Friday, July 8, 2011

Fan Shorthand


Like any members of a distinct cultural group, fans invariably develop their own language, which helps them to symbolize their specialized knowledge, emphasize group cohesion, and communicate more effectively. Slang and shorthand are typically the mechanisms for developing this language; knowing the shortcuts for communication is a powerful kind of insider knowledge that takes study and experience to truly understand. At any rate, I was interested to find that even American Girl fans have their own shorthand:

AA: African-American, Asian American
AG: American Girl
AGB&B American Girl Boutique and Bistro
AGP: American Girl Place
AG(o)T (#): American Girl Doll (of) Today (Reference Number)
BB: Bitty Baby, Bitty Bear
BT: Bitty Twins
GoML: Girls of Many Lands
GotY: Girl(s) of the Year
HH: Hopscotch Hill
JLY: Just Like You
JLY(#): Just Like You (Reference Number)
My AG: My American Girl
Not!Doll's Name: A nickname for My American Girl dolls that resemble retired Girls of the Year.
PC: Pleasant Company
PM: Pre-Mattel

You might be tempted to see the acronyms above as a product of the current texting generation but I'm not so sure. Springsteen fans were doing this sort of thing with album titles (BitUSA, etc.) in the late 1980s, as were Deadheads and other fans of bands with multiple albums and elaborate titles. (Acronymy itself goes back to ancient Rome). I'd put American Girl shorthand into the broader history of fan slang, which ranges from the lingo of baseball fans in the 19th century to Star Trek fans since the 1960s.

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