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Telegraphese

blusk
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On my "365 New Words A Day" calendar (okay, I am a word geek) that I got for Christmas last year, I just found the word telegraphese, which means to communicate in a terse, brief style like a telegraph operator would.  Many of you are too young to remember telegrams, but for over 100 years they served as a predecessor of e-mail and text/IM messaging by providing almost instant written communication.  Telegraph companies like Western Union would charge by the word, so it became important to pare any communication to the barest minimum of words to keep the costs down.  Telegrams came printed in all capital letters and without punctuation.  The word "STOP" was used to signify a break in thought.  Many a parent of college students would receive a late night telegram delivered by messenger that might read, "AM BROKE STOP SEND MONEY ASAP STOP JUNIOR".  One of history's most famous telegrams was sent by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst to painter Frederic Remington and war correspondent Richard Davis in Cuba after the USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor in 1897.  "YOU FURNISH THE PICTURES AND I'LL FURNISH THE WAR" and he did just that.  Hearst would have had a field day with text-messaging because these phone messages have pared communications down even more to the absolute minimum by using abbreviations and shortcuts.  Does "lol" and "c u" ring a bell?  Hearst could have sent his famous telegram this way:  "need pic asap 4 war post." There is a place, a time, and a need for telegraphese, but adjectives and adverbs enrich our lives and our communications.  They contribute meaning, context, passion, and emotion to our written words.  In my position, I have the opportunity to read beautifully written letters (both by our Customers and our Employees) and articles for publication, along with some wonderful posts and comments for this blog.  I don't mean everyone has to go overboard like Faulkner, but the English language is a beautiful repository of wonderful words that can express just the right meaning.  It also contains tons of words with double meanings that provide a goldmine of material for punsters like me that will hopefully make a reader LMAO. I didn't mean this to be a rant about language (and I didn't even get to "business/technology speak," which drives me absolutely crazy), but maybe it will get everyone thinking about what they write.  Remember, your written word can last forever, and it reflects upon you. Hopefully you are LOL. C U later.
36 Comments
FriendofBlogBoy
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BRIAN SOUTHWEST=LUV DONT EVER STOP BCNU KIM
FriendofBlogBoy
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Brian, All kidding aside, you might also be familiar with another famous, but short telegram that Mr. Hearst sent. In 1949, the publisher became quite impressed with the Reverend Billy Graham, and just prior to Graham's fall crusade in Los Angeles, Hearst sent a two-word telegram to all of his newspaper editors. Using a newspaperman's slang term that indicated he wanted each of them to give Rev. Graham the maximum amount of publicity as possible in their papers (front page headlines, etc.), he instructed them via telegraphese to "PUFF GRAHAM". To this day, Billy Graham tells the story of the impact on attendance that Hearst's two-word telegram had in Los Angeles and his following crusades. Kim
Leah4
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I sometimes like to say in emails things like, I'll KYU-Keep You Updated, or I'll LYK-Let You Know. I say things like that only when I'm emailing friends or people I'm close to. 🙂
Terry_Lessig
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To illustrate your point, Brian, sometimes verbs are also necessary. A reporter writing a story about Cary Grant sent a telegram to the star's publicist asking his age. It read, HOW OLD CARY GRANT. Mr. Grant himself replied, OLD CARY GRANT FINE STOP HOW YOU.
Francisco_Delga1
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Oh Brian...... Welcome to the 21st century. We don't have time to right complete sentences.... I can see your fustration. I am not one to create new words. It is all part of the society that we live in.. Happy New Year... Francisco
Mark111
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DEAR OU FOOTBALL STOP BEWARE THE STATUE STOP BEST, BOISE STATE HEAD CHEERLEADER STOP
FriendofBlogBoy
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HOWDY LEAH STOP HAPPY NEW YEAR STOP KIM STOP :-) P. S. Gee, you never e-mail me...I guess you're not close to me...boo hoo hoo :-( LOL
Francisco_Delga1
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sorry for my improper grammer... in my last entry i used right instead of write... the ship is getting to me.. MARK.... I CANNOT BELIEVE OU LOST!!!!!!!!!WHAT IS GOING ON... GO CHARGERS!!!
