Thursday, September 20, 2012

#TOMA, ITKers and WUMs

If you are unlucky enough to be a fellow Leeds United supporter, then this summer will have introduced you to a whole new world of anxiety, anticipation and moments of near-euphoria followed by crushing disappointment. And that's before you even go to a game, watch Ross McCormack get scythed down,  or see the "highlights" of another dreary defeat on TV. For this summer has been #TOMA summer.

TOMA? Yes TOMA. Take Over? My Arse. With the proposed takeover of Leeds United by a Bahraini/Saudi Arabian consortium now into its well over one hundredth day of negotiations and no deal with megalomaniac owner Ken Bates yet signed, Leeds fans have become used to TOMA fever. It consists of dripfeeds of information from ITKers (In The Know people) on WACCOE (We Are the Champions Champions Of Europe chat forum) who often turn out to be WUMs (Wind Up Merchants), campaign updates from LUST (Leeds United Supprters Trust) and the constant hitting of F5 (refresh).As well as nail-biting tension (and inevitable despair) it's been a hotbed of linguistic innovation.

The flexibility of initialisms and acronyms gives language the chance to express ideas very quickly and it's a really productive area of word formation. What's also interesting from a linguistic point of view is the ones which stay in use and the ones that don't. Will we still be ROFLing and LOLing in ten years, for example? Do we even realise that Radar, Laser and Scuba were once acronyms? And will we ever find out who was really ITK and who was just a WUM?

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