Today’s young people have become so tender and meek that to finish a sentence with a period intimidates and threatens them, according to a report by Dailymail.com.
Linguistic experts are saying that the simple and unequivocal punctuation dot intimidates young people in social media communication and is even seen as a sign of anger.
Perhaps it’s just too … decisive? Teens and those in their early twenties, dubbed Generation Z by the media, have grown up with smartphones which they use to send short messages … without periods.
A study from Binghamton University in New York compounds the trouble for the period, suggesting that people who finish messages with them are seen as insincere.
Linguistic experts are trying to explain why teens interpret a correctly concluded text as a signal of irritation. Maybe they feel they are being told to shut up?
When writer Rhiannon Cosslett tweeted: “Older people – do you realise that ending a sentence with a full stop comes across as sort of abrupt and unfriendly to younger people in an email/chat? Genuinely curious”, several Twitter users expressed disbelief, and one even accused her of “peak snowflakery”.
Crime novelist Sophie Hannah replied that she asked her 16-year-old son about it and was told that periods at the end of sentences indicate the sender is “weird, mean or too blunt.”
The Binghamton University study involved 126 undergraduates and the researchers found that text messages ending in periods were perceived as being less sincere.
Professor David Crystal, a leading language expert, argues that the usage of periods is being “revised in a really fundamental way.”
In his book Making a Point, he says that the punctuation mark has become an “emotion marker” that alerts timid recipients that the sender is angry or annoyed.