readily comprehend. And so, heretofore, if you receive an email or text message containing the following symbols or acronyms, you will know what in the blazes they mean. For example, according to the Internet site Webopedia, here are some of the most commonly emailed, texted, tweeted and otherwise sent encryptions: ¯ LOL means “laughing out loud.” Even my great-grandma knows that one. Several variations imply dirty words, but neither Great Gram nor I want to indulge any of those. ¯ BTW means “by the way.” Regular column readers will recognize this as a mainstay in Patty-vernacular. See paragraph 7. ¯ WTH means “what the heck?” Again, no need for anything harsher than heck, please and thanks. ¯ ? means “I have a question.” It can also be used for “I don’t understand what you mean.” Makes sense, I guess. ¯ <3 is an “emoticon” or “emotion icon” reflecting a feeling. Generally, the feeling is love. ¯ @TEOD means “at the end of the day.” I really like the logical ones; I’ll definitely use this one. ¯ 14AA41 means “one for all and all for one.” It’s kind of cool but likely not one I’ll reach for regularly. ¯ 182 means “I hate you.” Not nice. Won’t be sending it out; certainly hope I don’t receive it! ¯ ^5 means “high five.” Cool; that one is a definite keeper. ¯ 411 means “information.” — Just like the old rotary phone exchange we used to dial, remember? ¯ 2EZ means “too easy.” Or, as I like to refer to it, how lazy are we? Some of these shortcuts are certainly not big time savers. ¯ 88 means “hugs and kisses.” Which makes me wonder what XOXO means these days? Hmm. ¯ 9 means “Parent is watching.” Which I didn’t realize but am glad I now know — since I’m the 9 and all. Ah, well. Good luck deciphering through the world of text lingo, all … but take care which messages you send to whom and how you do so. Bcuz — don’t 4get — substituting *’s for actual words makes some ppl :-(. Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and wordsmith but she’s G2G, she will TTYL at


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