Acronyms are the new vocabulary for everyone from the CEO to the LMFAO Facebook-e.  We go to university at MSU and then take the LSAT to go work as a CPA or maybe in PR.  Did I just mix up the job that goes with the test?  I’ll sort it out ASAP.  We live in the EU or the AU or the USA and listen to old Beatles songs of the USSR.  We fear AIDS but look forward to the end of the week when we can celebrate TGIF with our BFF.  Our alphabet is maximised while our vocabulary is reduced to what was meant to be just the building blocks of greater, more complete words.

In the midst of all this letter shuffling and strategic abbreviation we often manage to dumbify our language. We lose the nuances of the longer words come to be represented by only their first letter.
But at other times we manage to create a concise and even precise way to express surprisingly complex concepts.  We take the art of not using two words when one will do and pump its veins with acronymic steroids.  While we may ruin ourselves with LOL, we simultaneously come up with TIA.

TIA – This Is Africa.

Used as means of dismissal.  Potholes in the road worrying you?  TIA.

Used to reinforce ironic lack of surprise.  President found to be corrupt?  TIA.

At times, used in disgust, to emphasize the futility of bothering to say the full words.  Electricity price hike again?  TIA.

Said to visitors in too big a hurry.  Slow down, sisi.  TIA.

Said to embody the pace, the frustrations, the humor, the daily struggles and daily appreciations of the things that make a continent.  TIA.

Eleven national languages are here in South Africa, meaning no one understands everyone but everyone understands someone; someone very different from you; raised in a Zulu kraal or a Sandton high rise apartment.  Maybe that’s why it’s important to create the quickest means to an understanding; to eliminate the other letters that might just confuse those native speakers of the ten other official languages.  Because that’s another thing TIA means; in Africa what is unspoken is often just as important as what is.  In a nation with enough different languages to create a new age  Tower of Babel conciseness is king.  TIA.


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2 responses to “TIA”

  1. Pat says :

    I have never heard of “T.I.A.” before. It sounds like a pop band! But you’re spot on in pointing out how lazy we’ve gotten with out own language. Sometimes it makes communication easier, I suppose, but more often it means we water down what we say. Interesting post.

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