The emergence of hypergrams in the written language of young people

Anybody who has young Facebook contacts from the UK is likely to have come across weird spellings in recent years.

It started out as text speak, i.e., the abbreviation of words to make them easier to type on a phone, such as gr8t ‘great’, 2moz ‘tomorrow’ and wat ‘what’.

However, recently they seem to have started making the words longer too, typically by repeating letters.

Here are a few examples from my Facebook contacts:

helloooo bestieee ?
ehhh itss kindaa sick :L
NAKKKKEDDD scenes :O wuu2 ?
yu madeee soo many mistaakes i think u comeee tomorrow i think orr maybeee wednesdaaay :S
in londonnn and itss fiaaaaane ! 😀

I’m not aware of any existing term for these spellings, so I’m going to call them hypergrams.

Obviously they help to mark the writer as a young person, but we asked Marcel over dinner whether they served any specific purpose (such as adding emphasis to a word), but he claimed this was not the case.

It would be interesting to know if anybody has done any research on this topic.

Generations


Our parents’ generation were born at a time of strife and poverty, but after that things got better and better for them. However, the picture for our generation is much more complex.

I was therefore very interested when I found a book from 1991 (“Generations” by Strauss and Howe), which claims that there are types of generations, and that these types are repeated in a cycle.

In that way, Phyllis and I are part of a generation which in many ways has more in common with the people born between 1883 and 1900 (that is, those who were hit by the Great Depression when they were between 28 and 46 and for whom WWII ended when they were between 45 and 62).

And to Phyllis and me, the following quote sounds very modern: “We have not men fit for the times. We are deficient in genius, in education, in travel, in fortune – in everything. I feel unutterable anxiety.” However, it was uttered by John Adams (1735-1826), a member of our generation, just three cycles earlier.

Of course, this generational cycle idea cannot be proven, but the fact that the book is nearly twenty years old makes it more powerful, because it sounds spookily prophetic in places.

For instance, the book discusses how different generations would handle a terror attack, and bear in mind that George W. Bush was a baby-boomer (“Boomer” in this book’s terminology):

Finally, suppose the terrorists were to strike during the upcoming Crisis constellation […]. Boomer leaders […] would neither hide nor ponder the rumor; instead, they would exaggerate the threat […] and tie it to a larger sense of global crisis. Unifying the nation as a community, these leaders would define the enemy broadly and demand its total defeat – regardless of the human and economic sacrifices required. (p. 375)

This following looks pretty prophetic, too:

By the late 1990s, […] [pay] will be increasingly market-driven […]. Year-to-year results will be rewarded more than lifetime achievement. The stars who can win, show Ruthian bravado, and fill arenas will make fantastic sums (enhanced by international bidding).

[…]

Looking for a lightning strike at success, 13ers will dart from job to job. Their mobility will discourage employers from investing in job training – or from offering pensions to new hires.

I’m not saying the book is correct in all its predictions, but it’s definitely worth a read.

I’ve not finished reading it yet, so I might blog more about it later.

Rotated maps

Some years ago, a colleague of mine from Cartographic gave me a wonderful map: It showed Scotland and Ireland, but rotated so that Scotland was straight above Ireland, and with all place names in Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

I’m not sure why, but the usual way of displaying Ireland next to England makes me feel Ireland is far away from Scotland, when they really are very close together.

The map sadly got lost when I moved from Mavisbank Gardens to Rose Street, but I’ve tried to recreate the effect here, although I’ve arranged the two countries horizontally instead of vertically:

Feel free to tell me that everything looks entirely normal to you.

If you’re anything like me, however, you will be amazed how some places (such as Belfast or Islay) suddenly look like they’re central rather than on the periphery.

Japanese levels of debt

Private and public-sector debtMcKinseyQuarterly has published a scary article (free registration required) that shows how the UK’s debt (private and public sector) has now reached Japanese levels, far higher than other Western countries, including to the US. (Hattip: Guy Fawkes’ blog.)

I’m not sure how serious this is in its own right. For instance, for Japan it is often said that the massive debt is less of a problem because most of the creditors are Japanese, too. However, this is unlikely to be the case for the UK.

All that I can see is that if the UK’s debt needs to be reduced to American (or just French) levels, it’s going to be very, very painful.

Langtidsstegning af and



The duck
Originally uploaded by professor evil

Min far og mig bruger hvert år denne opskrift fra dk.kultur.mad+drikke, når vi skal lave juleand (tak til Stig Bergmann):

Ænder bør altid veje 3.000 gr og derover, der er ikke megen kød på mindre ænder.

