Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: Julian Bradfield (
Date: Sat Dec 27 2008 - 05:12:15 CST

On 2008-12-27, James Kass <> wrote:

> This is a universal *standard*, which implies full control. We don't
> see phrases such as "c u l8r" enshrined in dictionaries of standard
> English. That's because *those* standardizers rightfully reject such
> cruft, in spite of common usage by millions of people, thus retaining
> essential control.

You misunderstand completely what lexicographers do (in English).
They *record* what *is* the (current) standard; they don't *define*
the standard. It's not their business to enshrine anything, or make
moral judgements on whether something is cruft.
The reason the OED doesn't record "c" as a variant form of "see" is
simply that the *users* still regard it as an abbreviation adapted for a
special environment. If textspeak became so common that newspapers
started writing in it, the OED would record it.

It seems from its own descriptions that Unicode likewise aims to be a
*descriptive* standard, encompassing all the world's writing systems
(whatever that might mean). Because it's also a standard concerning
coded interchange on computers, there are a lot of prescriptive
elements to Unicode; but the question of which characters are encoded
is part of the descriptive element.

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