full stop
December 3, 2013 12:22 PM   Subscribe

When did our plainest punctuation mark become so aggressive? (New Republic) “In the world of texting and IMing … the default is to end just by stopping, with no punctuation mark at all,” Liberman wrote me. “In that situation, choosing to add a period also adds meaning because the reader(s) need to figure out why you did it. And what they infer, plausibly enough, is something like ‘This is final, this is the end of the discussion or at least the end of what I have to contribute to it.’”
posted by salix (149 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:24 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by chavenet at 12:25 PM on December 3, 2013


;
posted by pipeski at 12:25 PM on December 3, 2013


STOP
posted by figurant at 12:25 PM on December 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Aren't emoticons punctuation?
posted by LogicalDash at 12:26 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


And here is where I come face with the realization that I'm well past youth and youth culture. My friends and I never need to figure out why we end sentences with periods. We tend to default to writing grammatically.
posted by bumpkin at 12:27 PM on December 3, 2013 [59 favorites]


(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by chavenet at 12:28 PM on December 3, 2013 [18 favorites]


I am not, frankly, a fan of texting. However I completely understand the omission of a period in a form of communication consisting primarily of a single sentence. Generally the period is to denote the end of one sentence before another one, so if you use a single sentence it makes perfect sense to eliminate it.
posted by edgeways at 12:28 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


What, really? Is this a thing or is this article and the anti-Movember article part of some "which December New Republic article can troll for the most hits" campaign?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:29 PM on December 3, 2013 [15 favorites]


My friends can tell when I'm feeling sick or depressed because I don't use punctuation in my texts.
posted by darksasami at 12:29 PM on December 3, 2013 [20 favorites]


Nonsense.
posted by The World Famous at 12:29 PM on December 3, 2013


Angriest. Punctuation. Evar.
posted by The Bellman at 12:29 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's pretty much the way I see it, edgeways. Fewer keyboard taps is better on phones, and a period is not very valuable in that context, as you've so neatly explained.
posted by Mister_A at 12:30 PM on December 3, 2013


I see the period as denoting a certain formality rather than being a sign of anger (which I have never seen denoted, and don't think anybody I know interprets it as). To me, it says "This is a statement I have considered" as opposed to the throwaway lines of IM or texting.

Incidentally, I would like to introduce the tilde as an official way for a sentence to trail off without the implication of unspoken words given by the ellipsis.
posted by solarion at 12:30 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


New Republic, New Statesman, what's the difference besides different publishers, different writers, and different points of focus?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:31 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I go out of my way to make sure almost all of my texts, tweets and emails are grammatically correct, but these days going to all that trouble really does seem like a self-consciously old-fashioned endeavor, like churning your own butter or something.

* to the best of my ability**

** ability may vary depending on level of sobriety
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:31 PM on December 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


This is totally a thing, but I find it's only a thing when the other person usually omits the period, or when you haven't received texts from them before so you're unsure on that. Then it seems like there's a motive behind the choice of punctuation, especially with single-word replies.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:32 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Grrrrrrr

etc...
posted by Pudhoho at 12:33 PM on December 3, 2013


It's so a thing. That, and if, when, and how many x's to put at the end of my messages to my British friends online. So much fret and importance over so little that means so much!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:35 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


And hey, let me say something about 'trolling for hits.' You do realize that that's exactly how New Republic stays in business, don't you? They publish things that they think people might find interesting. And you do realize that 'trolling for hits' has been the idea behind most of art and culture since Og the caveman banged two rocks together? Here are a few illustrative-ass highlights from western culture:


Baywatch: Trolling for hits. People like to look at Hasselhoff.
Stonehenge: Trolling for hits. People love to dance naked around giant stone things.
Doctor Who: Trolling for hits. People love risible production values.
The Philadelphia Orchestra: Trolling for hits. People love some Beethoven's 9th.
The King James Bible: Trolling for hits. People love a good collection of violent fairy tales.
posted by Mister_A at 12:36 PM on December 3, 2013 [14 favorites]


ItAPOSTROPHEs better than people using ellipses all the timePERIOD

Or is itQUESTION MARK
posted by blue_beetle at 12:36 PM on December 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


If I used a period in my text, and you mistakenly thought I meant it to indicate anger, when in fact I was just writing correctly, then you can go ahead and assume I'm angry anyway.

At you.

