A few days earlier I wrote about the slow death of English as the last Lingua Franca. A reason I omitted to mention is how our vocabulary is being increasingly diminished by the use of acronyms and initializations such as OMG and LOL.
Acronymy has its uses and has been around for a long time as a short representation of a complex concept or for a long-winded name of an institution. The Roman Empire, Senatus Populusque Romanus, was shortened by the Romans to SPQR and early Christians used the symbol of a fish to represent Jesus. ΙΧΘΥΣ is the Greek acronym for Iesous CHristos THeou (h) Uios Soter meaning Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior and spells “fish”.
Later abbreviations began in business, when companies had to shorten their names to fit them on railroad cars, barrels and crates or, later still, on the stock exchange ticker tapes and newspaper listings. National Biscuit Company became Nabisco and Standard Oil was shortened to Esso. The Army and the Navy increased the usage of acronyms, too. The offense of being absent without official leave has passed into common parlance as AWOL.
But the speed of initialization and abbreviation has increased dramatically with the introduction of SMS and chat. In order to fit in a complete message within the 160-character limit, users are forced to device almost everything into acronyms. So we have ROTFL as a superlative to LOL and , when we are hysterical with laughter we are ROFLMAO! Quick and convenient, yes …! Expressive or articulate, no!! In fact, most abbreviations and acronyms, all spelled in capital letters, are simply devaluing the meaning of English as a language and greatly reducing our vocabulary and oral expression.
With more of our lives spent texting or chatting or SMS-ing, in my humble opinion or IMHO, we are soon going to forget how to speak or write in proper English.
TTYL8R, bloggers and readers!