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Friday, June 26, 2009

Five on Friday: A New Twist on Old Words

My daughter, the Fashion Queen, will head to college in the fall. In preparation for this monumental event, we added text messaging to our cell phone plan because my friends said that's the way young people stay in touch these days.

I fought the idea at first. Who would text when they could talk? A verbal conversation is so much faster than typing on a micro keyboard, which I have trouble even seeing with my aging eyes, let along using. I'm of the old school that thumbs are for tapping the space bar not Chicklets-sized keys. (Do they still make Chicklets gum, or have I really dated myself?)

Despite my protests, those wise souls who've sent children to college insisted texting is how everyone keeps in touch these day. So, when our cell contract came up for renewal, I convinced my equally reluctant hubby we needed to add this feature to our plan and get phones with Qwerty keyboards.

Within a few hours, I saw the truth in the counsel I'd received. The Fashion Queen was texting with lightening speed and sending more messages in one day than I send in one month. She's great about checking in with us via text, even better than she was by phone.

In addition to being unaware of the prevalence of texting today, I also didn't get the need for the whole new lingo that goes along with it. However, as soon as I began composing messages myself, I saw why the cute abbreviations have come into play. TTYL is lots faster to type than "talk to you later."

Another fun aspect of texting and IMing (which I did on Facebook for the first time a few months back under supervision from my daughter) is the fun new ways of using old words. Sometimes a word is abbreviated. Other times a more playful alternative spelling is used. In addition, I've seen new words and spellings appear in blog posts, tweets on Twitter and messages on loops.

Here are five examples I've seen and enjoyed recently:

1) kewl - cool

hawt - hot

3) shweet - sweet

4) deets - details

5) indie - independent (often in reference to independent bookstores.)

Technology is definitely having an effect on language. I've already seen some of these fun new twists on old words appear in contemporary novels. I wonder how long it will be before some of them even end up in the dictionary.

• • • • •

Has texting become a normal part of your communication? What are some new spellings and abbreviations you've seen recently? What are your favorites?


sherrinda said...

I had to laugh, because I just read an article on "HOw Not To Look Old" and one of the ways was Type With Your Thumbs! lol It really is a different age. I found my kids reply to a text faster than answering a phone. So strange, isn't it?
I don't have the keyboard on my phone and so that nifty key that "guesses" at what I am typing is very helpful.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I giggled through your post as I could relate!

My two granddaughters ages 10 and 12 and my two sons text a gazillion times a day. I, on the other hand, am still having trouble trying to work at retrieving messages on my old, basic cell phone!

And how do you get your big fingers to type on those small keys on the phone???? Also, I can't type if I look at the keys...duh! My keyboard is in my mind. Tough teaching an "old dog new tricks"!! LOL!

Keli Gwyn said...


My hubby is far more frugal than I, so he opted for the basic model phone with three letters per number key. Like you, he appreciates the fill-in feature. Since he tends to be a man of few words--and few texts--this works for him.

On the other hand, I'm afraid my daughter may wear out her keyboard before she even gets to college. She and her BF have been known to exchange 160+ messages in an evening, forcing her to erase her phone's text message memory.

Email and texting have made writers of the younger generation, haven't they? However, I'm old fashioned. I'd still rather hear, "I love you" than read, "i <3 u" on my phone's tiny screen. :)

Keli Gwyn said...


Thanks for visiting my blog.

Like you, I don't understand how people can type on those teensy keyboards. The old cliché of being "all thumbs" used to be a put down. These days it could become a compliment if used in regards to texting. I watch my DD's thumbs fly as she dashes off one message after another and marvel.

But I still think I'm faster on a traditional keyboard. I learned the old-fashioned way when it was called typing, not keyboarding. Perhaps you remember: fjfjfj . . .

Anne Barton said...

Keli, this is so funny b/c just last week I decided to trade in my phone and use my son's old one which has a full keyboard. SO much easier to text.

But it's still got all his old ringtones and I'm too lazy to change them. Every time I get a new message, it sounds like my purse is burping. :)

Anne Barton said...

Oh, and as you know, I'm totally an old school typist. I can NOT wean myself off 2 spaces after a period!

Jessica said...

Well, I'm a dinosaur. I haven't tried texting yet, but you're right, young people do it all the time.
When I get a new phone I want to get it and start texting. I like the idea and the brevity of it. :-)

Congrats to you, for jumping in this crazy pool! LOL

Keli Gwyn said...


I laugh when I imagine you, my classy friend, carrying a purse that suddenly emits burping sounds when you get a message. I'd enlist your son to change your ringtones. I'm guessing he could complete the task in no time. The younger generation seems to have an innate ability to understand technology that may boggle their moms' minds.

Changing from two spaces after a period to one is possible. I'm older than you by several years, and I've made the switch. I know you can do it. I have faith in you. :)

Keli Gwyn said...


You are not a dinosaur by any means. You're a wonderful young mom who doesn't even have children old enough to text yet. I'm sure that by the time they're begging you for phones of their own you'll be two-thumbing texts with the best of 'em.