For your boorishness.
posted by General Tonic at 12:37 PM on December 3, 2013 [49 favorites]


I guess I am unusual for trying to adhere to proper grammar and punctuation when communicating via text/instant messages.
posted by tnecniv at 12:37 PM on December 3, 2013


"Trolling" in the forum-troll sense, I think.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:37 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's called being curt.

It is not new.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on December 3, 2013 [18 favorites]


We have a relationship rule that we cannot "assume mood" in text messages. If I've used or not used a period, or give a one word response or a longer one, or any other choice, it means only that that's what I decided to do.

If I want to be passive aggressively angry when I'm not at home, I have to dial the damn phone like Alexander Graham Bell intended.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:39 PM on December 3, 2013 [39 favorites]


The period is the new Oxford comma. Calibrate your OKCupid profiles, everyone!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


i thought you ended all messages xxxxxxXXX
don't you? isn't that a full stop (period=menstruation in UK english)? luv xxxxx
posted by maiamaia at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2013


There's a William F. Buckley joke in here somewhere.
posted by COBRA! at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2013


The weird shit emotional people will read into random things like an ancient priest looking for oracles and signs never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes a period is just a period.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:43 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


going to all that trouble really does seem like a self-consciously old-fashioned endeavor, like churning your own butter

It does? When did hitting another key become as tough as operating a churn?

I have officially joined the Club of Stodgy Old People, but I really don't see why it is too hard -- or good grief, aggressive? -- to mark the end of a statement with a period.
posted by bearwife at 12:44 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


what r u tking about ben?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:45 PM on December 3, 2013


And here is where I come face with the realization that I'm well past youth and youth culture. My friends and I never need to figure out why we end sentences with periods. We tend to default to writing grammatically.

punctuation is a matter of style, not grammar

it is possible to write grammatically without punctuation

itisevenpossibletowritegrammaticallywithoutsuchinnovationsasspacesbetweenletters
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:47 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


There's a William F. Buckley joke in here somewhere.
posted by COBRA! at 12:41 PM on December 3 [+] [!]


Also a Harry S Truman joke.
posted by chavenet at 12:48 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am not a fan of horseless carriages period
posted by Colonel Panic at 12:51 PM on December 3, 2013


Yeah, i was thinking about this the other day. I rarely use . when texting since it's usually just one sentence. But if I do use two sentences the . comes out.

Another thing, since you can just double-space to insert a ., I wish there was a way to have a ? as the default puncutation, since I do frequently use that frequently. Neither iPhone nor Android have a way to change that easily, so far as I'm aware.
posted by skewed at 12:52 PM on December 3, 2013


What?!? Everyone I text and IM with ends every sentence with the appropriate punctuation. No one is confused.
posted by OmieWise at 12:52 PM on December 3, 2013


Mister_A: "The King James Bible: Trolling for hits. People love a good collection of violent fairy tales."

Nah, they would have ditched Leviticus, then.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:52 PM on December 3, 2013


This is why everyone should strive to mix in a semi-colon, em-dash, and possibly a pair of parantheses nested into brackets into every text. By the time the reader reaches the end, they will be longing for closure.

SAMPLE TEXT: No [or at least I don't believe so (I've been known to be mistaken)], I don't think mint ice cream -- or any ice cream -- will make your dog's farts smell better; that's not really how digestion works.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:53 PM on December 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


This thread is exhibiting the worst of metafilter.

I'm old, and even when chatting online back in the 90s punctuation could be part of tone, and choosing not to use/use punctuation most definitely could communicate anger or curtness.
posted by jjwiseman at 12:55 PM on December 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


Metafilter: This thread is exhibiting the worst of metafilter.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:56 PM on December 3, 2013 [27 favorites]


because...
posted by kliuless at 12:56 PM on December 3, 2013


My solution to this is to end every text with an exclamation point!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:04 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure the full-stop-makes-you-sound-angry thing only applies if you mostly don't bother with it and pull it out only when you want to make a point. If you're consistent about your punctuation, and if the people you're texting or chatting with are familiar with your excruciatingly-punctuated house style, your emotional state probably won't be misinterpreted over a single character.
posted by asperity at 1:04 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Exclamation points are friendly and show enthusiasm!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:05 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]



posted by Pinback at 1:05 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


holy shit there's a predator in here
posted by Jairus at 1:06 PM on December 3, 2013 [25 favorites]


... how many x's to put at the end of my messages to my British friends online...

