Friday, December 29, 2006

Modern Communication: An Instructive Tale

Dearest Charlottina,

At last I have acquired myself a mobile phone! It was purchased, on the previous morn, from a cheerful Chinese vendor at the local markets: but why should I bother you with details of my acquisition? The long and the short of it is, my lovely Charlottina, that I am now obliged, as a gentleman and as a Professor of Advanced Linguistics and Semiotics, specialising in the Appropriate Use of Passive Peraphrastics, to familiarise myself with the use of this marvellous new lingua-franca, SMS. Yes, Charlottina: I intend to fling myself into this new language; to learn the ins and outs of SMS; to discover the peculiar grammatical rules and conventions that govern its use.
How I admire the ease and talent with which the youth of today fling themselves at their mobile phones, sending text message after text message to one another! Compared to them, my dearest Charlottina, my thumbs seem as if they were cudgels: but over time, I expect that I shall take to the SMS medium like a fish to water; I shall acquire the manual dexterity necessary to become fluent in the medium; and I shall reap the benefits of this marvellous new technology!
But I must be brief, Charlottina; although I long to familiarise myself with SMS at greater length, I am aware that the medium places strict - nay, even Spartan - restrictions upon the length of message; and furthermore, as Shakespeare said, 'Brevity is the soul of wit'. And so, for now, I will quit my phone, and confine myself to this brief note.

I am, as always,
Your ever-loving and most faithful friend,
Professor Quentin Harthright-Fullberton Jones.












A warning, or a chilling vision of things to come? You decide.


nailpolishblues said...

I don't do abbreviated text though it is my favourite form of communication (something about talk=work that puts one off phonecalls). Quite frankly, I mostly don't understand it and it's awfully fucking hard to be witty without vowels and proper punctuation. I do, however, use smileys to, ah, take the edge off, and have been forced to teach my predictive text quite a lot of new words. Mostly swear words.
I've been hugely impressed by my new phone's ability to write pages of message [luxury!] and that it keeps everything without prompting - this makes up for the fact that it's a heap of shit and sucks in almost all other respects...
Wait, what was I talking about again?

TimT said...

Up until last night, it's been *ages* since I sent a text message; I only did one last night because of work reasons. My phone suggests alternative words, which is all right, except when it's not. It doesn't recognise a lot of Aussie place names, for instance, or other weird words. (Once it actually censored me when I tried to type in 'this' backwards, because it looked like 'shit'.)

Caz said...

Oh, I hate the auto text thing, it's awful; thank goodness you can turn off that functionality.

I'm also one of those old fashioned types who is pathologically incapable of sending an abbreviated and / or unpunctuated SMS message. I've tried, truly I have, but I always go back and proof read and edit, invariably adding in extra words or comas to make it all utterly correct before hitting the send button. I can't help myself. It's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha awesome.

I've only just figured out the auto text, and i've been a mobile phone user for a good 10+ years.

I have a friend who abbreviates every word, it often takes me a good 10 minutes to decipher the message. It's kind of annoying actually.

I secretly prefer SMSs over actual phone calls.

TimT said...

On the rare occasions of me resorting to text, it's usually normal spelling I follow. Of course, some of the TXT message language is very clever, though I suppose it gets to a point after which it just seems annoying. (Substituting 111 for !!! for instance. Or using 'Z' as a substitute for 'S'. And then there are whole blogs written in text language ...)

ras said...

I dislike the abbreviated text with a passion, but I use it when required because i dont like sending more than one message at a time, it just gets plain expensive after a while...

I also like sms over actual phone conversation, i dont like people calling me generally.

Ash said...

Tim, I shall never forgive you for sending me to dat syt wit da annyin chik!!!

Can people really, truly, write like that for longer than ten words?

TimT said...

Truth be told, Ash, that site *could* be a hoax. I really don't know.

Ash said...

Would it be wrong of me to hope that it is?

And if it isn't, would it be bad of me to hope that in 20 years someone uses what she wrote against her?

TimT said...

a) No, and b) yes. But I hope the same thing regarding b), though I doubt she's ever going to get a career in politics, unless it's as the next Pauline Hanson.

People keep on saying that Hambo is responsible for that site, as well as this one, and I kind of hope they're right. Hambo denies it, of course.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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