Sunday, July 23, 2017

From English to Emoji.

RHYS BOWEN: Did you overlook an important public holiday this week? It was national Emoji day! I mentioned it on my Facebook page and so many readers came forward to tell me which emojis they love using. Do you use emojis? I really don’t apart from adding a heart to the end of a note to granddaughters. Other than that would feel weird and self-conscious.

I’m not even very good at texting. When people text me they get a coherent sentence in reply. Some long words. How can I reply to my publicist THX CU AM.  But my grandkids generation communicate with each other like this all the time. So I’m wondering: have we come to the end of language as we knew it. Let’s think about it.
We started with grunts and gestures which progressed to words. To sentences: meat good. Go kill more.
Then writing was born from keeping tally of goods in early Babylon. Cuniform. And the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Duck duck maiden sun god meant “Would you like to come to tea on Friday?”
Well, I think we’ve just gone back to that with emojis. Sad face sun trees means “I’m sorry but I can’t join you for the picnic because I’ve got a sunburn.”
With English as the world language it was only a matter of time that it was spelled phonetically any way. Don’t cum thru Ive got a cof.
Where are those lovely long poetic sentences of the Victorian poets. All those impressive words they invented: permambulator  omnibus umbrella

You see the one thing they had that we don’t is time. I’m not talking about those who toiled in factories or trekked Westward. But the educated class had too much time on their hands and no television (another lovely invented word). They were quite content when their books started with twenty pages of description of the roof of the house. They loved sentimental poetry. My great aunt knew by heart endless recitations that she performed with great drama at parties.
Words for them were to be savored, enjoyed, made the most of because they had to fill time.
Now we are always in a rush. Half an hour for lunch? Can’t leave the office.
Can U pu fish for dinr? And add the smiley face to show you are not mad/stressed etc.
Do you use emojis frequently? Do you text? Do you still try to write coherent English?

42 comments:

  1. Coherent English and I remain good friends. I do text, but I don’t get all those shorthand abbreviations so my grandchildren get whole sentences containing real words.

    I am a fan of smiley faces at the end of some messages, and my grandchildren seem to enjoy seeing them.
    My phone has a gazillion emoji choices, so I can send them a sparkling heart or a birthday cake on their special day. But there’s a plethora of emojis sitting there because I’ve never had a reason to use any of them.

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    1. that is a lovely story. Thank you for sharing. I prefer to text instead of voice calling unless it's FaceTime. I have not tried Face Time yet. It's so fun using different emojis.

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    2. I never knew about that recently the national Emoji Day has gone which we used most of the day through social media platforms. I think there are many such kind of things which we don’t know even though we are addicted to those stuff. Emoji are used to share our expressions, mood, happy & sad feeling, it is one of the easy working trick of sending to others instead of writing many words. Let’s come to the point that I loved you article and thanks for making aware about the day. My students would love to know about it who are taking career counselling & CV writing & cover letter writing tips from the CV Folks experts in UK, So they can also proud to know about this day and can celebrate in a different way.

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  2. No texting. But on FB I do use smile and hearts!

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  3. I use texting and email for most of my communication. So much can be lost in translation when we aren't speaking face to face or on the phone. Even in writing a pen and ink letter, meanings can be skewed, particularly if the comment is on the side of sarcasm. I think an emoji can be helpful in establishing the mood. How long have smiley faces been around? Certainly since my children were in elementary school. The emoji is an off-shoot of that.

    I rarely use abbreviations in texting or emails, takes me longer to figure out what the correct on would be than just to write it out. I do use common abbreviations in texting, such as appt. for appointment but I don't think you were meaning that.

    Very often I want to acknowledge I've read something on FB or in a text, and I don't have the time or inclination to do more than that. A smile or a laugh or a heart or a tear are handy. I confess to finding these handy when ending a virtual conversation, too.

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    1. If there was a "like" button for this, Ann, I'd click it.

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  4. And congratulations, Rhys and Deb, for being mentioned as two of Louise Penny's favorite authors, along with Ann Cleeves. What fine taste she has! (smiley face)

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    1. Where is this, Ann? Debs and I adore Louise and forward to seeing her at Bouchercon.

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    2. Was on Facebook this morning. Check her page

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    3. Yes, isn't that lovely? And so looking forward to seeing Louise!

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    4. I was happy to see that Louise mentioned Rhys and Debs as favorite authors, too!

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  5. I don't use emojy and I don't text. Most of the time, I don't understand the meaning of texts (french or english).
    As a french canadian, I take the time to write properly in french and to use words and sentences that will reflect what I mean and what I feel. When writing in english, it's more difficult but I try all the same.
    When finaly I've expressed myself, I have no more time to find emojis

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  6. I text often, using actual language, Rhys. I also add emojis to personal texts because it does help convey mood and when I want to help lighten someone's day or they're a long way away and I can't be there to see their face, give them a hug xoxoxo.

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  7. I text, mostly with my son's, but I don't use abbreviations. I often dictate my texts because I hate "typing" on my phone. I love your images of all the time available in the olden days, Rhys.

