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LINGUIST List 20.2759

Thu Aug 13 2009

Qs: Kissing in Texts and Letters

Editor for this issue: Pamela Dixon <pamelalinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Hugo Griffiths, Kissing in Texts and Letters

Message 1: Kissing in Texts and Letters
Date: 12-Aug-2009
From: Hugo Griffiths <hugogriffithsgmail.com>
Subject: Kissing in Texts and Letters
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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

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Language Documentation

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