We do like a little kiss on the bottom.
posted by Segundus at 1:07 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pretty sure the full-stop-makes-you-sound-angry thing only applies if you mostly don't bother with it and pull it out only when you want to make a point.

I see
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:10 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


holy shit there's a predator in here
don't worry, it's only here for the lion
posted by aw_yiss at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2013


Man, if this is the worst of metafilter, we're doing alright STOP
posted by axiom at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2013


CHILDREN ON LAWN STOP SEND HELP STOP WILL WAIT 24 HRS FOR RESPONSE STOP WITHOUT REINFORCEMENTS WILL BE FORCED TO RETREAT TO ANTECHAMBER AS OF ZERO EIGHT HUNDRED HOURS STOP YOURS ETCETERA
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2013 [27 favorites]


I have caught myself doing this. I think in a chatty sort of an environment, especially one where there may be a long delay between messages, omitting the final period feels somehow like I'm being less formal and inviting the other person to reply more quickly. The same with sending two short messages instead of one message with two sentences: if my correspondent *is* at his machine, watching my messages come in, the two short messages have an immediacy that a longer, more complete message doesn't. It's like in a face-to-face conversation, when the person you're talking to can interrupt you and say "okay, we're on the same page."

Rapid-fire responding is how Brian Christian won a Turing test competition.

Of course, I'm different from many other people because I also frequently write long-form paragraphs; I suspect that there are many people for whom texting is all the writing they do, and they will have different opinions about punctuation than I do.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 1:18 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is something very satisfying about striking the period key in anger.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:21 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Most of the time I only share text messages with others who still remember the cold war and none of them seem to be disturbed by my willingness to write in sentences. Every once in a while I exchange a text with a younger person who is fond of abbreviations and such. It never occurred to me that I might appear abrupt with an ending period. Sure, I expected to appear aloof or stuffy, but not abrupt.
posted by dgran at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is just a funny manifestation of functional fixedness
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:24 PM on December 3, 2013


It's funny, I never really punctuate or use proper capitalization when talking on IRC or IM, but when I'm texting, I do both. I think it's because the phone takes care of the capitalization part for me mostly, so I figure I might as well expend the effort to tap the space bar twice at the end of a sentence.
posted by zsazsa at 1:30 PM on December 3, 2013



posted by Devils Rancher at 1:31 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I take it back. This is the stupidest thing I've read all day.
posted by zarq at 1:37 PM on December 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


You still have 8 hours to go, don't be hasty.
posted by elizardbits at 1:38 PM on December 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


When I started using IRC as a tween in the mid-1990s, always using correct grammar and spelling provided a pretty good camouflage for my age. It was also a great litmus test because channels that kickbanned chatspeak on sight were generally more on the up-and-up and less sketchy than those where it was the norm.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:38 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm a person in my thirties, and I use periods by default.

However, I leave off the period when I wish to sound like a robot or stoner

woh dood
posted by ignignokt at 1:38 PM on December 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


elizardbits: "You still have 8 hours to go, don't be hasty."

This is true.
posted by zarq at 1:39 PM on December 3, 2013


--

–, surely!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:40 PM on December 3, 2013


This is fascinating and it definitely mirrors my own punctuation use. I had thought I was getting old (I'm 28) - apparently I'm still a Young!!

I don't get all the grammar snobbishness (not so much here as elsewhere I've seen people post this). We have periods because language was, until very recently, almost always written in continuous streams, and we need separators or delimiters to note when one thought or construction ends and another begins. But text messaging and IMing is a discrete medium, and each message is typically a self-contained thought. What's the point of using a period? It's redundant. So the period instead comes to denote finality or abruptness.
posted by downing street memo at 1:44 PM on December 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think I'm honestly equally annoyed by people who habitually don't use periods in their texts and people who are really smug and self-important about only using and communicating with others who use correct punctuation in texts.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:44 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I will not use the punctuation mark that means "stop" until such time as there exists a complementary punctuation mark that means "collaborate and listen"
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:45 PM on December 3, 2013 [31 favorites]


It's terribly ironic to me that the people whose intelligence gets questioned when this topic comes up are the ones that are capable of adjusting their linguistic strategy in the face of a given medium's constraints, rather than uncritically importing mores from a radically different medium while confusing prestige for correctness.
posted by invitapriore at 1:46 PM on December 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


I don't punctuate the end of text message sentences because my text message sentences have no end, they are a continuous stream of thought on a variety of subjects that takes place over many years.
posted by elizardbits at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


technically it is art and i should receive funding
posted by elizardbits at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


I will not use the punctuation mark that means "stop" until such time as there exists a complementary punctuation mark that means "collaborate and listen"

{=}
posted by Shepherd at 1:48 PM on December 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


My first major conversation with someone that doesn't use periods was with a guy who was selling a used computer on Craigslist. He did not know a lot of basic facts about the computer he was selling, so I opted not to buy it.

