Texting, Writing or Typing ??

Posted on 21/08/2021 by Trivia – The Spice of Life

Image courtesy: https://in.pinterest.com/ and https://news.kuwaittimes.net/

Those like me who grew up before the advent of the IT (information technology) revolution would cringe at the kind of acronyms teenagers use nowadays. I recently got a first hand experience of what generation gap is and also felt happy that there was one, in the first place. The fact that this befell me was not because of a fault in my stars but my own insecurity about placing a smartphone in the hands of my teenage daughter. I view the online education model as a necessary evil, given the uncertain times that we live in.

Sl. No.Acronym/
abbreviation
Expanded Form
1 Idk I don’t know
2 Ik I know
3srysorry
4rlyreally
5cuzbecause
6Kokay
7nvmnever mind
8lollaughing out loud
The acronyms used frequently by Gen Z in WhatsApp chats

Online schooling has been about using all the tools available for learning. Group activities are also included in the curriculum. Group activities invariably mean that the starting point is a WhatsApp group of the concerned students. I have noticed that almost all students have their own smartphones which also means access to all social media platforms. However, I am not too comfortable giving my daughter, who is barely thirteen, a smartphone with unfettered access to the internet. Thus, I am compelled to add my own number in these student groups. I feel very uncomfortable, being the only parent on the group. But being on such groups has made me understand the manner in which the younger generation massacres language. Call it the height of naΓ―vetΓ©, but I initially felt that they were making errors while typing. Idk, Ik, sry, rly, cuz, K, nvm – just didn’t make sense to me. I then asked my daughter what these nonsensical words were. Belonging to Generation Z, pat came the reply – they are acronyms and abbreviations. Emoticons, I felt, would be better than such gibberish.

If you felt that these are all I learnt, let me tell you that I was fortunate that the task at hand was accomplished before I could be bombarded with more. As soon as the group work was completed, I exited the group and heaved a sigh of relief. The day is not far when people like me will have to refer to a separate dictionary which only lists acronyms. Since the children are so addicted to typing acronyms, it becomes challenging for them to write, to begin with; writing complete words and sentences is a bigger ordeal.

Come to think of it, how often do adults put pen to paper nowadays? Almost everything is typed. With online shopping being the norm, even grocer’s lists do not need to be handwritten. The personal touch that anything handwritten has, with all the accompanying imperfections of shaping the alphabets, can never be found in digital fonts that are standardized and perfect. Alas! Handwriting is at a risk of completely disappearing. Earlier we would at least sign with our hand. But now there is the digital signature. Handwritten letters are a dated concept today, as the preferred way of communicating is e-mail.

Ensure doctors write prescriptions in capital letters, Orissa High Court  directs State government - The Hindu
Image Courtesy : https://www.thehindu.com/

As regular readers of my posts would know, I love to present contrasting scenarios. One document that I would prefer typed rather than handwritten is the doctor’s prescription!! I wonder how the pharmacist can magically decipher the doctor’s handwritten prescription. They must be a blessed lot. While there is justification for the illegible handwriting – the large number of patients to attend to, emergencies, long case histories to note – the ordinary patient, who pays through his nose, is rather flummoxed. It is not out of place to mention here that recently (in August, 2020) the Orissa High Court observed that – the entire physician community needs to go an extra mile and make conscious efforts to write prescriptions in good handwriting, preferably in capital letters. The digital era could also throw open several options to make prescriptions and the diagnosis more patient friendly. It observed that Illegible handwriting in medical records has the propensity to have adverse medico-legal implications.

I cannot stop myself from mentioning this anecdote that I came across while researching for this post. Interestingly, a doctor wrote a romantic letter to his lady love. It was the pre-email era and hence was handwritten. The poor girl could not identify even a single word. But she was very clever that she went to a pharmacist and got the letter read though at the expense of their privacy. Thus, here is where technology and digital tools could come in handy. I have seen many techno-savvy doctors doing away with handwritten prescriptions. They have an iPad on which they use Insta (by Practo) to type out prescriptions.

To conclude, technology should be harnessed for achieving greater good. There is no right or wrong sometimes. It is just a clash of mindsets of people who belong to different generations. It is all about being discerning enough about when not to use TLAs (three letter acronyms – you see I have joined the bandwagon for a moment !!). It is also up to us to keep handwriting alive.

