The danger - for young people especially - is that they will come to dominate.Our written language may end up as a series of ridiculous emoticons and everchanging abbreviations. E-mailing has seen to that and I must confess that I would find it difficult to live without it. I resent the fact that I spend so much of my working day (and, even more regrettably, weekends) checking for e-mails - most of which are junk.
It has now reached the stage where my computer will not allow me to type the colon, dash and bracket without automatically turning it into a picture of a smiling face. It began with some fairly obvious and relatively inoffensive abbreviations: 'tks' for 'thanks'; 'u' for 'you'; 4 for 'for'. Instead of aiding communication it can be a barrier.
But as it has developed its users have sought out increasingly obscure ways of expressing themselves which, when you think about it, entirely defeats the purpose. With my vast knowledge of text language I had assumed LOL meant 'lots of love', but now I discover it means 'laugh out loud'. I can work out BTW (by the way) but I was baffled by IMHO U R GR8.
They are as close to my heart as they are to my desk because they are so much more than a useful tool.
Leafing through a good dictionary in search of a single word is a small voyage of discovery - infinitely more satisfying than looking something up on the internet.
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It is 25 years since the emoticon (that's the posh word) was born.
It started with the smiley face and the gloomy face and now there are 16 pages of them in the texters' A-Z. It is interesting, in a masochistic sort of way, to look at how text language has changed over the years.
A good dictionary is a fine thing - I yield to no man in my love for one.
If I stretch out my right arm as I type, I can pluck from my shelves the two volumes of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.
If the recipient of the message has to spend ten minutes trying to translate it, those precious minutes are being wasted. It means: "In my humble opinion you are great." But, once again, how would you know?