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A Return to Language

Laughing out Loud is not spelled lol
  (+6, -3)
(+6, -3)
  [vote for,

I've enjoyed the mostly intelligent discourse on this site. It gives me hope for the population at large to see that there are a great many people who can express themselves in plain English, using words that are written out in their entirety.

Understandably, since a great deal of this website pertains to inventions of one sort or another, many of the terms - particularly scientific and engineering terms - used to describe an invention's parts or functions are expressed as abbreviations, usually after the terms having already been expressed in longhand. This is a well-established practice in the scientific and engineering community.

However, the terrible habit of "chatspeak," those abbreviations which represent trite responses or offhand phrases, has begun to appear on the HB. I confess I may have tossed one or two out, and I sorely regret it. So, fully comprehending the hypocrisy it represents, my idea is this:

Were I able, I would modify the HB to pop up a polite message whenever it detected a chatspeak term; "lol," "IMHO," "FWIW" and the like would garner a simple message asking the poster to rephrase his/her statement in longhand. That's it.

elhigh, Sep 04 2007

BOCTAOE http://www.urbandic...ne.php?term=boctaoe
But of course there are obvious exceptions. [reap, Sep 05 2007]

Then there always this option http://xkcd.com/166/
This I think is more fun. [bleh, Sep 05 2007]


gtoal, Sep 04 2007


       I sit on both sides of the fence on this one.   

       For starters, forget modifying the 'bakery warez.   

       I grit my teeth when reading some of the hacked-up, leet-speakish text that burns pixels around here, but remember that the english language is designed with change and flexibility in mind.   

       Fads in language come and go. Like bad music or clothing fashions, some of these distortions of the language must have their time.
normzone, Sep 04 2007

       "OK." (that is to say, some lolz never die)
globaltourniquet, Sep 04 2007

       I heard on NPR that kids are starting to *say* "book" instead of "cool" because the predictive texting in their phones goes to book before cool. The textual representation has actually made it into verbal usage in certain areas.   


       I too take refuge in the lack of internet colloquialisms present here on the 'bakery. At least here, if a contraction is made, there is usually an ' to denote that the writer has a knowledge of the actual word and is consciously choosing to use the shortened version for impact rather than ignorance.
bleh, Sep 04 2007

       Quite unnecessary, methinks - this place is self-policing, and there are more pedants here than just about any place on the Internet.
DrCurry, Sep 04 2007

       ...than *in* just about any *other* place on the internet. ;)
pertinax, Sep 05 2007

       Think of it as the disco of the written word.
normzone, Sep 05 2007

       You could use a modified profanity filter the replace them with the full version. The abbreviations are often used to save time so this would still allow them to perform that function.   

       One I find useful as a disclaimer at the end of a sentence is BOCTAOE<edit>(But Of Course There Are Numerous Exceptions) I've only ever seen this on the dilbert blog where it is also written as BOCTANE and BOCTAA</edit>, when you say something starting with "Most people..."   

       What about bakery-specific abbreviations <edit> such as WIGTTISITM</edit>? Perhaps the same filter could add alt text to explain the meaning to the uniNiTiated.   

       <edit>I just found www.boctaoe.com</edit>
marklar, Sep 05 2007

       Alright [marklar]. You caught one. I had to look it up [link]. full colon dash uppercase P
reap, Sep 05 2007

       [marklar] Re: BOCTAOE   

       I believe this is correctly pronounced "Bok Choy," the Chinese cabbage.
csea, Sep 05 2007

       I find it hilarious that a site that came up with WICTTISIAMWIBNIIWR is so concerned about abbreviations.
wagster, Sep 05 2007

       // paranthesese // sp: parantheses
loonquawl, Sep 05 2007

       I posted a similar idea a while back but couldn't elevate it above what it actually was: a rant. Mine just searched and removed all occurunces of the letters l, o and l when in succession, which would make any ideas about lollies for lolitas a bit weird. [+]
theleopard, Sep 05 2007

       I agree with the sentiment that prompted this idea. However, it's far more satisfying to harangue rogue abbreviators in person than to let software do it for you.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 05 2007

       I tend to agree with both sides here, so cannot vote as of yet. I really can't stand the lol, though, and in my own special ignorance thought it meant Lots of Love, when I had first encountered it.
xandram, Sep 05 2007

       The English language has not remained constant throughout history. It has changed continuously. Your perception of what is correct or proper is only based on what you have become accustomed to within the bounds of its present state of evolution. It is still changing. Keep up to speed won't you? I'd hate to see you miss the omnibus.
the dog's breakfast, Sep 05 2007

       //I really can't stand the lol, though//   

       really? i love them! anytime there's a lol i check into the 'bakery for a quick read and then get back to work.
k_sra, Sep 05 2007

       I love the fact that the English language - particularly as practiced by Americans - is so very flexible. We shamelessly beg, borrow and steal words from other languages when that word gets the job done better than a clunky phrase. Consider: "boondocks," "canoe," and "fjord" are all words from foreign languages, but they very clearly convey concepts in one simple word.   