13 thoughts on “Texting, Writing or Typing ??

  1. Anitaji,
    Very interesting, and informative post. While I do use some of these abbreviations (like BTW, ASAP etc), the others do confuse me a lot too.
    One day, while I was with my juniors (who tend to use all these above terms mentioned in the post) suddenly I had a thought of using a similar kind of thing to sort of irritate them.
    I said, “Oh god! all thses ‘sfs’ you guys use are out of my vocabulary”
    And I was spot on!
    What is ‘sfs’ sir ?, they asked me.
    I smartly said, Oh you guys!
    Don’t know ‘sf” when you use them so frequently?
    SF is nothing but short form of the word ‘Short Form’
    And my juniors were like, “What!He fooled us so easily!”

    Anup
    πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh!
    And I forgot to add, my handwriting is good despite being a doctor. In fact as a schoolboy I used to win first prize in handwriting competitions. But I agree many of the doctors don’t have good handwriting. But these stories of love letters being deciphered by pharmacists appear too far fetched.

    Anup

    πŸ˜€

    Like

    1. But these stories of love letters being deciphered by pharmacists appear too far fetched.
      I know it is far fetched. I just added it for some humour. 😊
      Some of my close relatives who are doctors have decent handwriting as well. But there are some doctors whom I have come across who write pretty illegibly. Do you type prescriptions or write them?

      Like

  3. Anita,
    It is sad to realise that one day handwriting would be extinct. But the more serious problem is that language and grammar might also be extinct. I remember Prince Charles ruing about the decline of language ability in the country twenty years back. That was the time when London literary world was going crazy about Vikram Seth’s ‘An Equal Music’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Ground Beneath Her Feet’ coming out within a gap of a few days. Both also happened to be in the backdrop of music.

    A new endemic has struck India. I follow a practice of sending any message in HIndi (Devanagari script) to any person who is not comfortable with English, such as taxi drivers, grocery stores etc. Invariably I get a reply typed in Roman, “Theek hai Sir, 9 baje aa jaaunga”, or “500 aap pay kar dena”. All the phones today have very good feature in Indian languages script. Yet. Then I say to myself, let them be, if they mangle Hindi in Devanagari that would make me more mad.”

    But I have some hopes in the government Red Tape. As long as files exist with red chord to tie them, Note-sheets will continue. Many times it is easier to write in pen, if it is a short note, than get it typed.
    AK

    Like

    1. AKji, thanks for reading and commenting. I too feel that we are much better off with our command over the written and spoken word than the present generation. We will have to teach them about the beauty that lies in anything handwritten and the importance of spelling and grammar.
      But I have some hopes in the government Red Tape. As long as files exist with red chord to tie them, Note-sheets will continue. Many times it is easier to write in pen, if it is a short note, than get it typed.
      With e-office being launched, physical files are slowly vanishing!

      Like

  4. Anitaji,

    A nice, relevant and spot-on post on a contemporary topic which we all often ponder over.

    Today, being 1st September, is celebrated as the World Letter Writing Day. There have been numerous messages moving across chats and whatsapp groups reminiscing about the good old days of letter writing. But I wonder, if anyone really wrote a letter today to celebrate the day.

    Its sad that letter writing is a becoming a thing of past. Overall, writing by hand is replaced by texting and messaging.
    And the current generation is hardly concerned about language and grammar.

    My doctor-wife, who is a professor at a medical college, gets often disturbed with the ungrammatical sentences and abbreviations used by her students.

    We are at least relieved that our daughter, who studies English literature and Spanish language, focusses on grammar and keeps writing and making notes despite online classes.
    And thankfully doesn’t use acronyms in family conversations

    I like the list of acronyms that you have posted. Wondering if I should be glad that I know most of them!!

    Look forward to many such interesting posts from you on similar topical issues.

    How about one post contrasting and comparing different types of books – Paper books, E- books and Audio books?

    Like

    1. It is always a pleasure to read your comments, Dr.Deshpande! I am glad we are on the same page.

      I like the list of acronyms that you have posted. Wondering if I should be glad that I know most of them!!

      I feel it is okay to know them so long as you do not use them or encourage their usage.😊

      How about one post contrasting and comparing different types of books – Paper books, E- books and Audio books?

      I will try to write but this would need intensive research. Thanks a lot, for the suggestion!

      Like

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