The language of knitters

A friend shared this graphic in a Facebook group I belong to it and I was at once struck by two things. First, how familiar I was with this knitters language  (except TOAD - that was a new one on me) and second, how baffling these words would seem to a non knitter. 

It got me thinking a little about why we use these words and the meaning they serve.

The main reason I guess is that a shared language gives us shared meaning and a sense of inclusion and community. When we use the same words we automatically tell another knitter "Yes, I am one of you too". It helps to foster a sense of friendship and camaraderie, especially in online communities where we can't rely on face to face methods of non verbal communication.

Use of specific language also helps to distinguish us from non knitters and to reinforce our sense of exclusivity and community. Any community or group, be they scientists, engineers or lawyers have their own specific acronyms and language that marks them out as different and separate from 'everyone else' and the language of knitters is no exception.

It must be a little daunting though as a new knitter to come across these terms. When you are struggling to grasp the concepts of gauge and blocking, to read about WIPs and SABLE must leave you with your mind reeling. Or if you have been knitting for years but are new to the online communities then again, it must seem like a whole new world.

I don't really know where I am going with this and certainly I don't think the use of such language is in any way wrong. I guess it just made me think about our use of language and to be more aware when communicating online with new knitters. And just to be mindful that not everyone shares the same language (yet) as I do.

Ido love to know what you think of this. Do you love the sense of fun and community that using such terms fosters or do they annoy you and you'd rather call a spade a spade? 

NNow if you'll excuse me I need to go and rescue my vanilla WIP from the frog pond.