More on early txtng

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Aug 19 18:02:18 UTC 2010

Do we know the earliest examples the British Library has found?  If
its merely 1867 --

There will be examples of the linguistic games people played, and a
poem from Gleanings From the Harvest-Fields of Literature, published
in 1867. In it, 130 years before the arrival of mobile phone texting,
Charles C Bombaugh uses phrases such as "I wrote 2 U B 4". Another
verse reads: "He says he loves U 2 X S,/ U R virtuous and Y's,/ In X
L N C U X L/ All others in his i's."

then someone should inform them that this "emblematic poetry" arose
in America, by 1813 ... I'll try, but I have to wait until my
registration to post is confirmed. Larry, what is the date of your KTJ poem?


At 8/19/2010 10:48 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>You'll recall Joel's posting below, or some of you possibly mine from
>2002 mentioning this poem (cited by A. W. Read in one of his "O.K."
>Oh KTJ is far B4
>All other maids IC;
>Her XLNC I adore
>As a lovely NTT.
>Well, this phenomenon has now been (re)discovered in England:
>(Ben Zimmer suggested looking at David Crystal's _txting: the gr8
>db8_ (OUP, 2008) for more on the history, which I haven't done, and
>which is also unmentioned in the Guardian piece.)
>At 11:51 AM -0400 4/18/09, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>While looking for "P's and Q's", I came across the following early
>>example of texting.  I doubt not that there are other examples,
>>perhaps back to Roman times; but I was amused.  I've inserted an *
>>where I cannot decode the message or am uncertain.
>>Earliest in Olio [NY, NY], published as The Olio; Date: 05-22-1813;
>>Volume: I; Issue: 17; Page: 136, but I take it from the
>>better-printed American Advocate [Hallowell, Maine]; Date:
>>12-17-1814; Volume: V; Issue: 48; Page: [4]:
>>Ingenious Conceit.
>>COME listen to my DT, all those that lovers B;
>>Attune your hearts to PT, and read my LEG.
>>A bachelor of AT, my brains are racked with KR;
>>Of love you'll find the data, if you give serious ER.
>>When twenty summers I had CN, with Kate in love I fell;
>>A CT wench with black I's keen my EZ heart did sell.
>>For ten long years I courted her, 'twas KT DR & DRE;
>>And when she frown'd my heart it bump'd, my eyes grew wet and TRE.
>>I never once had kiss'd the maid, she was so sly and coy;
>>Nor never grasped her RM nor waist, to snatch the blissful joy.
>>One day, without much KR or form, my *ID's fill'd with love,
>>I slipped into her room and saw what made *H passion move.
>>A favorite beau in *TP dress was kissing her quite free;
>>To love her after this, says I, a great fool I must B.
>>To XMN then her love I tried, and found it all a whim;
>>To hate her then, I tried my best, and not to NV him.
>>Her FIG in paper cut, I tore and threw away,
>>Resolv'd some way to find a QR, at least make one SA.
>>Of absence then the FIKC I tried, but all in vain;
>>My MT head, and too full heart, felt hard the aching pain.
>>My throbbing heart, would not be EZ, to see her scoff and GR;
>>Till DZ I did get myself with drinking punch & BR.
> From love's fever and *AQfortie free, since I've ever BN,
>>Nor am I plagu'd with curs'd relapse, for which I sing TDM.
>>Should NE one wish love to shun, 'tis plain as ABC,
>>That he must mind his Ps and Qs, or he's fix'd to a T.
>>Then live a jolly bachelor, let Cupid sing to thee,
>>"YYs UR, YYs UR, I C U R YYs for me."
>>* ID's = ideas?
>>*H = each?
>>*TP = ?
>>*AQfortie = ?

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