Friday, November 15, 2019

Jargon File

The very next year, between March and April 1977, we see the beginning of the social acronyms.

This version describes them as “a special set of jargon words, used to save typing” in Talk mode, an early kind of chat. These acronyms include the now unremarkable R U THERE? but also the now obscure BCNU (be seeing you), T and NIL for “yes” and “no,” and CUL, “see you later.”

(I’ve kept the acronyms in all caps in this section, because that’s how the Jargon File lists them, but it’s unclear whether this is a reflection of how people typed them at the time or an editorial addition on the part of the Jargon File’s contributors. I rather suspect the latter.)

A version in December 1977 picked up the still-current BTW and FYI, but other than that, this was all we got for social slang, up to and including the first published version in 1983.

Then there was a freeze on editing for the rest of the decade.
Source: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

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