There was an article in the Tribune today about emoji. I've copied it below since no longer can I link to Tribune articles. There were lots of cute emoji in the article, but they wouldn't copy. They had an interesting perspective by calling them "modern hieroglyphics." I believe we've mentioned it here before, but the term comes from the Japanese words for "picture" and "written character" - exactly what it is. I know some don't like emoji, but I do think they can be useful from time to time, particularly when you want people to know you aren't being serious about something. Thoughts?
For some reason I thought the word was from a borrowing of "emotion". But no, it's 絵 e "picture" plus 文字 moji "character"
Then it's a pictograph? Reverting to ancient languages, are they?
Yes, like hieroglyphics.
Sarcasm looks the same in the brain whether it's words or emoji
No words needed to convey irony ;-)
By Laurel Hamers 6:36pm, March 28, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO — Millennials, rejoice: A winking-face emoji is worth a slew of ironic words. The brain interprets irony or sarcasm conveyed by an emoji in the same way as it does verbal banter, researchers reported March 26 in San Francisco at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting.
Researchers measured brain electrical activity of college students reading sentences ending in various emojis. For example, the sentence “You are such a jerk” was followed by an emoji that matched the words’ meaning (a frowning face), contradicted the words (a smiling face) or implied sarcasm (a winking face). Then the participants assessed the veracity of the sentence—was the person actually a jerk?
Some participants read the sentence literally no matter what, said Benjamin Weissman, a linguist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. But people who said emojis influenced their interpretation showed different brain activity in response to sentences with a winking emoji than ones with other emojis. A spike in electrical activity occurred 200 milliseconds after reading winky-face sentences, followed by another spike at 600 milliseconds.
A similar electrical pattern has been noted in previous studies in which people listened to sentences where intonation conveyed a sarcastic rather than literal interpretation of the words. That peak at 600 milliseconds has been linked to reassessment. It’s as if the brain reads the sentence one way, sees the emoji and then updates its interpretation to fit the new information, Weissman said.
This study provides more evidence suggesting that emojis aren’t just frivolous adornments to texts. “There are lots of complex linguistic functions they can serve,” Weissman said.
B. Weissman and D. Tanner. ERP brain response to emoji-generated irony. Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 26, 2017.
L. Sanders. Smartphones may be changing the way we think. Science News. Vol. 191, April 1, 2017, p. 18.
So what's the big deal? In online communications, words alone can be misinterpreted: one adds an emoji to help readers understand that the communication is meant to be funny, or ironic, or whatever.
But, Sattva, here's the problem:
Some read it literally, no matter what. So you do have to be careful. I have seen that here when people have been hurt or annoyed by a post, and the writer would say, "Didn't you see the winking face? I was just kidding. I thought you'd know!" People don't take them the same way.