crosspost from LinguistList on kissing in texts

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 13 17:49:37 UTC 2009

Someone on our list should be able to advise Mr. Griffiths on the
history of kissing and telling.  Please send any suggestions to the
original poster as well as to us.


>LINGUIST List: Vol-20-2759. Thu Aug 13 2009. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
>Subject: 20.2759, Qs: Kissing in Texts and Letters
>-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
>Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 12:01:05
>From: Hugo Griffiths [hugogriffiths at]
>Subject: Kissing in Texts and Letters
>Dear Linguists,
>I am an English Literature and Language undergraduate at Winchester
>University in the south of England, and have recently taken on the role of
>a research apprentice. The project I have been working on has concerned
>itself with SMS text messaging; we have been looking into such things as
>tone, register phonetic spelling and many of the other facets found in
>people's texts.
>One of the things we have been looking into more closely is the propensity
>texters have to 'kiss'; that is to put an 'x' in single or multiple forms
>in their messages. Obviously this is not something that is unique to
>text-messages, kisses being present in letters, emails, tree trunks and the
>like, but I was wondering if any of you kind linguists out there knew of
>any research or theories that might take kisses into account.
>Is there a general consensus on where kissing originated from or when an
>'x' first began to represent a kiss? Are there any languages other than
>English that use them? There seems to be precious little discoverable
>research out there on the subject. I have so far managed to ascertain that
>they were used as far back as 1763, but other than this seem to have drawn
>a blank. Can anyone shed any light on this for me?
>Your help is very much appreciated,
>Yours faithfully,
>Hugo Griffiths

The American Dialect Society -

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