However, I did get a lot of mileage of saying "do you want that" in a monotone voice to my wife from then on.
posted by ignignokt at 1:48 PM on December 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: A continuous stream of thought on a variety of subjects that takes place over many years.

For the record, I have never sent a text message without punctuation. Very occasionally I ignore capitalisation. I say this not to point out my smug superiority, but rather my tragic seniority.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:50 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The periods in obit threads don't indicate anger?
posted by mazola at 1:50 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


people who find this sentence confusing because it lacks punctuation marks and capitalization betray either a deep disingenuousness or an illiteracy even worse than that supposedly characteristic of my generation

people who find it confusing because it is convoluted are correct
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:50 PM on December 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


prize bull octorok: "I will not use the punctuation mark that means "stop" until such time as there exists a complementary punctuation mark that means "collaborate and listen""

Alternately, one that means "Hammer time."
posted by Chrysostom at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


I can only imagine how much some of you would have over-payed to send a telegram.
posted by invitapriore at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is a firefox extension that changes the browser stop button to an animated gif of MC Hammer dancing.

I forget if it has a sound component as well.
posted by elizardbits at 1:52 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the sentences are beyond a certain length, for some reason, the monotonality washes off.

but short sentences is still robot
posted by ignignokt at 1:52 PM on December 3, 2013


BEHOLD
posted by elizardbits at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never really understood code-switching until I started IMing with people a bit younger than I am and felt like I was a billion years old for capitalizing my Is. Now I've mostly separated out who I still use standard punctuation with and who I don't and it's not the worst thing in the world to be able to speak in both idioms, such as they are.

I also think there's a ton of tone communicated via the punctuation and capitalization included in an IM or text message. "fuk u im dying" would mean something very different to me (depending on who it came from) than "Fuck you! I'm dying!"
posted by Copronymus at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The periods in obit threads don't indicate anger?

I don't know exactly why, but I am suddenly tickled with the idea that this Internet community, which is for the most part fairly pleasant, just hates everyone who happens to die.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


. , 🔨⏰
posted by mcrandello at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


how many of you write like this because you want to sound like roast beef

c'mon dogg fess up ain't no shame in copping to the fact that a severely depressed cartoon cat is the fictional personage you most relate to in this world
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:55 PM on December 3, 2013 [28 favorites]


What we really need is a browser extension that, for every typed period in a sentence, automatically adds a link to a youtube video of Can't Touch This.
posted by elizardbits at 1:55 PM on December 3, 2013


People are funny when it comes to written communication. An ex-girlfriend of mine was as articulate as they come in person, but her emails (and it was a long-distance relationship, so there were a lot of them) were a barely-literate word spew I had to decipher rather than read.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:59 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do this so hard that if I *do* put two sentences in the same text, and they are not exclamations or questions, I will separate them with an emoticon instead of a period.

:) :D >_> ^^ ;_; :( <3

I've texted with some fairly emotional people in my time, which is how I picked up this habit. I think it allows for more creative expression and cuts down on misunderstandings.
posted by subdee at 2:01 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I first started using the internet just around the time when the popularity of l33tspeek was causing many hackles to be raised in various USENET groups about the death of grammar and language. And since I was a kid trying to be not be seen as a kid (for reasons only one other person understood at the time, I lied about being fifteen from the ages of twelve to fifteen) I started using aggressively correct grammar/spelling/punctuation. Which is not to say that I was a Nazi about it, I rarely took the time to chastise others for their lack of proper grammar. But my use of it in such casual, grammatically nightmarish places like AOL chat rooms was seen as nothing short of fighting words for some. I would often be called an "English bastard", as in British, or sometimes accused of being a robot since I made an effort to never use contractions.

In retrospect, I am glad I was so aware of my own grammar. Not out of some sense of intellectual superiority (my sense of intellectual superiority comes from my intellectual superiority) but because it kept me in good practice.

