IM Speak: 99, Honey, I <3 U

The Rutland Herald discusses the trend among teens to speak IM slang to each other:
Sending short typed messages over the Internet has supplanted the telephone for many teenagers as the preferred mode for staying connected. Once they become adept with typing IM lingo, they begin to say it out loud.

Each generation creates its own slang, usually gleaned from pop culture. It is one way teenagers, determined to prove their independence, carve out an adult-free zone, linguists say. In fact, the language works so well that some teens say adults seem oblivious to it. "Parents don't hear it," says Francine Han, 17, a senior at Independence High...

(For) some young people, IM speak, like an old joke, begins to grate. Lorraine Clemente, 17, would rather hear "No Problem" than "NP." And she prefers laughter over "ROTFL" (for "Rolling on the Floor Laughing"). "You can't really laugh and say LOL at the same time," she says.
Time to tune in, parents. We can learn a lot about our child's overall relationship to pop culture — and to us — by the way he or she wields language. Is she avidly using IM slang in conversation? Is he not using it all because he's generally clueless about trends in his own generation? Or, like Lorraine Clemente above, is she already shunning it as not cool, so outspokenly that others in their circle are following her lead? What's his reaction when we drop a phrase or two into our conversation with him? What's our gut reaction to our child's use or avoidance of this slang? As we listen to their use of language and reflect prayerfully, God can provide insight into our child's strengths and weaknesses as an ambassador — and our own. (Here's a good list of IM lingo in case you need translation help).

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