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Hello, dearies! After much squinting and persuasion, your Style Maven is now sporting a new pair of glasses. The frames are lovely; the price tag was anything but. That said, I am indeed delighted to be able to see past the end of my nose again.
I blame texting.
Not for my nose, mind you. That was left up to genetics. No, it’s the new prescription; I’m certain it was caused by text messages. Those tiny little screens make things difficult enough, but when you must wade through the myriad “pls” and “ppl” and “ur” that pepper each electronic missive, I think the eyes give out in protest.
While certain acronyms and abbreviations are usually welcome (CMOS, anyone?), you would be hard-pressed to find an editor willing to give the green light to most of the slang terms found on the Internet today. Though it’s likely to be understood that pls is intended to mean please rather than Polyester Leisure Suit (thank heavens), taking the time to include those apparently tiresome vowels will win brownie points from editors and readers alike.
The Chicago Manual of Style has a lot to say about abbreviations and slang; there are nearly two pages full of reference points listed in the index. While those references focus almost exclusively on strict rules regarding technical, geographic, and medical terms, a fair amount of leeway is given to writers of fiction. Dialect and usage specific to characters and locations are recognized as useful tools for effect, although that usage admittedly falls outside the scope of the CMOS.
As language continues to grow and develop, words and usage drop in and out of favor. Electronic publishing is pushing boundaries in every direction, with novels, articles, and non-fiction pieces of all kinds cropping up online. While I don’t expect to see an entry about the proper use of adorbs in future editions of the CMOS, I’m certain that Internet slang terms will be addressed in-depth at some point.
And won’t we all be plsd about that?
Do tell! What’s your take on Internet slang? Helpful or heinous?