NABOKV-L post 0017086, Sun, 21 Sep 2008 16:24:06 -0400

Celebrating Smiley ...

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Celebrating Smiley Today

Svetlana Gladkova, 09/19/2008, 2 days 7 hours ago

If you are not sure about what you could celebrate when drinking a beer tonight (it’s Friday, after all), there’s quite a nice occasion for you today - birthday of our beloved smiley face. 26 years ago, on September 19th, 1982, Scott Fahlman, computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested using 3 symbols - colon, hyphen and a closing bracket - to mark a smiling face in a typed text to demonstrate a joke or a humorous tone of a sentence. I believe we can absolutely count it as a historical day as a smiley face has undoubtedly brought a lot into the lexicon we use online.

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I am quite proud that the idea of emoticons has some Russian origins as well since Scott Fahlman was not the first to suggest it (even though he coined the actual look of a smiley). Back in April 1969 Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov (best-known for his Lolita novel) suggested a very similar idea in an interview to Alden Whitman of the New York Times saying “I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile — some sort of concave mark, a supine round bracket”.

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