World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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All Things Writing & Publishing > R u gonna use them: Abbreviations, emoticons, shortcuts

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12916 comments Maybe that's a bright linguistic future awaiting us: No time for long descriptive sentences, brevity rules.
So what about you: do you use abbreviations, u2, smileys and stuff in your writing/encounter them in your reading?


message 2: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin I rarely use abbreviations, never use smileys and don't even know what a u2 is! Shows you how much old-fashioned I am about writing. In fact, this trend in the younger generations distresses me, as it is killing good writing skills.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 209 comments Abbreviations, yes where it makes sense, but only the kind that people would understand as abbreviations pre-texting. i.e. accepted abbreviations (e.g. i.e.), contractions, jargon that would make sense in the story world, and appropriate colloquialisms in dialogue (e.g. 'cos for because, if that's how the character speaks)

But I think that's not what you meant. '4' for 'for' and similar, and the other things you mention, no. And I've never (yet) encountered them in my reading. If I did, that author would likely end up on my "not to be touched with a 10' pole" list.

We read for pleasure. Going for brevity in a novel is like taking the scenic route and then rushing too fast to appreciate it.


message 4: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I haven't encountered them in my reading. I only used abbreviations and emojis on Twitter or texting, not in what I would consider actual 'writing.'


message 5: by Neil (new)

Neil Carstairs | 53 comments I visited this museum http://telegraphmuseum.org/ in the UK a couple of years ago. One of the facts that came out is that many of the abbreviations used in texting today were in use in telegrams from the 1850s.

My son reads short stories on his phone written in textspeak, some of them are quite good and once you get used to the 'writing' then reading them becomes easy. I think it's the beauty of an evolving language.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12916 comments Ian wrote: "like taking the scenic route and then rushing too fast to appreciate it..."

Nice -:)


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9023 comments My view, too, is that emoticons etc are fine for posts on social media, etc, but not for serious writing. I use abbreviations only when they are well recognised. Thus I am happy to write USA or USSR because I think most people know what they are, and in the latter case, the real alternative is to write out the Russian in full. Same with a novel I am drafting now. I am happy to write GRU or FSB; does anyone really want the full Russian version, which, to be really authentic, should be in Cyrillic?


message 8: by Rohvannyn (new)

Rohvannyn Shaw | 13 comments In my writing I only use standard abbreviations. I will occasionally use slightly nonstandard punctuation but nothing too egregious. Online, I'll use the occasional smiley to show someone I'm not being serious, or I'm being friendly, but for myself I can't abide chat speak. I rarely use chat speak or text abbreviations, even when I'm actually texting on my old style flip phone. I feel so old and dated, however I started these habits in college when I first learned to type.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12916 comments I wonder when we start seeing computer keyboards with most popular emoticons on them -:)


Roughseasinthemed | 129 comments Nik wrote: "I wonder when we start seeing computer keyboards with most popular emoticons on them -:)"

It's as easy to click onto a separate emoji keyboard. I've got English, Spanish, French and emoji ones set up. Not that I like emoticons and abbreviations though.

But … I do use a few abbreviations in emails though, eg cd or wd, when I'm feeling lazy. A bit like Neil's telegram comment, years ago (although not 1850s) we used abbreviated words when typing copy for newspaper stories. The abbreviations were standard and the comps knew what words to spell out ie could and would. However we certainly didn't go as far as: b4, gr8 m8 etc.


message 11: by Krazykiwi (last edited Feb 07, 2017 10:33PM) (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments Nik wrote: "Maybe that's a bright linguistic future awaiting us: No time for long descriptive sentences, brevity rules.
So what about you: do you use abbreviations, u2, smileys and stuff in your writing/encoun..."


Morse code has things like 73 for kisses and 88 for hugs built right in, probably as mentioned for telegrams. There's a poem from the mid 1600's that uses a :) in a line about smiling, although to be fair nobody's quite sure if it's a printing error or intended and we can't ask. (ETA: The morse is from memory, I should probably have looked it up. It's something like that though :)

People worry about the effect of these things on the language, but they needn't. All of us code-switch constantly, effectively using different "languages" (dialects, sociolects, levels of formality) depending on the context we're in and who our audience are.

That said, to be able to write well in a more formal context is a totally different skill from the ability to code switch. And not everyone has it (if you can't spell, you can't spell, no matter where you're spelling it wrong!)

We're social animals though, and we're very good communicators on the whole. So I think use them if you want, and don't if you don't, but the trend of looking down on people who use 'textspeak' as somehow lesser or "doing it wrong", is probably misguided.


message 12: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Yes, I do use abbreviations. Not in all my writing, but where it makes sense. In my present book (it'll be out, maybe in 2 months), I use a lot of acronyms, word play, etc., because the story is set in the future where everybody uses short-spell to communicate. It is a parody on present lifestyle and what will happen in the future. If you're interested in the time-piece, it's titled: Time Lost. It'll be on Amazon and Kindle.


message 13: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Corporate has so many acronyms they had a dictionary. Someone did a blog with all acronyms. Quite clever and funny; different language.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12916 comments With so many books going audible, phonetics may become more important than spelling


message 15: by Rohvannyn (new)

Rohvannyn Shaw | 13 comments What about bringing back shorthand? Many secretaries used to use it, and I think it would be fun to learn.


message 16: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2093 comments I have to have a good reason for abbreviations...I have never put OK or O.K. in a story, I have always spelled it out..."okay."


message 17: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee I agree with Michel. Too many abbreviations and shortcut spelling is destroying good writing skills. I think there are appropriate usage such as texting, twitter, etc. (see, I just used one:), but I will not read a book if that's the dominant flow of language.

But in response to J.J., I thought o.k. meant, yes I agree, and okay meant you were feeling good. Am I wrong? That's how I've been using them.


message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12916 comments Is a written word an analog rudiment in our digital world? Do you expect it to undergo a change in a foreseeable future?


message 19: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5086 comments Can you define "analog rudiment" for me?


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12916 comments Scout wrote: "Can you define "analog rudiment" for me?"

Like in telecom, where they switched analog lines to digital.
Abbreviations and emojis seem to be a much more concise and expressive means to deliver info and its emotional charge, so 'classical' written word may look a bit anachronistic vis-a-vis the rapid transformation in other spheres.


message 21: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5086 comments I guess I'm an analog kind of communicator. I like words. But I'm also an emoji user in personal communications. I think they help to convey the emotion behind a statement and avoid miscommunication, since the recipient doesn't have any visual cues.


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