Primitive smilie ancestor discovered

September 21st, 2007

This week we heard about the primitive human ancestor referred to as the hobbit. Now we learn that the smilie had primitive ancestors dating back to 1887. In Language Log post, linguist Benjamin Zimmer talks about the “snigger point or note of cachinnation.” and some other early emoticoids or proto-smilies. Ambrose Bierce suggested the earliest known one in 1887, as shown in this passage from The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Vol. XI: Antepenultimata (1912).

primitive smilie ancstor