Briefing myself quickly on the topic by browsing Wikipedia’s article I’m realizing I do not wish to go into to much detail, as much as merely muse.
I was working construction this evening with a part-time carpenter and a painter/artist/paint-salesman. We were putting up sheetrock for a ceiling. It seemed newly interesting to me the way the carpenter, John, used abbreviations. He simply labeled things like “C” for chimney, “CL” (with the L crossing through the C) for Center Line, “TL” for total length. These are clearly personal use, not intended for anyone else to see, interpret, or even understand. The idea made me think of something I realize time and time again working construction: human tool-use. There’s always an easier way to do something, but sometimes figuring out what that easier way is takes longer than doing it the hard way. Linguistic tools are becoming more and more interesting to me the more I see them used in practical day-to-day activity. Things like non-standard abbreviations are just tools, and it’s interesting somewhat that we use language not just for communicating ideas to others, but also to help with our own mental facilitation.