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  8. I text, but I use complete sentences and proper punctuation. Sometimes it's the fastest and most effective way to reach people I need to reach. It pays to stay up with the modern modes of communication.

    What I loathe, however, is a new game young professionals seem to have come up with: "Guess which mode of communication I prefer?" I once wanted to reach a graduate music student, to offer her a gig as a sub in my band. I had her phone number and her e-mail, so I reached out to her one both, but I called instead of texting. I don't like to text people I don't know because I have to do it from my personal phone. If it's a business connection, that gives them 24/7 access to my personal time, which I tend to guard. Anyway, she didn't respond to either, so I finally broke down and texted her. No response. As a last resort, I called the departmental secretary at the music school where she was studying, who snagged her in the hall and gave her the message to call me. When we finally spoke she said, "Oh, I don't text or e-mail. I usually just message on Facebook." So here's my message to young wanna-be professionals: Office phones are dumb phones. They don't text, and I do not particularly want to be your "friend." I have your phone number and your e-mail address. Answer one of them.

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  9. Have we come to the end of language as we knew it? Um, no. I remember when I was an elementary school teacher and EVERYONE was lamenting the death of the written language because kids were communicating exclusively by phone. No written letters! And now it's all in writing, albeit often in shorthand.

    I will say that the one thing I don't like about text messaging is that the brevity can sound so rude. You write someone a long chatty note about...whatever... and back comes an emoji. Or a single word or two. And I think: Come on, all you have time for is to poke a few keys??

    Having said that I am the world's most inept text messager. How do they do that thing with their thumbs??

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    1. "Have we come to the end of language as we know it?" I think someone said that about Chaucer. ( insert smart ass face here)

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  10. I cannot use my thumbs… Impossible. I do not know how it is done.
    Are usually dictate, and as you know, the results are about 95% fabulous.
    I often use :-) , but that's about all. I think you are right, sometimes the brevity and tonelessness of a text or email can be happened with the :-).
    ( I dictated the words smiley face and that emoticon came up. )
    and, my story for the Laurie King and Leslie Klinger anthology was based on the use of emoji's that my Sherlock character had to decode. That character, too, was worried about the death of language.
    Let see if I can find a link…

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    1. I'm also all thumbs when it comes to using my thumbs!

      My middle daughter not only uses her thumbs blindingly fast, but she does this slidey thing that joins letters predictively, which makes it even faster. I do it accidentally sometimes, but can't figure out how it works on purpose.

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    2. Oh, Hank, I can't use my thumbs either. My sixteen-year-old granddaughter just flies with her thumbs, and I am in awe. I try to comfort myself that I can go faster than many youngsters on the keyboard because I took typing like a good girl should. Hahaha!

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  11. My granddaughter Annabel has introduced me to the fun of emojis. I think they are cute, and I use them sparingly -- but I let her use my phone and choose some to send to her mother. She is a very interestingly visual child. At 6 1/2 she is barely reading, but she loves to be read to --- and she READS the illustrations like nothing I have ever seen. She is an artist.

    I like to write and read sentences. Our family had a group text group which we mainly use to share photos. And a group email that is words.

    And I write letters, on paper, and use stamps.

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    1. Oooooo, Denise Ann, have you seen the new stamps that are round and look like tennis balls, baseballs, soccer balls, etc.? I love them, and have been writing personal notes to friends just for the excuse to use them.

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    2. Gigi Norwood, being a big sports fan when I saw those stamps I immediately bought a booklet. But I haven't started using them yet.

      Denise Ann, I don't write letters anymore, though when I was a teenager I was very active with pen pals. My mom wrote letters though.

      I do pay my bills through the mail and use the stamps that way. Currently I'm using some Star Trek stamps.

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    3. I just bought Star Trek and Wonder Woman when I went to the post office last week. Worth writing personal notes just to use a stamp!

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    4. Yep, I have the Wonder Woman and the Star Trek stamps, too.

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  12. Personally, I lament the use of all these shortcuts, not because I don't enjoy them myself, but because it has spilled over into the general culture of intellectual laziness. It's appalling to read comments on Facebook and other places that are barely literate, or that criticize others for using "elite" big words. As a writer, in particular, it saddens me to know how little the richness of our language is appreciated by so many.

    Years ago, way back in 1989, someone to whom I'd emailed expressed amazement that I'd bothered to construct a sentence containing a semicolon in my note to them. "You must be a writer!" was the reply. Or just a product of Catholic schools, where we were taught the basics and beyond of the English language. Geez.

    Our family keeps in touch via a kind of instant message/walkie talkie/text/voicemail app called Voxer. We send group messages, videos, photos, and shoutouts, but my daughters all use proper English, and so do I, but we all love to play with the emojis. My new son-in-law, who has a 19-year old daughter, is more likely to send us cryptic notes that I, at least, occasionally need explained. But even my 87-year old mother uses emojis sometimes!

    More to the point, do you all think etiquette is a thing of the past? The response of an emoji to a lengthy email or test is the tip of that iceberg, I think. Recently, I was co-hosting a bridal shower where half of the invitees either did not RSVP, or did, and then didn't show up. We provided food, etc. for 25 people, but only four guests showed up who were neither hostesses, the bride, the groom's mother, or a bridesmaid.

