I’ll Leave it in Your Inbox

I was thinking today about the books I’ve bought but have yet to read, and about how to describe those books. My instinct was to refer to them as my to-do list, but then I decided that that didn’t really work, because they’re not a list. This is the point where most people would stop thinking about it, because it wasn’t even part of a conversation anyway. Nevertheless, I persisted, and thought about the word inbox as a possibility. Yes, that made sense. I get them, put them in the imaginary inbox until I take one, read it, and then transfer it to my imaginary outbox. Good, so the pile of books beside my bed (and the others in the other room: there are a lot of them) is my inbox. Not that I stopped thinking there though.

Continue reading

That isn’t Typing at all – it’s Writing!

At the moment, I’m reading the novel Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. (I’m aware that this is the second post in a row about what I’m reading: I do like to read, and I feel there’s a future post about a link between English teaching and reading) Yesterday, I was struck by the following passage (context: the book was published in 1988, and the narrator is writing about his first experience using a word processor, referred to as he/him):

Continue reading

Smile! :-D

I miss smileys. Specifically, I miss the old simple ones you could create on your Nokia brick, or in your college emails. I probably didn’t appreciate them at the time. As a pretentious 17-year old, I no doubt looked down on such a corruption of language! How could people be so lazy as to use a crude little picture to represent what they could easily convey with words, if they just took a moment to think about it. It was the death knell for the English language, and blah blah blah!

But then, probably in the mid-2000s, and probably on MSN Messenger, I saw something remarkable. I typed in a colon, a dash, and a parenthesis, and when I hit enter, they transformed, transcended simple punctuation, and became something truly other: a bright, beaming, yellow little face. How did I do that? I thought. Did I break the computer!? After a little tentative experimentation, I realised that the computer was rendering my little faces as it presumed I wanted them to look: in a better-looking, more comprehensible form. And I understood that. Only, it still didn’t sit well with me… Continue reading