As an aside re: the recent declaration of "because" as a preposition - I am against it. Not because I think it is especially ugly a thing to be adopted as official. It is because I think it is important for some things to remain grammatically incorrect no matter how common their usage. Yes, language is a living thing. However, when you legitimize things like "because" as a preposition it takes away the power it had since a large part of its effectiveness was due to the fact it was clearly an abuse of grammar. So when it was legitimized, it seems as though it immediately lost some of its effectiveness. Perhaps that was the goal.

tl;dr - I'm smarter than you, because grammar.
posted by mediocre at 2:01 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Came here for the Hammertime; was not disappointed.
posted by indubitable at 2:05 PM on December 3, 2013


My daughter sometimes will text me "wats for dinner" so I always respond, "Since you insist, we'll get Ethiopian." She doesn't think my punctuation is funny.
posted by Apoch at 2:05 PM on December 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


Also, I have never known why it is that old school telegrams used the word "STOP" as they do. Is it because there was no punctuation in them, so the word "STOP" indicated a period?
posted by mediocre at 2:06 PM on December 3, 2013


tl;dr - I'm smarter than you, because grammar.

I'm smarter than grammar, too.

:^)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:07 PM on December 3, 2013


She doesn't think my punctuation is funny.

She does not like Ethiopian food? Wat the fock is rong wit'er?
posted by mediocre at 2:07 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Over in the left hand side:

New Republic
You have read:
1 / 8
free articles in the past 30 days.


That takes on a new sense of urgency when you realized that this request may be laced with anger.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:13 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


mediocre: "Also, I have never known why it is that old school telegrams used the word "STOP" as they do. Is it because there was no punctuation in them, so the word "STOP" indicated a period?"


"Using the word "STOP" instead of a full stop saved money because four-letter words were free and punctuation cost extra."
posted by Chrysostom at 2:14 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mediocre, although early telegraph was so limited they didn't have j, Q or Z, punctuation on Western Union cost more, while 4 letter words were free (on preview what he said.)
posted by mcrandello at 2:15 PM on December 3, 2013


Generally the period is to denote the end of one sentence before another one, so if you use a single sentence it makes perfect sense to eliminate it.


Hmmm. I would like to see a cartoon where the shipwreck survivor spells out HELP in stones on the beach, but passing planes ignore it because it lacks punctuation.

I use punctuation in all my texts, and capitalize where SWE suggests I would do so. If I had the option to choose between an em-dash and an en-dash, I would avail myself of that. In fact, I would like to end every text with an interrobang.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:20 PM on December 3, 2013


"Using the word "STOP" instead of a full stop saved money because four-letter words were free and punctuation cost extra."

Okay, wait. WHAT??? Someone please, some historian, please for the love of god explain this to me, or I'll have to spend all night ripping apart the Internet to find the answer for this TOTALLY WEIRD ROOLS THING.
posted by RedEmma at 2:21 PM on December 3, 2013


Is it a joke because of swears? Please let that be it.
posted by RedEmma at 2:22 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know people who type "Ha, ha, ha!" instead of "Hahaha!" and it just seems SO. LABOURED.
posted by peripathetic at 2:22 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Is it a joke because of swears? Please let that be it.

Telegraph, Old West, four-letter words, Deadwood.... is is an ASSEMBLE YOUR OWN JOKE kit.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:23 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know people who type "Ha, ha, ha!" instead of "Hahaha!" and it just seems SO. LABOURED.

L.O.L.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:25 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Deeply regret advise your Titanic sunk this morning fifteenth after collision iceberg resulting serious loss life further particulars later."

I don't know why they have to be so angry about it.
posted by mazola at 2:26 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I default to using punctuation. Mostly, I'm using voice dictation, so saying "period" at the end of each thought, if I think about it at all, amuses me since it makes me feel like a busy and important person (such as can afford to employ a stenographer).

