Monday, 19 March 2012


© Owl by Zeel 

I am quite fascinated by emoticons. I don’t feel all that comfortable using them, though. When I was at school in the 80s, teaching grammar wasn’t at all fashionable, so today, being confronted with punctuation marks makes me very nervous. 

On an emotional level, even more so.  ;-)

To overcome my fear of the emoticon, and punctuation marks in general, I decided to read up on them. I found out they were invented by Scott E Fahlman in 1982, a Research Professor in Computer Science in America. 

Surprising information for some >:o,
Not for others, however, who might fight this historical excurs a bit dull. |-o

Emoticons were apparently introduced as a solution for the misunderstandings that could take place on campus bulletin boards, to ensure that a jokey comment was not misinterpreted. 

Some people, though, are still of the opinion that the emoticon impoverishes the written language. :( 
They blow a raspberry at the emoticon.   :P

Others, like me, may feel like a dunce <:-| 
and not understand what the emoticon means, and have to explain it in words anyway (see above) which kind of defeats the object. 

I found out, too, that there are Western and Eastern emoticons.

There is some confusion (° .°  ) perhaps as to the difference between an Eastern and a Western Emoticon.
If you haven’t fallen asleep already ( - _ - ) zzz, I hope these examples have cleared it up enough to make you happy that you do not have to turn your head sideways to experience an emotion.

I can’t imagine anyone will seriously challenge the rise of the emoticon. Ø
In fact, some enlightened folk like Zeel are already capitalising on it :

an emoticon for whom I have made a German mate

/(€  )⁄

When I am skyping with my nieces, I face another dilemma. The dreaded punctuation marks are gone, and have been replaced by little animated emoticons.


Trouble is I am not so quick and don’t know what they all mean, 


It takes me ages

to find the right emoticon. 

Which means my chats are emoticon led and not mediating my chat.

This leads to chats like this:

 What a lot of rain we’ve been having lately

 Hang on a mo’ , the sun’s just come out

What do you think about being a Ninja as a career option in your 40s?

   Do you think Ninja’s have birthday cakes? 

 Well thanks for the great chat, and good bye.

So much for the argument that emoticons impoverish language, then.

more like a blessing in disguise!

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