Thursday 28 October 2021

It Ain't What You Say...

... It's the way that you say it! Do you use shorthand when you are sending messages on your phone? I try very hard to write 'proper' English, with full punctuation, and even paragraphs. I rarely succumb to words like l8r, or 2nite. I will admit to btw  [by the way] and imho [in my humble opinion] but avoid LOL [correctly 'laugh out loud', often misused as 'lots of love']  There's a whole language out there of emoticons and emojis which I have yet to fully grasp.

Emoticons [short for emotional-icons] came about in 1982 when a joke about a mercury spill was posted on a message board at a University in Pittsburgh, causing confusion - and panic among those who took it seriously. One of the professors, Scott Fahlman, suggested using a 'smiley' character to indicate jokes at the end of such messages, made from the regular keyboard characters - colon dash rightbracket :-) ,  and colon dash leftbracket for serious messages :-( .  However :-( soon became anger or displeasure.

I rarely use these- but some of my friends who comment [eg Bless] are adept at putting a brief combination of symbols to express their feelings :D [big grin] :-O [surprised] ;- ) [winking] etc. There are many listed here

Emojis are a different matter. The name is from the Japanese e means picture and moji means character

These were invented in Japan in 1999, but Apple hid an emoji keyboard in the first iPhones in 2007. There are now hundreds of these, expressing feelings, or food items, transport, flags, animals, body parts, buildings etc. When I type a WhatsApp message, my phone often suggests an appropriate image for me. And If I press the emoji button, the last six emojis used show up. 

Someone asked me recently, and my phone said πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™❤️πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘. I guess this means I do a fair bit of praying and loving along with smiling and encouragement. But I do keep my repertoire limited- it is far too easy to get things wrong. 

The aubergine [eggplant]  symbol means good luck in Japan. But should never be used in the west, unless you want to embarrass yourself and others. Similarly, please do not mistake that brown emoji as a swirl of soft scoop chocolate ice cream.

Recently Liz sent me this, which she had seen on twitter

I checked it out - in fact this is officially the prayer emoji, agreed by Apple in 2008, and the high-five interpretation is an urban myth. So do not worry if you use it to indicate your prayerful love and concern!


However you should worry if your eyesight is not good. One friend of mine wanted to say how much she would be praying, and inadvertently sent a row of noses instead of folded hands!



  1. I avoid using emojis, I just know I'd send something offensive accidentally. When I'm being offensive I like to do it on purpose!

  2. Ha, ha, my daughter is laughing out loud at the idea of me being adept at using emoticons!

  3. An interesting and informative post, just need to remember.

  4. Like 'Hester', I tend to avoid using emojis. I know I would probably choose the wrong thing and cause offence to someone!
    I won't use 'text speak' either, the English language is being abused left, right, and centre, but not by me! X

  5. I wonder what people 100 years ago would have thought of all this? πŸ₯ΈπŸ˜³πŸ€ͺ

    1. They did use some strange abbreviations back then though, because so much was written out by hand ( eg Messrs, Chas...)


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