It's long been accepted at Vulture Central that the English language is going to the dogs. Indeed, many Reg hacks have made significant contribution to this process of decay with their "fluid" spelling and grammatical skills.
But it is the nation's youth who must shoulder much of the blame. Armed with their favoured weapon of linguistic destruction - the mobile phone - they have reduced our beloved tongue to a series of abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons meaningless to anyone over 25. Until now.
Cue breathless press release from www.transl8it.com, a Canadian outfit dedicated to putting the world of teen argot at your fingertips. According to Daniel Wilton, president of transl8it!: "This new truncated lingo is the hottest thing for today's pop-culture."
Right on, Daddy-o, so give me the inside jive:
The transL8it! website (www.transL8it.com) allows visitors to take SMS texting messages that start as English and convert them to SMS lingo or visa [sic] versa. Anyone with an internet connection can now make sense of texting lingo, acronyms, and emoticons, while optimizing space in their messaging.
Ah, I see. All well and good. Let's see how it works on the street. We asked one acne-crippled suburban teenager to run a typical Saturday evening's SMS through the translator. These are the results:
- Hello there sexy = LO der sexC
- Would you like to accompany me to the shopping centre for a candlelit dinner? = wud U lIk 2 accompany me 2 d shopping centre 4 a candlelit dinr?
- Two happy meals please = 2 :-) meals pls
- Yes, I'd like to see the soft drinks list = yS, I'd lIk 2 c d soft _/z list
- Are you on the pill? = R U on d pill?
Impressive stuff, but what's in it for us old timers? Well, if you're increasingly irritated by unsolicited advertising text messages from your mobile network, try this:
- Hello, if you SMS spam me again I'm going to come round there and break your legs = LO, f U SMS spam me again I'm goin 2 cum round der & break yor legs.
Yup, works for me. ®