Being the wife of a military Reserve soldier, I thought I’d had my share of acronyms. We’re routinely treated to such literary gems as “The Sgt. will bring the DD-214 to HQ on the QT before going on his CONUS R&R” and “1LT will est. an LZ at 0700.”
Medicine is even better. I get to write interesting things like “Disp: 5 ml. Sig: ii gtt OS QID PRN”, which is to say “Dispense: 5 milliliters, and signa: 2 guttae in the oculus sinister quater in die pro re nata.” Apparently, someone in a flash of great brilliance (and a sick sense of humor) decided to use Latin abbreviations in prescriptions, because, as we all know, medicine is made even more comprehensible by using a dead language to describe it. In case you’re wondering, (and who wouldn’t be?) it means “give the patient a 5 milliliter bottle of the medicine with the instructions to put 2 drops into the left eye 4 times a day as needed.”
Now, I’ve been on a few forums, mostly medical but some for my Renaissance re-enactment group (membership in which earned me at least 6 points on the Geek test). We speak pretty much all English there, though occasionally a little Latin and Greek leaks out in the medical terms. So, when I joined Lucasforums, of course I thought they’d speak English there, too. Silly me. There was not only one, but two, count them, two, geeky languages I now had to learn.
The first is instant message speak, or ‘IM Spk’ Now, mind you, IM spk to me means a bizarre combo of ‘intramuscular’ and ‘superficial punctate keratitis’. It’s pretty much impossible, since the cornea has no muscles. Since the person using IM spk at that point was a 13 year old kid whose goal in life was to make every headshot in Battlefront, I concluded that he must not be meaning it in the medical sense. After much research including, but not limited to, plugging “IM spk” into the Google search box, I learned it meant ‘instant message speak’. I also learned that, OMG, i d k how 2 IM my bff Jimbo 2 get DP nao. Frankly, I can type real words faster than I can say “i h8 IM spk”.
The second is 1337 5|>34|<, which, for those of you who have not pwned n00bs with more HS skillz than spent time earning As and Bs in Real School, means 'leet speak'. This one's even weirder. In fact, you know it's really geeky when it shows up in a Wikipedia article with a bunch of bizzare little symbols under orthography. You know you’ve reached ‘new language’ status when you have an entire alphabet posted in in a Wiki article. I’ve mastered some of it. I have 101 or LOL, (for laughing out loud), teh pwnage, n00bxorz, and OMG. There’re also the lovely ones STFU and WTF, which of course mean “Sort the Files Uselessly” and ‘Where to, Freddy?” My favorite is “!!111!!oneone!!11eleventy-one!!111!!!”, which is pretty much equivalent to “DUDE!!!”
I’m hoping that the language doesn’t change too much between now and the next few years when my kids hit the teen years. I already have to work hard enough keeping up with all the languages as it is without adding in teen-speak, too. 🙂