Written by IainB
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Monday, 21 March 2011

image for Emoticons become English
Another three hundred pages ;)

The Oxford English dictionary has made the remarkable step of allowing some so-called emoticons into the dictionary complete with full definitions.

Emoticons are the punctuation marks that display emotional responses, such as the traditional smiley :) that indicates happiness, and ;) which is meant to depict somebody winking to indicate a little bit of sarcasm. There are hundreds of emoticons, and whilst the full Oxford dictionary will be carrying the full set, the concise and abridged versions will be carrying only the more common ones.

8) meaning I'm wearing glasses, for instance, did not make the grade, although :o for I'm surprised did. Not all emoticons are sideways on faces. Some such as @-->---> that means I'm giving you a rose could be considered sideways, but /).(\ that means I'm hiding from you (and it's corollary /).o(\ that means I'm peeking) are definitely not sideways, and yet still make it in.

The new emoticons in the dictionary rarely begin with a letter, generally beginning with a variety of punctuation marks. This has necessitated the first new chapter in the Oxford English dictionary since 1823 when they added an appendix (the idea of adding an index was dismissed in 1856 within seconds of it being suggested). Discussions are currently underway to decide if the new chapter should appear at the front or the back of the dictionary, or given that most of the emoticons begin with a colon, within the 'C' chapter (which is also where the word 'Chapter' appears). Currently, the ANSI group are winning, and having it put as the first chapter, usurping aardvark from it's privileged position.

:) will be first, followed by :( and then :'(.

This means the dictionary will start with happiness, but quickly descend into increasing despair. Much like life.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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