The youths these days… so sensitive.
Then again, Generation Z is the first to ever have literally grown up with a phone in their hands so as they say, “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
According to linguist Dr. Lauren Fonteyn, “If you send a text message without a full stop, it’s already obvious that you’ve concluded the message. So if you add that additional marker for completion, they will read something into it and it tends to be a falling intonation or negative tone.”
Another linguist, Owen McArdle of the University of Cambridge, said, “I’m not sure I agree about emails. I guess it depends how formal they are.
“But full stops are, in my experience, very much the exception and not the norm in [young people’s] instant messages, and have a new role in signifying an abrupt or angry tone of voice.”
This is also backed up by science. A 2015 study by Binghamton University in New York, involving 126 undergraduates, found that they perceived text messages ending in a full stop as being less sincere than the same message without a full stop.
Researchers also found that exclamation points did the opposite of full stops, making people seem more sincere and engaged.
“Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses and so on,” said Celia Klin, associate professor of psychology and associate dean at Binghamton University’s Harpur College.” People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them – emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”
So beware the next time you send a text that ends with a period to a member of Generation Z.
“Punctuation is used and understood by texters to convey emotions and other social and pragmatic information,” said Klin. “Given that people are wonderfully adept at communicating complex and nuanced information in conversations, it’s not surprising that as texting evolves, people are finding ways to convey the same types of information in their texts.”
As one of the world’s leading language experts David Crystal said in his 2015 book, Making a Point, “People simply do not put full stops in, unless they want to make a point. The full stop is now being used in those circumstances as an emotion marker.”