Read This Article!!!

Men and women hold placards bearing an exclamation mark

Excerpt from this article:

How many exclamation points does it take to exclaim something? One, a human of sound mind and a decent grasp of punctuation might say. The exclamation point denotes exclamation. That is its point. One should suffice.

But, on the internet, it often doesn’t. Not anymore. Digital communication is undergoing exclamation-point inflation. When single exclamation points adorn every sentence in a business email, it takes two to convey true enthusiasm. Or three. Or four. Or more.

Advertisements

The Internet Tilde Perfectly Conveys Something We Don’t Have the Words to Explain

Image

Excerpt from this article:

The tilde, though, seems to have bypassed that problem. “If I say that your question is wonderful, you’re going to interpret it as the most common meaning,” explained linguist Michelle McSweeney, a researcher at Columbia University. “But if I say that it’s ~wonderful~, you understand that I don’t mean the boring, old meaning of wonderful.”

If there were such a thing as “visual onomatopoeia,” the tilde would definitely be it. The tilde looks like what it means — like it’s shrugging, or swaying in the breeze, like it sorta knows, ish.

Judging Others by Their Email Tics

Excerpt from this article:

…Sure, there was a time it may have been appropriate, even cool, to tout the default “Sent from my iPhone,” a programmed plug-in (and a genius little bit of branding). But these days, that one-liner signals only one thing: bore. So instead, you must come up with something witty. “Sent from a bumpy tarmac,” you might write, followed by a custom GIF. “Envoi de mon iPhone,” if you want to be fancy (and French).

…And so goes the tyranny of judging one another by the minutiae of our email tone. I’m not just talking signoffs like “cheers” or “thanks” (which, for what it’s worth, have prompted a debate of their own). I’m talking next-level nuance: a well-placed emoji, a perfectly timed GIF; what microseconds between replies say about the sender.

“This isn’t just email, this is identity,” said Hilary Campbell, a 25-year-old cartoonist in Brooklyn. “I feel like I’m always trying to balance this sense of being a smart, sensible, reliable person who is also very FUN and quirky.”

…Research has found that when parties are getting along, they tend to mimic each other’s subtle speech patterns: “language synchrony,” as it is known. In which case, if I email with proper capitalization, and you reply with an all-lowercase email, should I be taking offense? “That’s a classic power move,” the digital strategist Victor Pineiro said. “You can’t be bothered to craft a properly capitalized email?”

 

Why we should stop using full stops – period

text-full-stop.jpg

Excerpt from this article (and see this post for the New York Times’s take on it as well):

Have you ever watched parents try to text with their children? One hilarious type of misunderstanding goes like this:

Parent: I am waiting for you in the car.

Child: r u mad?

Parent: I am not mad.

Parent: I am telling you I am waiting.

Child: what?????

The poor mom or dad doesn’t understand one of the cardinal rules of texting, which is that you don’t use periods, period. Not unless you want to come off as cold, angry or passive-aggressive…

The period, meanwhile, has become the evil twin of the exclamation point. It’s now an optional mark that adds emphasis — but a nasty, dour sort of emphasis. “It is not necessary to use a period in a text message, so to make something explicit that is already implicit makes a point of it,” Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley, told the New York Times.

Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style

“We are at a momentous moment in the history of the full stop,” said David Crystal, who has written more than 100 books on language Credit Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Excerpt from this article:

The period — the full-stop signal we all learn as children, whose use stretches back at least to the Middle Ages — is gradually being felled in the barrage of instant messaging that has become synonymous with the digital age

…The conspicuous omission of the period in text messages and in instant messaging on social media, he says, is a product of the punctuation-free staccato sentences favored by millennials — and increasingly their elders — a trend fueled by the freewheeling style of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter

…“In an instant message, it is pretty obvious a sentence has come to an end, and none will have a full stop,” he added “So why use it?”

In fact, the understated period — the punctuation equivalent of stagehands who dress in black to be less conspicuous — may have suddenly taken on meanings all its own

Increasingly… the period is being deployed as a weapon to show irony, syntactic snark, insincerity, even aggression

If the love of your life just canceled the candlelit, six-course, home-cooked dinner you have prepared, you are best advised to include a period when you respond “Fine.” to show annoyance

 

 

A Linguist Explains How We Write Sarcasm on the Internet

800px-Ironie-Larousse-1897-p329

Excerpt from this article:

Sarcasm. It’s an Essential Part of a Healthy Breakfast™, but it’s also “dangerous”, especially in writing. What if ~no one~ gets that u are being sarcastic.

Punctuation

The punctuation-mark-inventors may have been heading in the right general direction (#bless) but it turns out it’s clumsy to create an additional character — and you often want to put that ironic emphasis on a particular word or phrase. Enter sarcastic “quotation marks,” tildes (~so effective), and the elaborate variations which a colleague of mine refers to as ~*~sparkly unicorn punctuation~*~. True, it’s sometimes used for excitement or quoting song lyrics, but when I saw a friend reblog a tumblr post with the tag ~*misandry*~, I knew she was ironically distancing herself from the topic in true Toastean fashion…

Capitalization

… Capitalizing Unimportant Words imposes a certain sense of ironic detachment. Adding (TM) or periods between each word is optional but extra effective. …

Internet slang

Certain uses of internet slang can also add a note of sarcasm, especially the vowelless ones: srs bsns, for example, contains a contradiction — how srs can your bsns really be if you’ve disemvowelled it?

…Hashtags as a class are often add disambiguating meta-commentary… And of course, there’s the obvious internet sarcasm indicators which go right out and say it in a backchannel, such as and #sarcasm.

…Let’s put them all together. Here’s a real twitter conversation to analyze:

  • Gina Trapani: “Heterosexuality is SO WEIRD.”
  • “You’re watching the Bachelorette again, aren’t you.”
  • Anil Dash: @ginatrapani DON’T PIN THAT SHIT ON US
  • Gina Trapani: @anildash sorry, this has The Straights written all over it
  • Anil Dash: @ginatrapani #NotAllBreeders

How do we know Trapani and Dash are joking? We can see a couple marks of sarcasm: the period instead of question mark on “aren’t you”, and the first-letter-caps of “The Straights” plus minimalist caps and punctuation elsewhere in the tweet. #NotAllBreeders requires cultural knowledge to creates a mismatch — it’s a play on the #NotAllMen hashtag, but Dash distances himself from the people who use #NotAll hashtags unironically by using an uncomplimentary word for his own orientation.

When Your Punctuation Says It All (!)

Excerpt from this article:

I went out with a guy based on his use of dashes once. Within moments of our first interaction — over text message — I was basically in love.

He didn’t just use the lazy singular dash (“-”) as a pause between his thoughts, or even the more time-consuming double-dash (“–”). Nope. This man used a proper em dash.

That is, the kind that required him to hold down the dash button on his iPhone for that extra second, until the “—” appeared, then choose it from among three options. I don’t remember what his messages actually said. But he obviously really liked me.

 …It’s also as if a kind of micro-punctuation has emerged: tiny marks in the smallest of spaces that suddenly tell us more about the person on the other end than the words themselves (or, at least, we think they do).

…“Digital punctuation can carry more weight than traditional writing because it ends up conveying tone, rhythm and attitude rather than grammatical structure,” said Ben Zimmer, a linguist and the executive editor of Vocabulary.com. “It can make even a lowly period become freighted with special significance.”

 And so we’ve begun to think our friends are angry when they respond with a period, or weird when they capitalize the starts of their sentences. We insert extra letters (“loooool,” “sooooo,” “hiiiiiiii”) — what linguists call “affective lengthening” — to convey intensity, and remove them when we want to be aloof.