Monday, April 11, 2016

I think I'm 😊 about this


As one who has been writing for a living since the dark ages, I have gotten crabbier over the years as the general public seems to have lost its ability to write standard English.  I'm afraid the decline has been technology-aided, or perhaps technology-enabled, thanks to first email and then texting.  Somehow the fact that it's so easy to send a message, without the pesky tasks of finding paper, pen, envelope or stamp, has induced many to think that it's no big deal, why bother with nuance or nicety.

Grammar and spelling became optional, because after all it's just email, not a real letter. It was fun to use profanity and silly abbreviations and acronyms and ;)s.  Many users of those silly abbreviations defended their use because your readers might misunderstand that you were making a joke and take offense unless you used a :) or LOL to signal humor.  Few of them stopped to contemplate that people have been writing letters for centuries and until recently had been able to convey humor or other emotions simply through careful choice of words!  How quaint!

Pretty soon :) started to look quaint too and some genius invented emojis to help people's increasingly feeble writing skills get their points across.  I knew I hated Microsoft when a couple of years ago it became impossible to type (a) in an email, because a smiley face would appear 😊.  Yesterday when my son asked for some financial advice I learned that you can't type 401(k) in an email, because the (k) comes up as a set of kissy lips.

I don't text unless my life depends on it, but I understand that the loss of English is way worse on that platform than in email.  Not only r words deliberately mispld and abbrv, sometimes there r no wrds at all in txts, just emojis; 4 inst, 💃 means "let's party."  There are thousands of emojis and several international organizations and committees in charge of vetting and approving new ones, each assigned a bureaucratic official name such as Happy Person Raising One Hand.  You will be happy to learn that there's even an emoji called Smiling Poop, which is delicately described as looking like a pile of soft-serve chocolate icecream with a face.

The skeptic in me was delighted to learn that the worldwide rush toward emoji sophistication has hit a snag.  It seems that if you have an iPhone and you send certain emojis to somebody with a Samsung, there's something seriously lost in translation.  For instance, when "Grinning Face with Smiling Eyes" shows up on an iPhone, it's perceived more as a grimace and iPhoners think it's conveying negative emotion.  But when the same emoji shows up on a Google device, the smile is rendered differently and users think it's conveying highly positive emotion.  The difference is five points on a ten point scale!  Just think, when your friend asks if you want to go to Joe's Bistro for dinner and you text back Grinning Face with Smiling Eyes, meaning "no, I don't like that place very much," he will take it as wild enthusiasm and make reservations.


graphics and research from here

This could be serious!  I have a radical suggestion that will help those who seek better communication.  How about if you just text back "no, I don't like that place very much"?  Try it; you might like it.

17 comments:

  1. I also think it is sad that they no longer teach cursive writing in school!

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  2. How about "I seen it". Or, mixing "than" and "then" up. Drives me wild!

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  3. A lot of your crabby matches my crabby! Curmudgeons unite!

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  4. In addition to the devolution of grammar capabilities, there is the problem of autocorrect as well. Some unknown word tossed in as if one surely meant an obscure arthropod instead of a standard greeting. It's maddening.

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  5. We're living in the End Of Days.

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  6. I thought this post was very funny, it has brightened my evening, thank you. 🌞 ROFL

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  7. I couldn't agree with you more. By the way, we enjoyed seeing your beautiful pieces in Chicago this weekend. Very inspiring and impressive!

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  8. OMG I'm totally ROFLMFAO. Seriously, great post, I totally agree...I'm feeling crabby some days myself. The day my DD responded to my "are you feeling better today?" with a text of a smiling pile of poop, I swore off the emoticons for good.

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    1. so how did you interpret that response? she feels like crap, or she's smiling through it? nothing like a little ambiguity to make your mother anxious.

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  9. I'm a bit of a grammar freak. Even the newspapers are terrible these days! Absolutely agree with everything you've said.
    Pat F in Winnipeg

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  10. We had a staff training yesterday about the autism spectrum. My obsessive behaviours are minor compared to some of my friends but they include picking up litter and fretting at misplaced apostrophes on signage

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  11. A great post, clear and impeccably written. THank you!

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  12. And then there are all the commonly used foreign language phrases being spelled incorrectly, 'walah' instead of 'voila' is one I particularly cringe over. As a musician, one of my pet peeves is the use of the word 'crescendo' in printed works everywhere, as a noun meaning 'high point' or 'peak' -- when it is really the Italian word for 'growing' or 'increasing' -- I've forgotten the name of that part of speech, but it is a VERB, people. You are literally saying 'and then violence reached a growing' no no no. I blame a lot of the spelling errors, particularly of foreign language words, to the sad fact that so few people seem to actually read these days. These are Declining Times we live in!

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    1. What kills me is when they spell it "viola". That was my mother's name.

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  14. I was delighted to read this post. These same things drive me crazy-and then people of all education levels seem to have never learned the words "you're welcome".

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