No don’t stop – or, the problem with lack of intonation

January 7, 2011

Categories: Intonation and electronic messages

A few recent electronic misunderstandings have led me to muse the lack of intonation inherent in emails and blogging. I have never been one to use emoticons (smiley face) but these at least go some way to expressing the intent of the author. ie This is a joke, or, I am using irony here. Coupled with a lack of intonation is the careless use of grammatical indicators in emails, texts and blogging that could also help point the reader in the right direction if used.

Which reminds me of an English class where we were given the words ‘no don’t stop’ and asked to interpret their message. As we found, the message or (urgency of the message) could change, depending on the use of grammatical indicators.

No! Don’t stop.
No! Don’t! Stop!
No, don’t stop.
No don’t. Stop.
No? Don’t stop.