Saturday, 25 June 2011

Top 10 - Internet Acronyms and Initialisms

The internet is a breeding ground for the most unique and quirky modern creations. Not only has it widened the span of knowledge available to the world but has, at least in the English language, formed its own lexical set. Abbreviated text talk emerged through mobile phone communication around 10 years ago, creating a whole new language. This included shortened word forms; inspiring the emergence of a majority of grammatically devoid, incomplete sentence structures. Now, primarily through the internet, new ways of abbreviated sentences have reared their weird shaped heads (metaphorically of course). With the growth of platforms such as online forums and chat rooms; acronyms and initialisms have begun to diversify across web based mediums, taking our language into a galactic state of bizarre.

Just before I start the countdown, I'd like to point out that there is a very distinct difference between acronyms and initialisms: 
  • Acronyms use initials of existing words to create a whole new, pronounceable word (e.g. LASER). 
  • Initialisms use initials of existing words to create a common term, pronounced individually through each letter (e.g. BMW) .

DISCLAIMER: My Top 10s rarely feature bad language, but on this occasion it is of appropriate nature to the topic at hand. If you are easily offended by explicit rhetoric, it would not be recommended to read on. Oh, and kids - it would definitely be recommended to repeat all of the words you read here to your parents (especially number 3).

10. WTF (What The Fuck)

This light hearted and loveable initialism has come to epitomise modern lexis. Used as a sign of shock or revulsion, amongst other emotions, 'WTF' has universally come to connote the sense of outburst at a particular event or image. I like its current use in internet chat because it sums up a particular moment quite well, without the writer really having to add extra comment. Nowadays, everyone knows what 'WTF' means. And if you don't... WTF man!?

Typical example of use: "WTF is that bitch doing here?"

9. MSN (Microsoft Network)

Used so regularly and compulsively - MSN - once the name of a humble internet service provider, has undergone ameliorative change to describe a cover-all term for various internet platforms. Most notably of these platforms is the now defunct MSN Messenger service, more commonly known in the modern day as Windows Live Messenger. This live messaging service hasn't retained the name 'MSN' for years now, but the majority of youth demographics still refer to the initialism in regard to the popular communication hub. Although in saying this, it is clear that the snappy abbreviated title has done its job. I'd doubt many who use the term regularly would even know what MSN actually stands for...

Typical example of use: "Coming on MSN tonight?"

8. JGI (Just Google It)

The world's leading internet search engine seems to have spawned its own initialism. The company name 'Google' as a noun has also traversed word class to become a verb, through the new age action - 'Googling'. Again; like in the MSN case, these internet giants have managed to have such an impact, that abbreviations are beginning to implicitly hint at the universal use of the web search tool. 'JGI' also parodies the ethics of the younger generation, being so wrapped up in relying on the internet for all the answers as well as being too lazy to spell out a three word phrase. 

Typical example of use: "The meaning of life? JGI man!"

7. ILY (I Love You)

Okay, if you're going to pour your heart out to someone, it's not the best idea to express that one almighty phrase through an abbreviation. It firstly shows lack of lexical diversity, dominated by a sense of carelessness. It's the physical equivalent of giving your girlfriend a box of chocolates and eating all of the good ones first. Lack of sanity, lack of care, lack of appreciation and a desperate urge for me to punch you square in the face. And... I'm done.

Typical example of use: "ILY, will U marey me?"

6. LOL (Laughing Out Loud)

Not to be mistaken for 'Lots Of Love', which copious Grandmothers seem to be putting at the end of texts to their loved ones after a death of a family pet. This is what bad lexical diversity can do to the English language, turning Grandmas into monsters! "Sparky unfortunately passed away this morning. LOL." You can kind of see how that would go down... But referring back to its more recognised meaning, 'LOL' is probably the most common of all new age acronyms and initialisms to hit the nation's vocabulary. Being an acronym, it can be uttered fluently in everyday conversation, resulting in the emergence of 'LOL'ing youths scattering the streets and beating up Grannies for crimes against animal morality. A final point. Has any human in the existence of ever, used the term 'LOL' in an online sense whilst physically laughing out loud? The internet's a lie!

Typical example of use: "Your Mum is well fat. LOL."

5. BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze)

Three things you can take from this gem of an initialism. The first being, that as a modern generation, we do not condone sharing. Secondly, we're too lazy to be bothered to explicitly tell you to keep your hands off our alcohol. And thirdly, we're a bunch of young alcoholics who derive funky abbreviations exclusively around the semantic field of getting pissed. Urm... yeah. In a nutshell.

Typical example of use: "BYOB, Virgil." (Thunderbirds reference)

4. LMIRL (Let's Meet In Real Life)

This pretty much defines the internet. Refer to my list 'Top 10 - Ways people annoy me on Facebook' to get more of an insight into my unchanged views on fabricated online relationships. But the initialism 'LMIRL' made me laugh quite vigorously the moment I saw it, providing a solid reason for including it so high on my list.

Typical example of use: "LMIRL, because very occasionally, I do leave my house."

3. MILF (Mother I'd Love To Fuck)

Inspired by the work of adult entertainment industries, the provocative acronym has come to denote a female of a 'certain age' who has experience and maturity on her side in terms of 'under the sheets' antics. Fuck it, I did include a disclaimer at the start of this list, so let's not beat 'around the bush' (get it?) any more with sexual euphemisms. 'MILF' has expanded in epic proportions over the last couple of years, talked of in whispers between 14 year old boys whilst encountering 'Stacey's Mom' type scenarios. It's funny, it's harmless and it's the perfect example of what porn has burdened our dialect with in modern times.

Typical example of use: "Wow, your Mum's a MILF!"

2. FML (Fuck My Life)

I've only seen this beauty crop up in slang vocabulary over the last year or two, but the initialism adheres to the stereotypical view of hormonal teenagers hating everything about themselves and the world around them. This particular term is always at its funniest when uttered during completely underwhelming scenarios. For example, whist playing video games or having bad hair days. Because it's such an over the top (OTT) abbreviation, it's hilarious when used in stupid contexts.

Typical example of use: "I was on a 10 kill streak and some twat shot me. FML!"

1. ESAD (Eat Shit And Die)

It generally touches me, how lovely some people can be. And to abbreviate the whole affair for effect? Oh, you're such darlings for that. But, to be fair to anyway willing to hit you with such a forceful imperative, it's a pretty good way to go out... Choking on excrement. Impossible to disagree.

Typical example of use: "Pay back for interrupting my 10 kill streak. ESAD bitch!"

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