Chat-Speak Invades the Classroom

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Sep 19 18:36:58 UTC 2002

In a message dated 9/19/02 1:51:41 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG writes:

> I remember in the second grade I consistently used "+" in place of
>  "and." I don't remember how I picked it up,

One of the common ways to make a handwritten ampersand is to make a vertical
stroke, then reverse your pen and move upward with an increasing curvature to
the right until your stroke is horizontal.  At this point make a tight
clockwise half-circle and finish off with a horizontal stroke across your
original vertical stroke.  Result is a plus sign with a small loop on the
right-hand side of the horizontal stroke.

I learned this one from my aunt, who is a music teacher and apparently uses
it to mark the "ands" of "one-and two-and three-and..."

As for Chat-Speak, do you remember the thread a few moons ago about
telegraphese?  Chat-speak doesn't come anywhere close to what Morse operators
routinely perpetrated.

A classic example, antedating Morse, occurred just before the Battle of
Nelson did NOT intend to say "England expects every man will do his duty."
He ordered the flag signal  "England confides every man will do his duty."
His signal officer told him that there was a coded flag signal for "expects"
and if he changed "confides" to "expects" the signal would be shorter.  So
Nelson agreed.  Not a great idea.  It is a matter of historical record that
some of the recipients of that now-legendary signal considered it an insult.

                  - Jim Landau

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