The Hallmark of Our Generation: TBH, They’re Just Jelly
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 17:09
As any regular at Leo’s knows, the venue offers prime opportunities for both people-watching and eavesdropping. (Unintentionally, of course. I mean, doing otherwise would just be rude.) One day, as two of my friends and I were each taking on three plates of food in order to ensure that we made the most of our $13 swipes into Leo’s, we overheard a girl squeal something along the lines of “I’m totes going out tomorrow!”
I clearly don’t hang out with the hippest of Georgetowners, because one of my friends sat there with raised eyebrows and half a piece of pizza dangling from his mouth, while the other expressed his bewilderment at this girl’s exclamation by asking me, “Do people seriously say that?” All I could utter in response: “For realsies.”
I have to admit, I was initially opposed to the abbreviating trend for a couple of reasons. The first is that I’m a classic overachiever and don’t like taking the easy way out of anything, so including that last syllable or two is somewhat gratifying. The second reason is that while some may (rightfully) consider my comparative literature major to be a pointless area of study, it has made me hypersensitive to grammatical and linguistic errors. I still cringe at the thought of ending a sentence in a preposition, even though one of my English professors told the class that doing so wouldn’t be the end of the world.
So when my dumbfounded friend swallowed his meat-lover’s slice and asked why people bother to abbreviate words that aren’t that long to begin with, we jointly came to the conclusion that people are just too lazy to articulate a few more syllables.
Since then, I’ve thought about this more and revised my judgment regarding the subject of abbreviations. While some word modifications may seem impractical in that they contradict the purpose of abbreviation by actually making the word longer (e.g., “samesies”) or at least failing to reduce the number of syllables (like when actually saying “OMG” or “BT-dubs” in conversation as opposed to just typing the acronyms in a message), such jargon is just more fun. Some of my older relatives would probably claim that texting and tweeting is to blame for such nonsensically truncated words, arguing that our technology-based culture is the root of all evil. In all seriousness, though, slang is nothing new to the world. In fact, without it, phrases that we don’t even give a second thought wouldn’t exist, such as “later,” shortened from “see you later.” The only difference is that back when that phrase was coined, no one could accuse technology of creating wacky language patterns because the Internet didn’t exist yet.
As with almost everything, I can relate this topic to “Community” (arguably the best show on television, but we can save that discussion for another day). In one episode, after someone calls out, “Lates!” another character asks, “Isn’t the word ‘later’ already short enough?” To answer that question now, I would say that “later” is short enough to be left unadulterated by abbreviation, but the shortened version, which really just functions as a code shared within a generation, is inevitable — and also pretty amusing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that abbreves aren’t so bad after all.
Allie Doughty is a senior in the College. GEORGETOWN BABEL appears every other Friday in the guide.