If I leave off punctuation it probably means I'm ill or sad. I will also intentionally remove the automatic capitalization to fully convey the unbearableness of being.
posted by joannemerriam at 2:27 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ditto on the 'speaking the punctuation for speech to text' makes me feel important.
posted by mazola at 2:29 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


[via wikipedia:] Examples of telegraphic coded expressions, taken from The Adams Cable Codex, Tenth Edition, 1896 are:
Emolument — Think you had better not wait
Emotion — Think you had better wait until -
Emotional — Think you had better wait and sail -
Empaled — Think well of party mentioned
Empanel — This is a matter of great importance.
and from The A.B.C. Universal Commercial Electric Telegraphic Code
Nalezing — Do only what is absolutely necessary
Nalime — Will only do what is absolutely necessary
Nallary — It is not absolutely necessary, but it would be an advantage
Naloopen — It is not absolutely necessary, but well worth the outlay


O.M.G. I insist we re-implement these immediately into txtspk.
posted by RedEmma at 2:31 PM on December 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


I say and write the word "slash" instead of using a / proper. This sometimes leads to confusion online, where my using the word "slash" will lead someone to thinking I am referring to some type of amateur erotic fan literature.
posted by mediocre at 2:33 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]




Baby's First FPP
(In the style of online chat)

surprisingly this article wasn't on MeFi already, so i went ahead and posted it

an hour later, 75 replies?! holy yikes what

if this is the WORST OF METAFILTER i can't wait to post something mediocre



(I edit copy for a living—paid grammar cop here—and the above is an accurate rendition of how I chat with friends online. Been lurking here for years and years. Having finally joined, I plan to continue lurking, for the most part!)
posted by salix at 2:40 PM on December 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


salix, for what it's worth, I think the "worst of MetaFilter" comment concerned the discussion here and not your link, which is totally acceptable FPP material.
posted by invitapriore at 2:42 PM on December 3, 2013


I always compose my texts as if they were Regency-era epistles. Very few of my circle like to text with me, much.

I remain,

I'faith,

Your warm correspondent,

s.l.v.a.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 2:45 PM on December 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


salix, for what it's worth, I think the "worst of MetaFilter" comment concerned the discussion here and not your link, which is totally acceptable FPP material.

Aw, darn. I was gonna have that framed.
posted by salix at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2013


O.M.G. I insist we re-implement these immediately into txtspk.

Naloopen
posted by edgeways at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


I say and write the word "slash" instead of using a / proper.

I always think twice before using a forward slash because I'm worried about ruining the directory structure of my statement.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I write down my texts on a napkin and then send them a photo of it.
posted by invitapriore at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Right, salix, my comment was about the repetitive, dismissive, disappointing discussion. The post is good, thank you!
posted by jjwiseman at 3:01 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mostly use periods when IMing/texting because it's easy, I'm a fast typist, why not? But it doesn't impede meaning for me when people leave them off of a one-sentence text, and depending on their phone, that might save them tons of time, so to each their own.

What bugs me more is omitted commas in texts/IMs, since I often have trouble divining how the sentence is supposed to be read--more so than most people do, I think.

But as for the period-indicating-something-other-than-the-end-of-a-grammatical-sentence, it only works if the addressee already knows that's how you use periods, so I don't think you're likely to see it that much between people who don't know each other well; I haven't seen it much in that context.
posted by thegears at 3:11 PM on December 3, 2013


Hmmm. I would like to see a cartoon where the shipwreck survivor spells out HELP in stones on the beach, but passing planes ignore it because it lacks punctuation.

Close enough.
posted by chavenet at 3:20 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is absolutely no reason not to use periods in texting now that I have found out that pressing the [space] button twice will auto-input.

This has changed my life for the better.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:22 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


And what they infer, plausibly enough, is something like ‘This is final, this is the end of the discussion or at least the end of what I have to contribute to it.’”

Hmmm

No
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:59 PM on December 3, 2013


Mister_A: And hey, let me say something about 'trolling for hits.'

No.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2013


I find that the formality levels I use in text and e-mail strongly correlate in their usage to the formality levels associated with pronouns in, e.g., certain Romance languages.

E.g. the French "tu" and its attendant conjugations are used to address familiars and friends. My text dialogues with close friends are nearly always unpunctuated, frequently ungrammatical, and sometimes deliberate misspellings are even employed, as far as I can tell, as a form of affection.

When typing to the unfamiliar and/or to groups of more than one, however, I almost unconsciously conform to received grammar. These paragraphs I'm typing right now are a functional example of this. This follows the deployment of the French pronoun "vous".

And as with the French pronoun patterns, there is a hierarchal element involved. My boss, conscious of her own social standing and presumably capable of standard English composition given her various university degrees, will e-mail me directives in scattered, misspelled sentence fragments, and I will respond in complete sentences. This feels perfectly natural, but if someone hierarchically beneath me (a dog without any specialized training, for example) were to address me in the same way I would feel miffed!

