How would you feel if you texted a friend to invite them round for dinner and this reply popped up on your phone? Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch says more and more people now see ending messages with a full stop as rude because of the way we text rue use instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. A study by Binghamton University involving undergraduates found they perceived text messages ending in a full stop as being less sincere than the same message without a full stop.
In speech, the full stop is generally accompanied by lowering the voice to indicate the end of a sentence and carries connotations of formality or seriousness, Ms McCulloch explains. It's the juxtaposition of those things which creates that sense of passive aggression.
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So how can we tell if someone is actually annoyed or just using a full stop in the traditional sense? Erika Darics, a lecturer in linguistics at Aston University in Birmingham, says it is all down to context. She says someone's age and how often they use messaging apps can also affect how they use punctuation.
Often these differences are more ificant than differences in nationality, Ms McCulloch - who is Canadian - argues. Using a full stop in messages seems to have similar connotations in both North America dhat the UK, she adds.
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However, there can be some cultural differences between countries - Americans and Canadians don't use "x" to denote a kiss at the end of a message, while Brits do, she says. Use of informal grammar and text slang in messaging can lead to accusations of dumbing down and making people lazy. But Ms McCulloch points out that using slang or incorrect spellings actually takes more effort in an age of autocorrect and predictive text.
Online messaging also forces people to develop new ways of conveying emotion and meaning without the use of body language or tone of voice. For rkde, the acronym "lol" laugh out loud can be used sarcastically, as can the upside-down face emoji.
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