Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Thu Dec 25 2008 - 00:35:02 CST

On 12/24/2008 10:58 AM, John Hudson wrote:
> Without the punctuation marks one cannot distinguish meaning between
> two syntactically identical classes of utterance. I have yet to see
> any emoticons that are essential to understanding text, which is not
> surprising since they are not linked to grammatical structures in the
> way that punctuation is.
Punctuation marks are not the only devices beyond letters that people
feel are necessary to employ as distinction between otherwise identical
statements. Publishers, editors and authors of books in English, but not
necessarily all other European languages, occasionally seem to find it
necessary to employ italics to disambiguate between two possible
interpretations of a given sequence of words. Claiming that emoticons
never serve a comparable purpose, is just that, a claim. They may be
overused, or ill used, or even redundant in many cases, but that's not
evidence for any claim that they are never used (or needed) to help the
reader arrive at the correct (or at least a better) understanding of the
text. That's a claim I simply don't buy - it contradicts my own
experience as a writer and reader of online communication.

If you merely meant to point out that punctuation is a more settled
aspect of writing, and therefore, perhaps, more reliable - I would have
no problems with that.


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