I sometimes speculate that whatever social forces brought on these variant pronoun levels in certain European (and elsewhere) languages have spilled over into English, but their conjugation is only made manifest in written language -- and that therefore, when people grow upset about the use of textspeak it's actually the break in protocol that offends them, not the cited "desecration of language" which, really, give me a break, your dusty old leatherbounds aren't going anywhere.

(NB: I don't know any teens)
posted by metaman livingblog at 4:34 PM on December 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


That is a really interesting take on it, actually.
posted by rifflesby at 4:46 PM on December 3, 2013


When typing to the unfamiliar and/or to groups of more than one, however, I almost unconsciously conform to received grammar.

I really agree with this. Using recognized grammar and punctuation, to my antiquated mind, is a way of expressing courtesy and respect. I think that is because it is so much easier to read well constructed prose.

And I do agree as well with many on this thread that lapses in communication are much more acceptable from close friends and family. However, words without punctuation, capitalization, or ready comprehensibility irritate the heck out of me in a professional setting, no matter how high the writer thinks s/he is in the relevant hierarchy. Don't people in a position of authority have a particular responsibility to be courteous, i.e. clear, in communicating with others?
posted by bearwife at 4:55 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


My brother and I are both in our mid-to-late-thirties, and I just went back through our gchat log, and we almost NEVER use periods when talking to each other.
posted by KathrynT at 5:07 PM on December 3, 2013


bearwife: "Using recognized grammar and punctuation, to my antiquated mind, is a way of expressing courtesy and respect. I think that is because it is so much easier to read well constructed prose." [emphasis mine]

This implies that the grammar of text messages isn't itself recognized. I don't think that's the case, since we all seem pretty clear on its shape. If this logic holds, then, I could just as easily read an interlocutor's refusal to use SMS English in our exchanges as a sign of disrespect.

Also, I think appealing to readability is question begging. if the end of the text message behaves in that grammar as the sentence delimiter, that seems like it would be even more emphatic and readable than the period.
posted by invitapriore at 5:09 PM on December 3, 2013


how many of you write like this because you want to sound like roast beef

c'mon dogg fess up ain't no shame in copping to the fact that a severely depressed cartoon cat is the fictional personage you most relate to in this world


I'm only writing like this cause an angel gets its wings every time a pedant gets annoyed
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:49 PM on December 3, 2013


billy corgan typed out the liner notes to pisces iscariot like this so i copied him to be cool. it was the nineties. stuff was like that. kd lang silverchair
posted by Sys Rq at 7:13 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the period were pissed-off, it probably wouldn’t want to appear with love you or miss you and there are constraints on them occurring together in this data. By contrast, if it’s getting pissy, it may well occur with fuck you. And it does: 113% more than we’d expect. Or in other words, more than double what we would expect if there was no correlation. For positive correlations, the fuck you/period combo is surpassed (in this data) only by the predictable correlation between miss you and a frowny face. This is a bit surprising to us, especially since exclamation marks appear with fuck you only 4% more than if there was no correlation.
posted by unliteral at 7:28 PM on December 3, 2013


Back when I was still using online dating services, I routinely used people's lack of punctuation and capitalization as a preliminary filter. Naturally, nowadays, I'm married to someone who knows about Oxford commas, semicolons and em dashes, and isn't afraid to use them. Yes, we're both Olds.
posted by monospace at 7:48 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


.. --- -. .-.. -.-- - . -..- - .. -. -- --- .-. ... . -.-. --- -.. .

-... . -.-. .- ..- ... . -- -.-- .--. .... --- -. . --- -. .-.. -.-- .... .- ... --- -. . -.- . -.--
posted by rochrobbb at 6:58 AM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


From Orwell's "Politics And The English Language":
But all these are minor points. The defense of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply.

To begin with it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a "standard English" which must never be departed from. On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear, or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a "good prose style." On the other hand, it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one's meaning. What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them.
... though I guess quoting a long passage from a better writer than yourself might count as surrendering. A strategic retreat, at least.

As long as one's meaning is clear.
posted by mhoye at 7:07 AM on December 4, 2013


Quantitatively speaking, a single period is 0.71% of a single tweet.
posted by salishsea at 10:22 AM on December 4, 2013


Sys Rq: "Mister_A: And hey, let me say something about 'trolling for hits.'

