18 June 2012

Usage Monday: "The Ush" & "My Pleash"

I've had it on my mind for a long time, and I'd like to open up discussion about how on earth we should be abbreviating words like "usual" and "pleasure," as in "the ush" and "my pleash."

Most successful slang abbreviations stick to the letters that actually exist in the full-length word, like "what's the 'haps'" for "happenings." But in the cases of "usual" and "pleasure," there's a shushy "zsh" sound that's hard to capture without spelling out the entire word. If you use an "-sh" to shorten "usual," you end up with a word that looks more like it should be pronounced "[r]ush." To get that zsh sound in there, you'd think that maybe you could just write "uzsh," but again, that looks like it could be pronounced several wrong ways. Udge? Uztch? Adding the vowel sound that comes after the "s" might help, but there's no way to write that. It would look like "us[ua]" or something with far more symbols than the original word has letters. And we could always go with a "yoo-" beginning, but Dear Lord what kind of funhouse would that turn our language into?

I have no idea what would work, and a cursory Google search didn't produce any smart ideas. So I leave it up to you: help me figure out how to abbreviate these tricky, szhushy words, or face the very real possibility of never being able to write them down!!

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