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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?

quote:
An election next year will settle an important question: Sneezing face or lizard? Avocado or person doing a cartwheel? Maybe all four will be chosen, along with two strips of bacon and disco-dancing man.

Confused?

Don't be.

The cartoonish, symbol-based communications tool of social media and texting known as "emoji" will soon get another upgrade with the addition of as many as 67 new characters. They will expand a digital lexicon that expresses the broad range of basic human feelings — from happy to infatuatedto furious to weary .

No, emoji is not poetry, and please keep it out of your next school paper or office memo. But do recognize how common and useful these symbols have become in texts, Facebook postings and emails, especially for the digital generation. On Thursday, we asked visiting students from York Community High School in Elmhurst: Who uses emoji? Pretty much every hand in the room went up.

Beyond expressing emotions , the palette of several hundred emoji characters available on smartphones and tablets includes a broad, everyday vocabulary that keeps growing: animals , food , technology , activities , household objects. There's some puzzling stuff, too, most of which are Japanese cultural references that reflect the fact that while emoji is an international language, its origin is the Japanese cellular phone industry of the 1990s.

Language, by the way, is the right way to think about emoji characters, as silly as that might seem to some. They're part modern hieroglyphics, part youth culture slang that quickly has embedded itself in the broader landscape of cultural usage. Interesting that they harken to the past, too, since the most basic emoji is the smiley face, a symbol first popularized more than 50 years ago.

The primary purpose of emoji is short-hand communication: It's a lot easier to say in a text than type out a full sentence about how you're looking forward to meeting for a drink. It's more fun too. And if you have to tell your significant other you'll be late on date night, emoji can help clarify emotions that texting risks deadening. "Missed 6:30 C U soon

The playfulness and visual appeal of emoji make it a natural for digital mavens. Scan the Facebook postings of high school students and you'll see lots of personal expression. The students from York confirmed that an important purpose of emoji is its ability to communicate inflection. It can be difficult in cyberspace to distinguish between earnest emotion and sarcasm without emoji as an exclamation point or footnote. But the kids also warned us: Don't take emoji too seriously. Its use can be ironic. And, yes, there is now an emoji for eye-rolling.

The term emoji, by the way, comes from the Japanese words for picture and written character — each emoji is a pictograph. The decisionmaking body responsible for emoji is the Unicode Consortium, a tech steering committee in charge of standardizing computer code for keyboard text so people using different computers or phones around the world can communicate with each other.

The consortium has expanded the repertoire of emoji over time, recently adding different skin tones. The complete list is a hodgepodge of usefuland obscuresymbols. The newest update to Apple's iOS mobile operating system expands the emoji options to include the unicorn, taco and, uh-oh, middle finger. Will someone try to use them in one sentence? The New York Times says the consortium has a group of 67 more emoji under review, which members will put to a vote next spring. You can find the proposed list online.

"In text, you're less expressive if you don't have emojis," Tyler Schnoebelen, a linguist and emoji specialist, told the Times. "And that's a very meaningful and emotional thing that they make you feel like you can express your personal style."

Social media continues to change the way people interact, and emoji is part of the vocabulary, whether you like it or not.
 
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Huh???
 
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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"
 
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Then it's a pictograph? Reverting to ancient languages, are they?
 
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Yes, like hieroglyphics.
 
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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.
Citations

B. Weissman and D. Tanner. ERP brain response to emoji-generated irony. Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 26, 2017.
Further Reading

L. Sanders. Smartphones may be changing the way we think. Science News. Vol. 191, April 1, 2017, p. 18.
 
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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.
 
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But, Sattva, here's the problem:
quote:
Some participants read the sentence literally no matter what, said Benjamin Weissman, a linguist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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.
 
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