In formal academic prose it is considered bad form to abbreviate words simply to save space, time or energy. However, in this digital age not only abbreviations but acronyms are thriving. Every now and then I have lost the context of the conversation while texting in a group chat. I wonder, is it just me? Is there a generation gap? Am I too old? or is it just a pretence that someone is trying desperately to fit in?
Let’s take an example:
“Didiji” or “Bhenji” (didi/bhen – sister; ji – respect) is used to call out your elder sister in Punjabi (my mother tongue).
Its just a six letter word. I don’t feel the need to cut it out or abbreviate it further. But, you won’t be surprised if I told you that this word is down to two letters now to “di” and quite popular on social media. I am not sure if it really means sister any more and certainly there is no form of respect attached to it.
The word “ji” (respect- Punjabi language) or “san” (respect – Japanese language) is something we add to pay our respects for the person on the other end of the conversation. We don’t subtract it just to save time. I do understand that when you lose respect for the person, this piece is the first thing you are going to drop while addressing her. But until then, keep it intact. Perhaps the habit of giving respect might hold you back from going too far in an altercation.
You can call me old school, but sometimes the abbreviations might not be the way to preserve the rich culture you have.
What do you think?