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Concept of the months November and December 2011: EMOTICON

Being a translator, I love words. I should and I do. In all their lovable imperfection, however, they don’t make the grade. An intended image or feeling is never expressed quite adequately. I am faced with this even more when I use my spare time for attempts at poetry or prose. Obviously, this also provides a challenge and inspiration. Because while on the one hand misunderstandings lurk, the embellishment of everyday life ogles on the other. In digital communication, a remedy to all of this has been identified. Basic emotions find salvation in the emoticon.

The emoticon is fairly clear. Yet it is treacherous at the same time. The choice of one character can determine a message’s tone. :) is a world apart from :). The weird thing is that the colon and the bracket don’t even need to be rotated a quarter turn to be understood, as I have seen them written by hand as well. Fine by me, because after initial scepticism, I have come around. I use :) the most. This one is able to soften words, clarify jokes and embellish silences. Almost like a real smile.

The extreme versions of :) and :( are :-D and :-/. The latter are the roar of laughter and a disapproving look. :-D should be deployed with moderation, although it should be preferred to blinding letter abuse like ‘ha ha ha’ or ‘LOL’ at all times. :-/ is less univocal. While I interpreted it as light mockery at first, I now see it as round rejection. I will conclude with :-S. This one seems to express a certain playful despair, for instance when something has turned out completely different than expected but no serious harm was done. Always a pleasure to put things in perspective in a world filled with confusion and confused people.

The playfulness takes me to the essence of the emoticon. In digital conversation, it acts as a playful means towards a playful goal. It polishes words into accessible toys. Because in order to really transmit a message, one needs full body language. As for the rest: playful we were born, playful we shall communicate ;)

"Why the rush, do you know when your job is done"
"Why the rush, do you know when your job is done"
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Pepijn de Boer MA

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