Long interested in the history of punctuation, I was fascinated as a boy by Victor Borge’s idea of phonetic punctuation. As I became more aware of the world of computers, I learned about the emoticon, a strange new development beyond exclamation points and question marks.
And yesterday, for the first time, I was introduced to the phonetic emoticon.
Teresa the five-year-old and Tina the three-year-old have each begun adding a tongue click sound to the end of happy sentences. Teresa: “I’m doing three pages of math today [click]!” Tina: “Can you give me some raisins? [click]” Really, really happy paragraphs will have as many as three or four clicks.
It seems to function more or less as a vocal smiley face–always accompanied by a visual smiley face, of course. Now that I think of it, children have for many ages had the vocal equivalent of 🙁 and :-O.