The poster seems to say "I have come so that you may live, and live to the full" (obviously I'm no student of the bible so perhaps Chun See can help me out here). I discovered this SMS Speak Translator and the translated results as follows:
- Original SMS Speak: "i hve km so dat u MA hve lif & lif 2 da ful"
- Converted to English: "eye hve km so dat you MA hve lif & lif to da ful"
Euan seemed aghast at the poster, although he didn't quite elaborate why. Perhaps it's that his local church (of all institutions) are resorting to using SMS Speak to get presumably the SMS-Speak Generation, i.e. Teens, to go to Church. Or maybe it's just the plain fact that it's SMS-Speak on UK-soil (the land where the English language originates).
I can use my LOLs and ROTFLs with the best of them. In fact, Pre-IRC/ IM days, I was reading war stories filled with acronyms like 'REMF's and 'SNAFU's (yeah, go figure those out).
But SMS-Speak, I don't quite grasp it as well.
Terms like LOL and SNAFU are acronyms (i.e. formed by picking out the first letter of the word in a phrase). It's a mnemonic device. SMS Speak, however, isn't one (at least not the way I see it). Some have termed it a language on it's own, or at least a corruption of the mainstream language which has established its legitimate sub-culture.
That's not to say I'm against using SMS Speak on posters, targeting at teens. The purpose of that poster was to draw Teens' attention to the church -- to put the church on the SMS Speaker's radar. The poster would have done its job, and more.
So I would want to try something like that for the library. I'm aware that in doing so, we'd have adults (teachers, even) writing in to complain that the library would be seen as encouraging or endorsing bad-spelling.
Still, I'd do it. While I think highly of libraries, I don't think libraries have that sort of influence on teens. I wish we did, but we don't. Not to that large an extent.
I will accept SMS-Speak in informal situations. It's the blatant (mis)use of SMS-Speak in ALL occasions that I'm against -- strict no-no where formality is called for. Nevertheless, I will not preach to teens on the use of SMS-Speak. I'll let the English Language teachers do that.
I'm merely recognising the fact that there is such a sub-culture among teens. I'd even argue that if libraries -- by speaking their (SMS) language -- can draw them into our premises where there's a chance they'd use our collections (of which a large part is in proper written English), we're probably doing the English Language teachers a favour.
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