Abbrevs. & txt (113)

Abbrevs. & txt: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd try not to LOL as they talk about text messaging and abbreviations.

Howard Chang is back! The rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated. (2:24)

Abbreviations throughout history: nearly as old as the Roman alphabet (at least) (3:41)

Music bumper from “The Message” by Norman Hedman’s Tropique. (16:08)

Discovering “online” language (18:03)

Song: “The Cell Phone Song” by Acres and Acres (21:42)

Rude Word of the Week: “WTF” (24:56)

Music bumper from “Cell Phone” by Times Four. (28:32)

Popular current abbreviations (29:18)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network and the Ioda Promonet

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Closing theme from “Grapes” by Evan Stone

time: 41:02

size: 37.6 Mb

rating: PG-13 (Our Rude Word is an abbreviation of the big taboo, the “F-bomb.”)

RelationsTimes 4
“Cell Phone” (mp3)
from “Relations”
(Groove Tonic Media)

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11 thoughts on “Abbrevs. & txt (113)”

  1. A good listen as usual. On the origins of TTFN (Ta ta for now). It goes back to the 1940s and the BBC radio show ITMA(It’s That Man Again), pronounced IT-MAR.

  2. this was a great show, guys! Howard C, it is good to have you back.

    i work in IT, and my job is to answer Helpdesk calls. once the call is over and the ticket is closed, we have a few abbreviations of our own that we use to classify the type of issue. i wanted to share them.

    RTFM – Read the F’ing Manual, something we wish we could tell all users

    ID10T – not really an abbreviation, but what does it spell if you think of the 1 and the 0 and letters I and O?

    and the classic…

    PEBKAC – Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair, a fancier, more sarcastic way of indicating an operator error

    i’ve been listening for over a year now and love it, so please keep up the good work. as a matter of fact, listening to you guys has partly influenced & assisted my recent desire to become a teacher.

    thanks so much!

  3. You talked a little about personalized license plates. (Do people still call them “vanity plates”?) My daughter lives in LA and sees thousands of cars go by every day. We’ve been sharing (via text-messaging) some of the more clever ones we’ve seen. Here are a few.

    on a minivan: US2BKUL

    on a white Ford Bronco: NOT OJS

    on a BMW: BEZAHLT

    Miata convertible/gray-haired guy: COOLOPA

    Kings hockey player? ISK84LA

    On a Lexus S.U.V.: ERNDIT

    No special vehicle/driver:
    10 ACT

    Keep providing fun topics!

  4. I have a bit of an esoteric issue concerning WTF and other of these text and email abbreviations.

    As you might recall (probably not, I mentioned it here only once and I’m not exactly a frequent contributor) I have a couple of haiku blogs, where counting syllables is obviously very important.

    I wanted to use “WTF” to express my anger on the Cubs blog ( after a particularly annoying loss. I wasn’t sure whether it should be counted as 3 syllables or 5 syllables.

    My daughters were certain that it was 5 syllables, and thought it was silly that I would have considered it to be only 3.

    Here’s the thing … when I see “WTF” or other such abbreviations I think of the actual words. It seems that it’s sort of like learning a foreign language. To middle-aged parents, these shortcuts are new words. So, just as I think “water” when I hear or read “agua”, I think “Oh my G-d” when I see OMG.

    My kids, and their contemporaries, OTOH (did you read “OTOH” or “on the other hand”? … see what I mean?) are more comfortable with the abbreviations as words. So, when some of our younger office staff started putting up “Happy Birthday” signs we got stuff like “OMG … Lori is 40 Years Old … LOL!”. None of the over 40 folks would have even THOUGHT do make a sign like that.

    Conversely, there are “old” abbreviations that we old guys use similarly to how the younguns use the texting shortcuts. One example … do you say “ASAP” or “As Soon As Possible”?

    Those abbreviations and acronyms are part of our “native” language. The internet shortcuts are not.



  5. Hi Ed. Here’s my analysis of my current use of (or thinking about) these abbrevs.:

    LOL: I think of it as three letters, “ell-oh-ell.” I didn’t think of it this way two years ago.

    ASAP: I’ve been thinking of this as letters (not an acronym) for 25-30 years, I imagine.

    OTOH: I’m pretty sure I’m still thinking of this one as words: “on the other hand.”

    OMG: I’ve just started thinking of this amusing abbreviation as letters within the past 12 months or so. “O. M. G.” (With full stops after every letter, for emphasis.)

    WTF: If I were writing haikus about a baseball team or something like that, I think it would be most amusing to spell out the letters syllabically, thus: “double-you-tee-eff.” I think it’s strong enough and ubiquitous enough that at least I would get the joke if you did that. Particularly if you followed it with a question mark:


    YMMV. (Your mileage may vary.) Others may feel free to chime in, particularly about “WTF.”

  6. Ed, another possibility is that WTF has four syllables: dub-ya-tee-eff. FWIW, when I see “WTF,” I think of it as three words representing a strongly worded interjection. (But then, I’m over 50.) I’ll ask my Gen-Y (Gen-X-cuspy) kiddos for their opinion.

  7. It was nice hearing Howard Chang’s sexy voice again! 🙂

    RSVP is an abbreviation that I didn’t understand for a very long time. But then, I don’t speak/understand French.

  8. Hi Deb. I think most people don’t know what that one means, but we all just go ahead and use it anyway.

    For those not in the know, it stands for the French words “répondez s’il vous plaît,” which literally mean “respond, if you please.”

  9. This podcast is really interesting. I loved the different analyzations of the abbreviations and “text talk” because, as a teenager, I am very famililar with the texting language. I learned some new abbreviations that I found quite funny. A really great thing to listen to!

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