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?Quizzical? emoticons fill gap in expressions market

Vladimir Nabokov, inventor of the emoticon (ROFLMAO :-), would be pleased to see that it has acquired a touch of nuance. From Newsbiscuit, where it crumbles, cookiewise, every day:

Two new emoticons were unveiled at a Microsoft Conference in Philadelphia yesterday. Martin Groonstadt, of the University of Utrecht’s Emotional Intelligence Unit hailed the new graphics as a great leap in communications, ‘For years bloggers have been constrained by the lack of range in Emoticons. For example, they can be happy :- ) or very happy :-> or indeed laughing :- D but not expressing mild wry amusement or the kind of half-smile that seems to concur with another person but actually signifies complete disagreement :-} These new quizzical emoticons occupy a much-needed place in our emoticon lexicon.’

In a separate issue, validation of the so-called ‘continental nose’ ( :¬) sparked a certain amount of controversy in the European Union Emoticons Standardisation Committee. On an emoticon message board, Dean from Colchester branded it a ‘diabolical liberty’, while Chantal from Billericay wrote ‘hnds of our Englsh Nses. i dnt wnt any of yr bnt forign nses on my fone’.

Klaus Unterleiben of the Munich-based Emoticon Graphic Design Consortium, IchBinEinLittelFacshelSchmiler said the continental noses were much clearer in design terms than the straight English noses, and would replace them as a matter of Historic Inevitability. Martin Groonstadt, attempting to calm the controversy, expressed a wish that ‘In time to come, a so-called continental nose will be as unremarkable as a crossed seven.’

Until then, all E.U. emails and text messages will be translated into all European languages with the appropriate emoticon for that region, costing an estimated 750 million Euros. :¬{