Words to Symbols

From Mental Floss, check out this recent article “8 Symbols That We Turned Into Words“.

It was an interesting take on the nuances of the English language.  Probably the best known one is the Heart.  You’ve seen it used in the new context all the time “I ♥ New York”.  I thought that the article was fascinating reading and a good starting point for student discussion.

But then…what if the tables were turned and the question becomes…

8 Words That We Turned Into Symbols

Probably a really simple example would be “Smiling Face” becomes 🙂

In fact, your computer hopefully displayed a yellow character with a smile.  I didn’t put that character in there; I used a colon, followed by a dash, followed by a right parenthesis.  By common use, that string of characters gets translated automatically.

Can you come up with more?  How about posing this challenge to your students.  What can they create?

(Thanks to Dave Pell for the reference to the original Mental Floss post and his thought/challenge)


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