Friday, August 17, 2007

Emoticons: adding to or detracting from English language?

There are been a few of areas of modern English language that I have been hesitant or even completely resistant to using myself. They are:

1) what I like to call ghetto slang; i.e. crunk up, grills, bling, etc.

2) abbreviations used for instant messaging and texting; i.e. BRB, LOL, TTYL

3) emoticons; i.e. :) :( :P ,etc

I am starting to see the value in the second two of these modern movements within the English language. I started to use number two as I began to message my friend Val last year. We would talk for an hour or so on Yahoo! messenger. In order to better multi-task and even to conform to the new use of English, I became more flexible with my use of abbreviations. That’s not to say I now use poor grammar. Most of the time, I will still attempt to write out words and to use complete sentences. There has to be some rules and structure even in the world of smiley faces and avatars.

It has only been this summer that I have finally succumbed to the world of the emoticon. Why so much hesitation? To me, it always seemed so cutesy and high school girl-ish, so I resisted. My opinion of emoticons began to change as I saw more adults starting to use the symbols to express how they felt. My boyfriend told me that he uses them instead of exclamation marks to express himself more clearly and because exclamation marks are used even when people’s voices wouldn’t rise in pitch and volume. I’ll admit I tend to use exclamation marks too liberally.

Despite all the modernization of the English language, I still like to follow many of the traditional uses and rules. i understand that languages must adapt and change. Languages always change with time, thus, we are not still saying ’thy’ and ’thou.’ I have begun to view emoticons and IM abbrevs. as ways to show creativity and as another way for people to express themselves. In a world where we move so quickly, it’s good that we still find time to get creative and to make our feelings known. That said, you won’t hear me say “Hey, man, you got some coin on those fries?”
Source: The New York Times
A great article in the New York Times about emoticons and their use in modern English
Quote: I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it...We do not write to be understood; we write in order to understand.
--C. Day Lewis, The Poetic Image


Bryon Houlgrave said...

Your emoticons don't have noses. :-)

Kat's Scratch said...

Just because I use them doesn't mean that I have to make them like every one else.