by Zolton in New Illustration on Friday 8 February 2008

What is it with message related acronyms? Soon it will get to the point where we no longer communicate in real words but instead in abbreviated codes that require a thesaurus and a yearly subscription to the Economist to understand. Spare me. But don’t leave me out of the loop. Which is where I’m at right now. I hardly ever use them for a start and now it seems that when I have, it’s been in entirely the wrong context. Case in point: for years I’ve thought that ‘lol’ in an email means ‘lot of love’. It makes sense doesn’t it? No. My trusty acronym guide has just explained that it really means ‘laugh out loud’. Laugh Out Loud! Which probably explains why my past few relationships have ended so damn abruptly. ‘It’ll be nice to see you on Saturday … lol’. So innocent. So sincere. Yet, the implications have been severe. D’oh! With everything getting shorter, there’s actually been research done that suggests that you can rearrange the letters of many words — and even delete them altogether – and our brains will still be able to process the bulk of them correctly. Ah, language. It’s a curious beast. We use it every day of our lives, yet we still struggle to master it. Or perhaps I’m just thinking about it all too much. Time for a lie down I think. And a few moments of silence. [illustration by Amy Sol]