Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: James Kass (
Date: Tue Dec 23 2008 - 14:33:21 CST

Do emoticons promote illiteracy?

Quoting Hugo Rifkind from,

Well, the above linked article is short and should really be
read in its entirety. (The links below also deserve to be
completely read.)

There were plenty of unfavorable comments on this article.

But, I think the author was "spot on". (Except for the part
about dropping the emoticon inventor into the harbor. What
ever happened to good, old-fashioned tar-and-feathering?)

Quoting from a teacher's page at,

"It is (sadly) ironic that in this time of "no child
left behind" we seem to be leaving a sizable portion
of a whole generation behind in terms of literacy!"

"Furthermore, the ability to write a sentence is
becoming a major challenge even to some college

Quoting Ariane Sherine from,

"If you're ever tempted to clarify yourself with
brackets and colons, just remember: anyone who
needs their email illustrated with pictures probably
isn't deserving of your prose."

""It doesn't matter how I spell it," careless emailers
shrug nonchalantly, "as long as you know what I
mean." To which I want to yell: "Yes it does, because
you're using acronyms, single letters, numbers and
symbols as substitutes for words, you illiterate
degenerate! You are helping to wreak havoc on the
English language with every keystroke!"

Quoting Ken Hanley from,

"Aside from the usual smiles, frowns and winks
intended to say "I was just kidding," in case I was
too dense to figure that out on my own — now
there's a plague of these damn things available to
even the most casual email user. This allows the
laziest writers to fool themselves into thinking
that they're communicating effectively without
actually building an adequate sentence or two."

Quoting from,

"Emoticons are childish. They're also a way for
people who can't write well enough to convey
their emotions through prose. If you write
something funny, I'll laugh. If you write
something not funny, putting in a stupid smiley
face isn't going to make it funny. And if you
write something clever or smarmy but fail to
convey such, winking at me isn't going to make
it clever or smarmy. See this paragraph? Do I
need to put in an emoticon to make my attitude
clear? I didn't think so."

Of course, there are plenty of web pages which rejoice in
what is being called the new literacy.

New literacy? Bah, humbug.

Best regards,

James Kass

P. S. - Voting members wishing to support literacy
should do so.

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