       I hadn't heard about "book" replacing "cool" as the adjective denoting hipness. That's funny, and is a good example of the evolutionary nature of American English idioms, but it's not the best example of what I'm talking about here.   

       My whole thing is the use of trite acronyms. "WIBNI" indicates a respondant's opinion that an idea falls under the category of "wishful thinking without an actual product or idea to make it happen." Unfortunately, this whole idea dances on the edge of that very category. My point here is that WIBNI isn't a trite acronym, especially in this context. It conveys useful information. LOL does not.
elhigh, Sep 05 2007

       (-) Words are not isolated, and they're not just used to mean one thing. "LOL" isn't an abbreviation of "Laugh-out-loud"; the people who routinely use "LOL" in even non-SMS conversation wouldn't write that "this movie was LOL-funny" or "she tickled me so hard, I had to LOL." It has a different linguistic role as a sort of pseudoonomatopoeia with strong undertones of, these days, irony.   

       Making up these expressions, and using them to negotiate group membership, is very much a function of language. What you're objecting to isn't the abandonment of language; it's the exclusion of your generation by a new generation that is making up new words precisely to exclude outsiders and strengthen their bonds with each other. This is language working, not language failing.
jutta, Sep 05 2007

       the purpose of language is to exclude [elhigh]? who knew? : )
k_sra, Sep 05 2007

       //exclude you//   

       Back in the day when Internet access was a a novelty, in my undergrad days, I remember being on a Yahoo server for some game (I forget which). I was making lots of comments and getting lots of ROFL and LOL comments in return. I had no idea what they meant and shortly made my exit... If only I knew then what I know now.
Jinbish, Sep 05 2007

       I think the reason our generation (and by our generation I mean anyone above the age of 16) objects to these shorthand abbreviations is that by using them all the time, as teenagers are wont to do, the words have lost their power as quickly as they have gained their meaning.   

       The sentiment to describe that you found what someone has written to be laugh-out-loud funny is a sweet one, but it has been shortened and popularised and over used (correctly and, just as commonly, incorrectly) to such a degree that it no longer holds that same sentiment.   

       We'd prefer that those in correspondence with us might be creative enough to explain their emotions rather more succinctly than that. Like for instance, "Ha ha ha ha."
theleopard, Sep 05 2007

       I hold to my bun here simply for the fact that I cringe whenever someone uses an LOL, but I can see both sides here. Before coming to the 'bakery, I was as bad as the next kid. This place has revived and inspired my want to speak and type correctly. I never realized, and I doubt these LOL-ers do either, how much a fool I looked when I typed my first Idea here. Though I didn't use any LOLs or ROFLs, I did have a complete disregard for capitalization and punctuation.   

       I suppose what I'm getting at here is that I'm not particularly defensive of the english language as a whole, but I am defensive of the 'bakery and the language found therein.   

       P.S. <linky>
bleh, Sep 05 2007

       Does this mean it will never be acceptable to say the words "rofflecopter" or "lollerskates," despite the fact that both are spelled out? Or does the fact that they are spelled out make them more acceptable than the chatspeak on which they are based?
shapu, Sep 05 2007

       Don't worry - the rules will change again. Think about the difference in American English between 1776 and now. They would have thought you talked pretty funny as well (ROTFLMTCHO)   

       Rolling on the floor laughing my three-cornered hat off.
normzone, Sep 05 2007

       You all are making a lot of sense, but now I'm confused...if it's lol, is it just a tiny laugh, and if it's LOL is it a big, hardy (hearty) laugh?
Futhermore, what's to happen to other words beginning with the same letters; lots of luck, lives on land, lights out ladies...are they forever, never to have their own abbreviations?
xandram, Sep 05 2007

       //what's to happen to other words beginning with the same letters?//   

       well, the ladies wouldn't be so out of luck if they would live on land with the lights on. don't know, [xandram], don't know. if [jutta] is right and the lollercize is just to tighten up a small group of people, then you and i could now assign lol to mean "lights out ladies" and whenever we used it we would know what it meant, but no one else would, except the very few people who have read this idea and its annos. thus forming an even smaller, more insular, sub group than ever before! lol
k_sra, Sep 05 2007

       //Mine just searched and removed all occurunces of the letters l, o and l when in succession, which would make any ideas about lollies for lolitas a bit weird. [+]// sp: weirder.
imaginality, Sep 05 2007

       If this could be enforced English language competency scores would rise dramatically. [+]
nuclear hobo, Sep 05 2007

       Ouch, I just followed that link to Urban Dictionary. There's a site that serves as a warning to us all, that allowing people to generate their own unedited content is not always a good idea.
zen_tom, Sep 05 2007

       You needed to go to another site to find that out?!
DrCurry, Sep 06 2007

k_sra, Sep 06 2007

zen_tom, Sep 06 2007

       [elhigh] Thanks for the encouragement to be as long winded as possible!
Macdaddyx1, Feb 15 2008


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