Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Few television shows have led to as much hysterical laughter and frequent quoting in our household as the current hit comedy, Modern Family. This "mockumentary" follows one big (straight, gay, multi-cultural, traditional) happy family. Our kids never tire of repeating one of their favorite Phil Dunphy-isms (Phil Dunphy being the dad/husband of the traditional family - mom, dad, 3 kids - featured on the show); it was the time Phil declared, "I'm the cool dad. That's my thang. I'm hip. I surf the Web, I text LOL= laugh out loud OMG= Oh my God WTF=Why the face".  I've already blogged about the terminal uncoolness of parents (at least in the eyes of their kids) so this one is about the abuse of acronyms and abbreviations by kids today. Text speak is full of them and I have to wonder how many misunderstandings arise from a misinterpretation of someone else's abbreves (that, according to our 14 year old, is the abbreviation of "abbreviation").

When the trend first took hold, I lamented the death of real words and, despite studies to the contrary, I've been a little concerned about the impact on spelling and the formulation of complete sentences. But something funny happened not too long ago. A friend emailed me about something extraordinary and I realized that the most appropriate answer I could email back was "OMG". I was more than a little shocked by the ease with which I was able to transition to trendy jargon after that. I was blown away by the speed with which you can text when "you" becomes "u". I kind of loved the fact that you could sometimes reply to a text with a smiley face and no words at all to get a point across. Then the inevitable happened. One of my daughters heard me utter "OMG" aloud and I was thereafter forbidden from ever saying or writing OMG again. Truth be told, I still occasionally type it - just never in an email or text message to any of our kids. I was subsequently banned from using text message shorthand in my texts to them (I had tried to abbreviate "you're" and typed "u'r" which should have been "ur" because punctuation is out and it was just too much for them to handle). I was amazed to learn that a number of websites provide "dictionaries" for learning this bizarre new language. Text For Free has been a good resource for me. TMWFI or go check it out for yourself!

When ur done learning the shorthand, considering showing your kids just how in the know you are by suggesting that they read NERDS or The DUFF. NERDS is a new series written by Michael Buckley, author of the popular series The Sisters Grimm. NERDS stands for National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society. It's about a group of unpopular students who run a spy network from inside their school. It's a middle grade series. The second book just came out in September 2010.

DUFF, horribly enough, stands for "designated ugly fat friend" according to the urban dictionary, another helpful resource. The DUFF is a YA novel written by 19 year old Kody Keplinger about 17 year old Bianca who, we learn, is neither ugly nor fat but nonetheless bears the unfortunate moniker.

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