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    1. Karen, I so agree. When I've hosted parties or events I have no idea how many people will show up because they won't RSVP. It's so rude. But it's across the board... Not saying please and thank you, just walking through when I hold the door for someone. Ugh.

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    2. Not that I'm much of a party person, but a couple of weeks ago I was attending a party that about 20 people had said they were going to be there. And then most of them didn't show up. To say the host was miffed is cleaning up the descriptive language.

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  13. Rhys, good morning! Just got a new smartphone and I have been using emojis. Before that, all I knew was how to type a heart emoji with arrow and 3. I test a lot since only my family can understand my accent. Before text messaging, I used to send texts via wyndtell pager then motorola pager. Grateful for the SMS text capability on the flip phone then the smartphones.

    With Instagram, I use emojis a lot. Some of the Instagram that I follow are in foreign languages like Swedish or Norwegian or Danish so I use emojis. I think that emojs can come across different languages.

    It is so fun using emojis.

    On another note, if the invitation is NOT public on social media, then I RSVP. I always say please and thank you, which I learned is unusual for my generation.

    Happy Sunday!

    Diana

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  14. Texting is relatively new for me. I use complete sentences, accented with emojis. 95% of my texts are to my sister who lives 100 miles away. Many involve reactions to TV shows we are watching at the same time. We have a heck of a good time making snarky and/or outraged comments on what just happened.

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  15. I use emojis (but not overly much beyond a smiley face or that damn blue Thumbs up thing) on Facebook, but I type coherent sentences and words. I don't use Instagram or any of those other things.

    On Twitter, I write coherently (or at least in full sentences) and very occasionally use emojis.

    I finally gave in and put texting on my phone last Saturday. On there, because I hate to waste so much time typing, I do shorten the words. "to" or "too" tends to become "2", that kind of thing. It's a convenience. But I don't shorten words to the point where others wouldn't understand them without a translation guide. And I don't use emojis. Hell, I still use a flip phone for cryin' out loud. I only just figured out how to take a picture with the phone...

    I am hoping that the writing I do (reviews of books, CDs and concerts) gets taken seriously, so I think that communicating too much in the shorthand of a teenager would damage my goal. If I'm talking to a friend I admit it is easier to use said shorthand to get the conversation over and done with. But when communicating with the people who deal with my articles or authors that I converse with, an appearance of professionalism is important.

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  16. My husband showed me the "swiping" function on my phone, and it changed my life. You just move your finger across the letters you want, and it fills it in for you. Yes, you need to proof it, but that still takes less time than trying to hit all the letters individually! Most phones have it; check your "store" for keyboard add-ins. Everyone in my family, from age 12 to 78, texts. We also email and talk on the phone a lot. Apparently, we are big communicators!

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  17. I do text, and though not always in complete sentences, I don't tend to abbreviate. Not big on emojis but don't mind them, either. I'd rather get a smiley face than no response. I use Messenger a lot with my daughter and I'm shocked at how fast I've become with my thumbs on the phone.

    But my favorite texter is Caroline Todd!! She can text like a demon!

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    1. Now that's funny. And she's even older than I am.

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    2. Caroline Todd? That's hilarious!

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  18. I tend to text and message in complete sentences with punctuation, as it is a hard habit to break, and I'm not sure that I want to break it. I have acquiesced to the trend of not putting the pronoun I at beginning of sentences, as in "Be there at ten" instead of "I'll be there at ten." The implied subject is easily understood. However, there are times when I catch myself and think that I must not abandon that "I."

    Emojis are something I have some fun with. I especially like the heart one that adds that little extra bit of comfort or affection. Not to get political, but I have often wished for an emoji that shows sickness these days. And, a happy face can make sure that your message is taken in a positive manner.

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  19. I text quite a bit with family and friends. I mostly use complete sentences and don't abbreviate. I use some emojis--a heart to someone special, some of the happy faces, and the birthday emojis.

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  20. Sorry, but I don't accept the "we don't have enough time" argument. We have the same amount as people always had, it's just that a lot of people choose to use it differently, then blame "not enough time" as an excuse for not doing something else. It's just choices. That's certainly not an excuse for sloppy language use, or short-cut abbreviations, or using emojis. I don't use them, and I don't really see any use or value in them. Most of the time, users of such are just being lazy.

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  21. I use emojis infrequently, usually when I want to acknowledge a text without investing a lot of time. I think I write coherent sentences in English; I certainly endeavor to do so. Emojis do not bother me nearly as much as "yada, yada, yada". That sends me through the roof.

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  22. My husband and I are die hard language lovers. A sentence should be an actual sentence.
    There are times when abbreviations and such are quite useful and helpful. But, please, make an effort.
    There. I feel better now.
    I fear for language. Without clear language for our thinking, I suspect we become muddied and muddled.
    We perceive that we are too busy to write full words.
    And "LOL"? Please deliver me from that. It's today's version of "Like". Use as omnipresent punctuation.
    Gad! I sound a hundred years old!
    Libby Dodd
    Tough!

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