Friday, April 8, 2011


Reader, I fought the good fight. In my heart of hearts, I sincerely do believe in the value of grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization. I love a thick book; I revel in a well-turned phrase. I have resisted change with every fiber of my learned and literate being. But, I give up.

If you want your tween to listen to you, you have to learn to speak their language. You have to use their preferred communications channel. You have to shun the Queen's English in lieu of the brave new world of acronyms we call ... text talk.

Until my recent surrender, a typical post-school text dialogue with my daughter might have gone something like this:

Her: hi
Me: Hi honey. How was school today?
Her: k
Me: How did you do on the French quiz?
Her: k
Me: Where are you?
Her: strbks
Me: When will you be home?
Her: 4
Me: Okay, have fun. Say "hi" to Mary for me. See you soon. xxx
Me: Hello?
Her: bi

Clearly, my preference for formal prose was not working in my favor. As you can see, I lost my daughter's attention a while ago. Besides, my middle-age thumbs can't keep up with all those letters, punctuation marks, spaces or my iPhone's awkward shift key. So, I am throwing in the towel, and now I must learn a whole new language. You're invited to come along.

When traveling in a foreign country, it's helpful to have a dictionary in the back of your guide book. The land of tween is no different. Here's an abbreviated glossary of texting abbreviations to get you started:

ayt = are you there?

b = be

b4 = before

bbfn = bye bye for now

bbl = be back later

bcuz = because

bf = boyfriend

bffs = best friends forever

c = see

da = the

d8 = date

dnt = don’t

dznt = doesn’t

eva = ever

g2g = got to go

gf = girlfriend

hw = homework

im = I am

lol = laughing out loud

lmao = laughing my ass off

lmfao = laughing my f*cking ass off

mos = mom over shoulder

np = no problem

nvr = never

nw = no way

omg = oh my God

p911 = parent alert

pal = parents are listening

plz = please

pos = parent over shoulder

ppl = people

r = are

rite = right/write

skewl = school

sry = sorry

sum1 = someone

sup = what's up?

tmi = too much information

ttfn = ta ta for now

ttyl = talk to you later

ur = your, you are

w8 = wait

wb = write back

w/e = whatever

wtf = what the f*ck!

y = why?

It pains me to report that OMG and LOL were recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary. So, clearly, there's no going back now. But, maybe that's all right. After all, languages are fluid phenomena; they evolve with the issues of the times and as civilization's thought leaders add new words. (Just ask Shakespeare ... or Sarah Palin.)

In that spirit, I'd like to suggest adding a few tween momisms to the language of text talk:

dyhw = do your homework

gopc = get off the computer

waj = wear a jacket

gocp = get off the cell phone

cyr = clean your room

2mm = too much makeup

And my favorite ...

biss = because I said so

That's all for now. I encourage you to study this list; I'm going to test you later. But, don't worry ... spelling won't be counted. bb4n

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