An interesting article in The Ledger looks at how acronyms are being used in speech.
It seems to be teenagers who use these most – from “ILY” (I love you) to “LOL” (laughing out loud). These terms appear to have come from ‘text speak’ – the use of abbreviations to fit more into text messages or when chatting online. They make sense when in written form (even my mother uses LOL) but what about when they are spoken?
Linguists are interested in this question, but they have no research on why these acronyms have been picked up and why they are used. According to one researcher, “Americans have always liked abbreviations” and this usage predates the internet. They also point out that acronyms are not new and were used by the Romans and Greeks.
Just be careful when sprinkling your speech with “LOL” and “WTF” though – the kids will probably have moved on to using something else by the time you figure out what context to use them in!