Speaking in Shorthand

If you’re an editor-type, you probably catch yourself editing signs, magazines, the newspaper–basically anything written. And you probably even edit what people say, if only in your head. (Really, unless it’s a 10-year-old, it’s best to do it in your head.)

I generally overlook and even enjoy the idiosyncracies of the spoken word. “We might should replace the rug in the living room,” is a wonderful, regionally specific way to express concern and doubt all in one statement. I treasure people who say, “ya’ll” indicating they’re Southern, and “you’uns,” indicating they’re likely from Appalachia. “Ain’t” even has its place.

But I draw the line at anyone being too busy to say ALL of a word. I’m not talking about contractions, or blended words. I’m talking about people who say veg instead of vegetable. Really? Is it too much to throw in the other three syllables? When we were looking for our house the realtor pointed out all the rhododendrons in the neighborhood and said, “It’ll be gorgeous when the rhodos bloom.” We bought the house, anyway.

We were watching a cooking show the other night and the cook kept saying things like “veg,” “parm,” “mozz,” and so on. Another person on the same show talked about how hard it is to find a good “strami” sandwich. Well, maybe if he used the whole word, people would know what he was looking for.

I think people talk this way in hopes of sounding like an insider. And maybe, to some folks they do. As for me? Please, just use the whole word and I’ll keep the editing inside my head.

6 thoughts on “Speaking in Shorthand

  1. Daniel

    New to the South, use of language fascinated me. The first truly remarkable expression I remember was uttered by a woman carrying a sweater who came into the large room where I was working—along with four other people. “Is this here youallis?, she asked

  2. I hate to admit it, but in Minnesota we have a lot of slang. We’re not as bad as “Fargo” would portray us, but every once in a while I catch myself saying something truly Minnesotan. I say “ya” a lot and now my children say it, too. I try to correct the nasty habit and remind them that the word is “yes,” but I think it’s too late. Your post made me laugh!

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