Urban Dictionary App to Take On Chicago Manual of Style

urban_dictBecause of the growing popularity of e-books and the burgeoning population of younger readers, the Urban Dictionary, LLC announced yesterday via a YouTube press conference that it plans to release its own style guide app in 2015.

“Chicago’s just not dope enough to hang with us,” said Urban Dictionary’s founder, Aaron Peckham. Stressing the ubiquitous Chicago Manual of Style’s lack of focus on new technology, including the lexicon of text speak and urban slang, Peckham went on to say that SMUD (Stylin’ Mo’Urban Dictionary, a name based on their popular book Mo’Urban Dictionary), will be filling a huge need.

“It’s so awesome,” Peckham’s assistant, Jessica, text-messaged in a group follow-up to the press conference. “And how else are hipsters and the olds gonna know that YOLO is all caps and Twerk haz a cap T or whatevs?” She cited the confusion of which characters to use for an emoticon, the proper acronyms for texting and the like as examples of why this style guide is so important for today’s independent author. She also mentioned that the app could make the main offices of the Urban Dictionary more productive and less stressful, because currently, she has to “spend at least an hour chillaxing every day after fielding all the phone calls about how to make that totes adorb little penguin or the smiley face with the sunglasses.”

In an elaboration to Jessica’s follow-up on the Urban Dictionary’s blog, intern Trevor, a self-published author himself, wrote: “Chicago and AP [Associated Press Style Guide] don’t get on this stuff fast enough. Even texting, which lots of characters do in books, we don’t know WTF to do. It’s important stuff, for realz, and if it sounds like someone’s grandma, kids aren’t going to buy it. So we see this as a win-win all the way around. Writers can sound hip without asking their kids to translate the hundreds of ways to ROFL and maybe getting it wrong.” As an example, he forwarded a link to a Tumblr post about an author asking her kids to give her the lowdown on the text-speak, but as a joke, the kids punked her by giving her totally wrong meanings.

When asked if SMUD could potentially influence the popularity and market position of the Chicago Manual of Style, a representative from CMoS, who refused to give his name unless we paid $35 for an online subscription, said that we were smart enough to use the index and look up the answers ourselves.

Author: Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley. Learn more about Laurie at her website and her Amazon author page.

25 thoughts on “Urban Dictionary App to Take On Chicago Manual of Style”

  1. Some changes actually enhance language. This merely downgrades it to mindless drivel. YUK!

  2. Will this result in more lazy writing? I’ve seen a lot of that lately–poorly written books that give indies a bad name. If you’re writing for an urban market, fine. As for the rest of us, I’m not so sure that this is the direction authors should be taking…

  3. This makes my stomach churn. While I recognize that language is a living thing, changing over time, it is also precious and tender – it needs to be valued and protected. Language boils down to symbolic communication, using several layers of translation. I translate my thoughts and emotions into symbols we call words. You take those words and retranslate them into your own neural impulses. Hopefully what is intended and what is understood are largely similar, but it is an imperfect system at best. Rules of grammar, syntax and the nuances of vocabulary are intended to maximize the signal to noise ratio. Beyond lazy writing, this is an assault in linguistic integrity and the art we all cherish of weaving words into a rich and vibrant tapestry.

    Yes, I’ve become the crusty old guy, that my younger, bell-bottomed, paisley clad self swore he would never be. I refuse to use those text-speak acronyms. Indeed I’ve never sent a text and never will. I know, at some level, this is a losing fight, but it’s important to me and what I perceive as my craft. I will go down with the ship, my fountain pen clutched tightly in my upraised fist and loudly proclaiming my allegiance to the Queen’s English!

    1. Touché! The perils of living alone and going straight to email before coffee or a look at the calendar. But I’m still putting the ‘u’ in labour and colour! And if the snow ever melts I will proudly wear socks with my sandals.

  4. I was reading it and assuming it was one of Stephen’s spoofs until I glanced up at the byline.
    I gotta say… I find the Urban Dictionary to be a very useful writing tool. It’s like Google Earth for usage.
    AND, I find the Chicago style guide useless, haven’t owned one since I stopped writing for magazines, where style guides are actually relevant.
    BUT, these little fools are out of it.

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