A lot has been written (often negatively) about the effects of online technology on communication, with emoticons, emojis and abbreviations like LOL taking the place of the non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, gestures and laughter that are available to people having a face‑to-face conversation. What is sometimes overlooked is the creation of new words to fulfil these roles. Take for example facepalm and headdesk, two words with similar meanings that have been recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary online. They both describe actions that are intended to portray emotions – putting your face in your hand, or banging your head on a desk to convey frustration, dismay or (with facepalm at least) embarrassment.
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