I didn't know how happy I was, until I discovered that I had been living without knowing of the existence of "i18n" and "L1on".

These abominations are what I think of as tertiary jargon. Primary jargon arises organically, by accident, often from slang, corruptions, abreviations and audibility adjustments (a lot of printing jargon uses words that are easily distinguished against a lot of background noise). Primary jargon has a certain nobility; its very existence justifies its existence. Secondary jargon is a conscious invention in the presence of a need for a word - usually to differentiate between concepts or items where no differentiation is needed in other domains or contexts. Sometimes it is created in response to an innovation. Tertiary jargon is invented by people who think that jargon is cool, and is used by people who want to show that they are with it, fab hip and trendy, and generally on the bus. Primary and secondary jargons can both enrich language, provide extra meaning, and give practical benefits - even if in some cases the benefit is restricted to those using the jargon, such as nautical and theatrical jargons. Tertiary jargon is a form of weaseling; it leaves us with less meaning and less understanding.

True, it takes less time to type, and to say, "i18n" than to type or say "internationalization" (although if you type at up to 100wpm who cares?).

Well I've just been handed an internationalization project and you can be sure that on all communications and documents I shall be writing it in full. I can't think of a reason why I would ever want to write it in a text message; I think if I had a word like that to say to someone that I'd call them and say it aloud.

No comments: