Abbreviations might help ag; no spelling ability required

I watched with interest a news report earlier this week about instant messaging among the young. A high school English teacher was somewhat flummoxed that her young scholars reverted to instant message language when writing essays for class.

They used abbreviations such as r for are; ur for either you are or you're; L8r for later, etc. During my brief and undistinguished career as an English professor (Teaching assistant, actually, as I said, undistinguished.) I had a solution to such nonsense. It was the instant message F, for failing.

But we had no such thing as instant messaging then. Kids did not own computers or cell phones. MySpace was a 10 by 12 room in the parents' house. Email had not replaced real letters and teachers still taught grammar and penmanship. I believed I bemoaned such technology recently in this space (My Space, as it were.)

A regular reader (that makes four) responded to that column with the somewhat disturbing information that an Instant Message dictionary exists. I logged on and found hundreds of words and phrases that pares the English language down to bare bones. Many of the items were warnings regarding possible parental supervision. For instance, POS means parent over shoulder. MIR is mom in the room. So, maybe it's a good thing that such a directory exists, if for no other reason than to understand what your children are discussing in code on laptops and cell phones.

Then it occurred to me that a similar system would be helpful to farmers who communicate with one another via the Internet. Farmers are pinched for time and abbreviated messages could save a minute or two out of every busy day. But everyone needs to be on the same, well, Web page, so to speak.

For instance, hd would be howdy. And hdy is howdy, yall. Cu, would, naturally, be see you. But communication in agriculture needs a specific language to handle the technical aspects of daily life and work. These might help:

Lgf — let's go fishing.

Lgfn — let's go fishing, now.

Gturdryt — got your deer yet?

Omgbof — oh my goodness the barn's on fire.

Cro — cows are out

Cir — crop is ruined

Gtnrn — getting any rain?

Cho — cotton hailed out

Rn2L8 — rained too late

Tnd — truck in ditch

And a few warning messages such as:

Bos — banker over my shoulder

Wir — wife in the room (appropriate following lgfn).

Soon farm computer screens will be happily buzzing with instant messages (These should work on cell phones as text messages if your fingers are small or nimble enough to punch out the appropriate letters.).

An example:



FB: Hd, gtnrn?

CM: Too much, tnd and cir.

FB: Mine too, cho. How's ur bottom line?

CM: Can't say, bos.

FB: 2bad. Lgf.

CM: Can't, wir.

FB: omgbof.

CM: I'd come help but cro.

FB: Gotta go. Cu.

It's a matter of time.

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