more on frowns

A while ago, I posted on two competing meanings of  ‘frown’ here. Just recently, Lynne Murphy  at separated by a common language followed up on this with this post, which generated some interesting responses.

Most spectacularly, it prompted the following confirmation that British vs. American English distinction indeed has something to do with it (even though I didn’t find consistent intuitions among the (few) people from the two sides of Atlantic that I informally asked about it at the time):  Josef Fruehwald observed the following amazing difference in the the respective sign languages (British vs. American) on Twitter:

 

vs.

this.

The earliest reference someone posted in the comments section of the downward-facing smile reading so far dates to the 1930s–any earlier occurrences anyone?

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    There’s a related post by Arika Okrent on Mental Floss, again with interesting comments.

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