Illustration: Twitter tweeps.
Neil Nakahodo, MCT/Kansas City Star
Xandi Swedberg is a student at Benilde-St. Margarets.
Xandi Swedberg, Social media
Teen: Shortcuts in speech just sound lazy.
- Article by: Xandi Swedberg
- February 19, 2013 - 8:44 PM
Let me give you a tour of my day at school. As we start walking down the hall, you’ll hear a variety of peculiar remarks, from “Omg, I’m gonna fail this test,” to “Lawlz,” to “That bio test was supes hard,” or even “I mean I can probs hangout tonight.”
Just keep walking. Those won’t be the only abbreviations you’ll hear today.
The next stop is biology class. You’ll hear a detailed lecture on genetics, but what you didn’t expect to hear during the lecture will be “Fave” or “Serious sty” and a conversation sounding something like: “Did you see that sick slapper I shot last night?” “I defs did.”
Yeah. I know. Frankly, I’d say this weird lingo is pretty “ridic.”
Let’s think this over. Using abbreviations often can be helpful, but when it begins to affect the intelligence level of our everyday conversations, it vexes me. I find myself asking why people feel the need to shorten a five-letter word to a three-lettered one if using it will take the exact same effort and time — less than a second and about half of a breath.
If you want to write yourself a reminder of what to buy at the grocery store on your way home from work and you happen to abbreviate some of the words, feel free. You won’t seem unsophisticated writing to yourself the way you would if you were to say something to your boss like: “Omg I probs should start working on that supes long report about how the economy totes sucks.”
So why does this always happen in our conversations nowadays? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but: People. Are. Lazy.
Take the word “sty” for example. Every day I hear this word quite a few times. Say it aloud, “Sty.” Now say the actual word “Style.” Wow, your life must be so much easier because you dropped the l and e. And that e was silent. I’m guessing you don’t feel any different.
So quit being so lazy and just say the word in its entirety.
Back to the tour. Next stop, English class.
Today we’re discussing the Shakespeare play we’ve been reading. Let’s talk about Shakespeare. William Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t run into anyone who talks like that recently, or ever. That’s absolutely OK, because as time passes, language changes.
There’s nothing wrong with modern language. The only problem with modern-day communication is that when people start to make up words by shortening actual words, their message can lose its eloquence and importance.
I’d like to hear some of my classmates attempt to get the same message across that Shakespeare did. They’d most likely say something like: “It’s totes easier to fool yourself than it is to fool other peeps.”
What’s wrong with this? Some might not think anything is wrong, but maybe they are mistaken. Let’s try again, but let’s replace “totes” and “peeps” with actual words:
“It’s much easier to fool yourself than it is to fool others.”
Not only does this sound more intelligent, it also makes Shakespeare’s point without taking any shortcuts or losing wit. I’m absolutely not saying that we should speak as Shakespeare did 400 years ago, but when people choose lazy abbreviations, they lose the sophistication of language.
Xandi Swedberg is a student at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School.
© 2013 Star Tribune