Is That an Emoticon in 1862? in NYT

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Wed Jan 21 14:52:28 UTC 2009

I missed the original post, so apologies if the lack of context
misconstrues meaning.

At 11:05 PM -0500 1/19/09, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Adding to the idiocy of the whole thing is the fact that if the ;) is an
> emoticon, where's the closing parenthesis?

> "I am here upon the scaffold" (wink, wink!)

I doubt emoticons existed in 1862, myself, but i'd point out that i (and
i'm not alone on this) use emoticons as closing parentheses, so that the
) is doing double duty, as in:

I vehemently disagree (as if you couldn't tell;) but that doesn't really

My favorite non-emoticon examples come from the Authorised/King James
Bible, actually, where you get such wonderfully odd readings for the
modern eye as Acts 18:1-2:

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And
found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from
Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all
Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society -

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