Leah4
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Howdy Kim stop Happy New Year stop Leah stop I don't have your email stop Hey, Mark! I live in Oklahoma! 🙂 As much as I love it here, & I really do, I sometimes think I'm ready to move out of state.
Leah4
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I remember in Junior High & High School, some of my friends would, after signing my yearbook, write LYLAS-Love You Like A Sister. 🙂
blusk
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LMAO STOP SPUD STATE MSG 2 FUNNY STOP SORRY FOR SOONERS LEAH STOP BLOG BOY NEEDS MONEY STOP
FriendofBlogBoy
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No one should send Blog Boy any money -- he'll only use it to buy more candy corn. Don't be an enabler for this poor addict to continue down his path of caloric destruction. Sorry to Leah and all you OU fans, but as a UT alumnus and proud Texan, I have no sympathy for the Sooners! LOL Kim 🙂
Francisco_Delga1
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i thought i was blog boy?????????????????????????????????
Leah4
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Ah, okay Kim! You're forgiven! :)
Mary23
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Mark, the cheerleader would never give up secrets she was after the ring. OU fans should be proud of their team they played well. The Broncos played razzle dazzle and made this fan proud.
JoLyne
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I love words as well. I also collect short inspiration phrases. Two of my favorites: Being a lady is like being powerful. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't ~ Lady Margaret Thatcher Hope is not a plan ~ Anderson Cooper (after witnessing Hurricane Katrina) BTW (by the way) Did you know Western Union recently delivered the last telegram and no longer provides this service? Welcome to progress! Keep the great blogs coming!
blusk
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Francisco, we can have more than one "Blog Boy." Maybe we need to form a Blog Boy Club? Brian
doncie
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I Luv T.G.I.F...........Thank God I'm Female........... ROTFLMAO....Rolling on the floor laughing MAO...... Leah....I'm going to have steal your KYU & LYK...I'll hafta use those in text msgs to my daughter. Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!!!
FriendofBlogBoy
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Brian, If we form a Blog Boy Club, will we get official BB paraphernalia? You know, like a special ring and lapel pin to identify ourselves to the world, our own engraved BBC ID card/badge on a spiffy lanyard (of course, the lanyard would be multi-colored, using the red, white and orange hues of Candy Corn, the official snack food of members of the BBC), and last but not least, would we be taught the ultra-secret "Blog Boy Handshake"? I mean, if we're gonna have a club, let's make it a real club! Oh yeah, can we build our own BBC clubhouse/fort up in a large tree in your backyard? Naturally, we'd have to modify our "No Gurlz Alowwed" sign with "except those cute Culture Chicks"! :-) This is gonna be sooooo cool! By the way, please be sure that our secret meetings are over by 6 pm, cause I've gotta be home in time for dinner. Thanks, Blog Boy Club Member #2 (Brian is our founder, leader and charter member) Kim 🙂
blusk
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BLOG BOY CLUB SECRET REVEALED STOP DESTROY ALL DECODER RINGS STOP DISCONTINUE USE OF BLOG BOY HANDSHAKE STOP
blusk
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BTW One of my all-time favorite movies is "Strategic Air Command" with Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson. Jimmy's character leaves his pregnant wife to fly a long B-36 training mission and the plane crashes in Greenland. When he is rescured, June's character has given birth and she send's a telegram asking what to name the baby girl. When Jimmy gets back to Carswell AFB here in Texas, he asks June what the girl's name is? She looks puzzled and says "Hope." That's the name you sent me and then she shows him the telegram and it says: CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING BUT HOPE STOP ALL IS WELL It should have read: CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING STOP BUT HOPE ALL IS WELL
FriendofBlogBoy
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Donna, You have one of your abbreviations wrong...didn't you hear about the blonde who was showing off her new athletic shoes to her blonde friend? The other blonde is admiring the lovely styling and great arch supports, but is puzzled by the letters printed on the inside, plainly visible to whoever would be putting them on. She asks the proud owner of the shoes what "TGIF" means. "The guy at the shoe store said this was a special version just for ladies with hair like mine. It is so cool for them to remind you -- it means Toes Go In First!!" Running and ducking, Kim 🙂
Lacey
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Brian, Your blogs have me FOCL (that is, "Falling off my chair laughing). FWIW (for what its worth) I feel telegraphese is coming back! JMO (just my opinion). BTW: Kids these days live on text messages, so to reach the younger Southwest Airlines Customers, my suggestion is to send a text message stating: "Peeps Fly 4 Cheap!" RU C-ing a pattern in the communication of the future? Less is more! TAFN (That's all for now!) LYL (Love you lots), Lacey P.S.: NRN (no response necessary!)