No.
"

I think you're missing the point. The comment that spurred my comment characterizes, and unfairly, to my way of thinking, the stock and trade of a periodical as 'trolling'. By this broad definition of 'anything remotely interesting that someone might disagree with,' the Mona Lisa can be characterized as 'trolling'. Long story short, I'm not the one who needs 'trolling' defined.
posted by Mister_A at 11:19 AM on December 4, 2013


No [or at least I don't believe so (I've been known to be mistaken)], I don't think mint ice cream -- or any ice cream -- will make your dog's farts smell better; that's not really how digestion works.

I might be wrong -- and I'm sure you'll correct me if I am -- but it looks to me like you info-dumped (is that the right term?) all my comments, both here and on the green, and creaked a Markov chain; if you didn't it's pretty uncanny.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2013


i go no caps no punct when i wanna sound like a callow idiot or a depressed cat
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2013


"By this broad definition of 'anything remotely interesting that someone might disagree with,' the Mona Lisa can be characterized as 'trolling'."

check the smile dude whats so funny lolz mannerism
posted by klangklangston at 11:55 AM on December 4, 2013


Started out thinking the idea that periods in texts denote anger was stupid, then remembered I still sort of twitch at "ok" in texts/instant messages because a passive-aggressive friend of mine used to use it instead of "k" when she was annoyed. Text can give a lot of importance to even the smallest gestures/punctuation marks.
posted by mlle valentine at 12:39 PM on December 4, 2013


when i see messages
typed like this
i get a mental image of the writer as a cockroach
who cant reach all of the keys
posted by Catch at 2:38 PM on December 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


  ▲
▲ ▲

When I triforce, you know I mean business.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:38 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


archy could reach the keys just fine
what he could nt do was operate the shift
because it required two fingers
and he being a cockroach could nt do that
so he made do with what he had

i think he would ve liked touch screens
he d delight us with screeds about
autocorrect
and the appalling lack of linguistic skill
assumed of the user by these machines
as seen in the attempts to make coherent speech
from garbled fumble fingered input

which may prove they are more intelligent
than the ones using them

i would like to see archy tell us about that
posted by cmyk at 9:00 PM on December 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


archy could totally hit all the keys
literally, with his head
that is why he wasn't so good with shift
because he couldn't leap
and hit two keys at once
with his head
seriously, are y'all in cahoots with mehitabel
posted by asperity at 9:08 PM on December 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


... Would a cockroach be able to work a capacitive touchscreen? I refuse to search for this information because there might be pictures.
posted by asperity at 9:57 PM on December 4, 2013


Huh, good question. I know hamsters can, and that was an awkward text, but I have not had any cockroaches on my phone. That I know about.
posted by cmyk at 9:59 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have very friendly and obliging giant cockroaches, but no touch-screen devices.
*pondering face*
posted by Catch at 11:54 PM on December 4, 2013


I have a dead palmetto bug in a specimen jar but I am not rubbing it on my phone unless the reward is really good.
posted by cmyk at 1:25 AM on December 5, 2013


Oh come on, do it for SCIENCE!
posted by Catch at 1:36 AM on December 5, 2013


Chrysostom: "'Using the word "STOP" instead of a full stop saved money because four-letter words were free and punctuation cost extra.'"

No, that's an old wive's tale made up somewhere along the line. The simple truth is telegrams were charged per word (not per character, up to a maximum of 15 characters), punctuation marks counted as one word each anyway, and spelling out the ones that could be confused with an ink splash or fly shit (e.g. ".", ",", and in some cases ":") reduced errors. Note that other punctuation (e.g. "?", "!", etc) was rarely, if ever, spelled out.

The actual code (e.g. ..--.. for "." in the original "American" morse or .-.-.- in International morse) was always used on the line.
posted by Pinback at 2:50 AM on December 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Don't people in a position of authority have a particular responsibility to be courteous, i.e. clear, in communicating with others?

Well, no, that's the thing. Because they're in a position of authority, they have the liberty to do as they please, and force others to deal with the consequences. Those of us on the lower rungs must demonstrate our fealty and obedience through courtesy and clarity. (And willingness to absorb the consequences of sloppiness from on high.)
posted by like_a_friend at 9:02 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Bias for Action   |   Let Me Live That Fantasy Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments