Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: James Kass (
Date: Sat Dec 27 2008 - 15:16:57 CST

Julian Bradfield 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.

You're right. OED has criteria for determining
inclusion based on usage. More detail here:

Quoting from the web page linked above,
"A single appearance (or even several clustered appearances) of a
word in print is not a guarantee that it will be included in the
OED: the word may enjoy a brief flurry of popularity before
disappearing for ever. Oxford Dictionaries record how the
English language is used by a large number of people over
a reasonable period of time, and many "coinages" never
attain any kind of currency."

>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.

I can only hope this never happens.

Best regards,

James Kass

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