Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
I know at least a few of my readers were required to learn what are known as "dead languages" in college. These are languages, which are no longer spoken in day-to-day conversation. I remember in theology school a few of my college buddies often asked why they should be required to learn Biblical Greek when they would never have the opportunity to use it for truly important things like ... for instance ... picking up girls.
Languages are in a constant state of change, but unlike Darwin's concept of the "survival of the fittest," it seems Chuck's theory doesn't apply to the English language. Anyone who has joined the masses of "texters," "e-mailers," and "social networkers" has had no choice but to learn to understand the use of emoticons, which I think can be argued to be the actual devolution of the English language.
So, for those of us who have successfully avoided the use of e-mail and text messaging, what exactly is an emoticon you ask? I'll be :-) to tell you. Emoticons are the use of various combinations of keyboard characters to express the author's particular emotion to his or her recipient. The most common of these is the "smiley face" emoticon, which is usually displayed in this manner ... :-)
There are many frequently used emoticons to express a wide array of feelings including:
Sad ... :-(
Grinning ... :-D
Surprise ... =-O
Wink ... ;-)
Indifference ... :-|
And for those of you who are :-( at what seems to be demise of the language of Shakespeare, you should know emoticons are not a recent trend. As early as 1857 the number "73" was used to convey "love and kisses" in Morse Code!
As a way to make my mark on history, I thought I would attempt to add my stamp to the emoticon vernacular. So in all of my future e-mails and text messages I plan to incorporate the following emoticons into my messages hoping that others will adopt them as their own:
[-) ... Me smiling before my wife reminds me that I need to shave between my eyes again because I am once more developing a unibrow.
:-)) ... Me before I lost 40 pounds.
:-P ... Whispering subtly, asking the guy next to me in church if the minister was going to ever finish that incredibly lengthy sermon on tithing.
8-( ... Darn, I forgot to order more contact lenses and these glasses are so 90s.
(:-Gooo ...Supermodel purging after gorging on a breath mint.
#:-( ... Frustrated high school shop teacher with really pathetic comb over.
C:-) ... High school shop teacher after finally coming to terms with his receding hairline.
'-O ... Me after burning off an eyebrow shortly before stating to my wife, "I've started bonfires with gas tons of times. Don't worry, honey, I know what I'm doing."
So if ever you send an e-mail, text message or are bantering with friends on Facebook, please try to work one of my new emoticons into your conversation. And if you do I will be very, very :-) and definitely a little =-O www.nmfredrickson.com.
© 2009, N.M. Fredrickson, All Rights Reserved.