Anden renses og gnides ind og udvendigt med salt og peber. Til fyld renser du og skære 3-4 æbler i skiver, det må gerne være Belle Boskop eller endnu bedre Cox Orange. bland de skivede æbler med en håndfuld svedsker uden sten, luk anden med kødnåle.

Læg anden på bradenpanden, fuglen skal vende brystsiden nedad. Lad den stege i en 130 grader varm ovn i 4 timer. Vend derefter dyret om og lad det stege færdig i 2 timer. Den er nu så mør at den knapt skal parteres.

I år er jeg dog kommet for sent i gang, så jeg har været nødt til at skrue lidt op for temperaturen.

Glædelig jul, i øvrigt!

Hvilke partier er tættest på hinanden?

Højre-venstreSom regel placerer man de danske partier på en venstre-højre-skala som denne: Enhedslisten – SF – Socialdemokraterne – Det radikale Venstre – Liberal Alliance – Konservative – Venstre – Dansk Folkeparti.

Men det er jo en forældet skala.

Den traditionelle skala er baseret på økonomisk politik, men Dansk Folkeparti er jo bestemt ikke ultraliberalistisk, og afstanden mellem de fleste partier er på det område blevet indsnævret siden kommunismens fald.

Andre har så prøvet at lave en værdipolitisk skala, hvor De Radikale og Dansk Folkeparti er yderpunkterne, men så bliver det svært at forstå, hvordan Socialdemokraterne overhovedet kan overveje at samarbejde med DrV og SF.

Så jeg har nu plottet partierne ind i en koordinatsystem.

På x-aksen har vi værdipolitikken, og på y-aksen den økonomiske politik.

Jeg har også indtegnet den traditionelle højre-venstre-skala (den blå linie).

De præcise placeringer skyldes min vurdering af ledelsernes aktuelle politik. Fx ligger mange menige socialdemokrater og folkesocialister længere til venstre inden for værdipolitikken end deres formænd.

Jeg synes, figuren godt illustrerer, hvorfor det er så svært at samle oppositionen – Socialdemokraterne er simpelthen tættere på VKO end på resten af oppositionen, muligvis fraregnet SF.

Højre-venstreOpdatering (17/9): Jeg har nu lavet en lidt anderledes version, baseret på nogle af kommentarerne til dette indlæg.

Er denne udgave mere retvisende?

Den forsinkede bryllupsfest



Kransekage
Originally uploaded by PhylB

Som læsere af denne blog vil vide, blev Phyllis og mig gift den 28. februar.

Man vil måske også huske, at vi holdt brylluppet i huj og hast, fordi jeg havde fået at vide, at mit job muligvis skulle skæres væk.

Idéen var på det tidspunkt, at vi ville blive gift hurtigt og så holde bryllupsfesten, når jeg igen havde fast job.

Så langt, så godt! Vi blev gift, og det var en dejlig dag.

Vores nærmeste familie var der, og mange af Phyllis’ venner kom forbi til receptionen.

Det blev i månederne derefter klart, at jeg ville miste mit job, og vi fandt også ud af, at recessionen gjorde det meget vanskeligt at finde et godt job i Glasgow-området.

Vi startede derfor vores eget firma, og det har jeg ikke fortrudt – med fire børn i huset (og det femte på vej) er det skønt med den fleksibilitet, som det giver.

Men livet som selvstændig er også uforudsigeligt: Der er gode måneder, og der er dårlige måneder.

Det gør, at det desværre ikke er tilrådeligt at brænde en masse penge af på en stor fest på nuværende tidspunkt. 🙁

Det er vel først, når de dårlige måneder er gode nok til at betale de faste udgifter, at man kan tillade sig at spendere overskuddet fra de gode måneder, og det punkt har vi ikke nået endnu.

Reelt er det derfor udelukket, at vi holder bryllupsfest i år, og de første par måneder efter den forventede fødsel i januar er vi nok for udkørte.

Hvis vi er heldige, kan vi derfor måske begynde at planlægge bryllupsfest i løbet af foråret (2010), men hvis firmaet tager længere tid at løbe i gang, kan det også nemt blive en del senere.

Det var naturligvis ikke det, vi så i ånden, da vi besluttede at adskille bryllup og fest – dengang troede vi, festen ville blive holdt nogle få måneder senere, mens vi stadig kunne genkende os selv på billederne.

Nu står vi så i en underlig situation: Til brylluppet gav nogle folk os gaver, men de fleste gjorde, hvad vi anbefalede på bloggene, og gav os blot et kort, hvor det stod, at vi ville få en gave til festen. Og mange af vores venner, især dem i Danmark, nåede måske slet ikke at opdage, at vi skulle giftes, og vi sendte dem ingen invitationer, da vi ville gøre det til festen i stedet.

Men hvem gider komme til en bryllupsfest flere år senere?