One exhibit will be a BBC pronunciation guide from 1928, in which
broadcasters are told to pronounce combat as cumbat and housewifery as
There will be examples of the linguistic games people
played, and a poem from Gleanings From the Harvest-Fields of Literature,
published in 1867. In it, 130 years before the arrival of mobile phone
texting, Charles C Bombaugh uses phrases such as “I wrote 2 U B 4”.
Another verse reads: “He says he loves U 2 X S,/ U R virtuous and Y’s,/
In X L N C U X L/ All others in his i’s.” —Guardian