FriendofBlogBoy
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Lacey, If only James Michener had discovered "telegraphese" sooner, it wouldn't have taken me so long to read "Texas"... UR Frnd, K 🙂
doncie
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Those r 2 funny & cute Kim & Lacey. There r so many out there. Just type in Text abbreviations, u wud not bleve how many like CRS (can't remember sh**), IIWM(if it were me), IMAO(in my arrogant opinion), ILSW (I luv Southwest). I made that 1 up. HaHa Ã
Victoria3
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YOU ALL MADE ME LMAO STOP PLS AIRMAIL BUCKET OF CANDY CORN ASAP STOP MUST REPLENISH DIMINISHED BOTTOM STOP CANDY CORN WILL GO STRAIGHT TO HIPS STOP ; ) Victoria
Jenny4
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Alright! After reading the initial post by Brian, I thought I'd make my New Year resolution to read the dictionary. NOW I'm wondering if there is a dictionary out there for text message shorthand! (If there isn't lets compile one and make it a NY Times best seller). Kim, I've never read the book "Texas" but I have read "Whirlwind" and if that book was written in telegraphese (or text message format today) - I would've put it down without ever finishing it! Now for the dictionary, should be start with the phrase and put the letters behind it, OR put the various phrases under each shorthand entry... For example: TGIF 1. Thank God it's Friday 2. Thank God I'm Female 3. Toes Go In First. Oh - and how do you know which definition you are using? If I use TGIF in regard to the day of the week, and Kim uses it to help remind others Toes Go in First and Donna wants to express her joy of being woman....how on earth do we communicate correctly?! I think I'm with Francisco on this one.....never right, write, a complete sentence and just leave everyone wondering what you.... Jenny Frasco
blusk
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VICTORIA STOP CANDY CORN PURE NUTRITION STOP WILL RESTORE BOTTOM STOP
Victoria3
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BRIAN STOP THANKS FOR POINTING OUT NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF CANDY CORN STOP WILL HELP WITH RESOLUTION TO EAT BETTER STOP ROFLMAO SATISFIES RESOLUTION TO FIT IN MORE EXERCISE STOP 2007 OFF TO GREAT START STOP VICTORIA
FriendofBlogBoy
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Ya know, it isn't exactly telegraphese, but I HAVE always gotten a chuckle out of whoever programs many of the Southwest Airlines arrival/departure TV monitors in the airports. Anyone who spells the largest city in Nevada as "LA$ VEGA$" has a definite sense of humor! LOL 🙂
blusk
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Kim, I also hear "Sin City" referred to as "Lost Wages"--but of course it's two to one that I have no firsthand knowledge of either sin or gambling. Blog Boy
FriendofBlogBoy
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I'll "bet" that's not what the Culture Chicks would say about you... Come on, Sunny, tell us all the things that Brian does when he thinks no one is watching... LOL 🙂
sabercrombie
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Oh, Kim! I can't reveal everything about my dear friend! What on earth would he blog about? As to your earlier comment about allowing the Culture Chicks into your club/tree house for Blog Boys--you can count me in!! I was never allowed into any boys' clubs growing up, so I consider it a huge honor! Wanna become an honorary Culture Chick??? Or would that be Culture Capon?? Take your pick!! XOXO
FriendofBlogBoy
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YIKES!!! I looked up the exact definition of "capon"...and I think I'd prefer to be a Culture Dude. Do I get to wear a skull belt buckle like the Head Chick? Kim P. S. Maybe I could be the Honorary Southwest Airlines Cup of Yogurt...then I'd have LOTS of culture!!! LOL 🙂
blusk
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Kim, I get nervous whenever anyone uses "capon" and "cup" in the same post. Blog Boy
FriendofBlogBoy
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Blog Boy, As long as neither of us starts singing in the soprano section, we should be safe. But if Sunny comes around the corner with an evil gleam in her eye and a sharp knife, I'd run for the hills! Kim