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Expert: Concerns that emojis cause expression to feel less susceptible may be exaggerated

via:新浪科技     time:2022/5/28 8:03:14     readed:60

Author: Yang Xu Unit: School of Literature, Wuhan University

"Emoji" is a very broad concept, which currently includes at least emoji, emoji, static stickers, GIF animations, etc. (the latter two are collectively referred to as "emojis"). If traced back to the roots, emojis are not a "new thing", including pictorial text, punctuation, infographics and comic techniques can be regarded as their predecessors, they are all to satisfy human visual instincts. This instinct has been unleashed like never before in the age of electronic information, with more and more people using emojis, with the younger generation growing up with television, animation, video games and the Internet undoubtedly being the most active force. As a young generation of college students, they are so interested in this that in the "Modern Linguistics" class taught by the author, they expressed their opinions through group discussions, class presentations, and book reports, and even gave birth to a concentrated discussion entitled "Guide to the Use of emoji in the 21st Century". Topics that college students care about include "the form of emoji mutation", "the functional variation of emoji", "the pros and cons of emoji", etc. The following is their reflection record.

Emojis that are deformed or synthesized based on emoji are popular with college students

Among the various emojis, the most common are emoji and emoji. Sun Shiqi and other students believe that the most commonly used by college students is actually memes, and we have stepped from the era of emoji to the era of emojis. Emoji and emojis have different internal logics, and people have shown resistance to the unity of emoji, creating a variation between emoji and emoji, that is, emojis that are deformed or synthesized based on emoji, such as "infinite" emojis.

Not only have multiple types of emojis appeared, but the same type has taken on different styles on different platforms. Mei Zhiyu and other students investigated the difference between the built-in emoji in Tencent's software (such as WeChat and QQ) and the built-in emoji in the input method, and found that more people would use the former than the latter. Some of the functional variations of emoji are related to the platform, such as the "smile" expression that occurs in semantic variations mainly from Tencent software; the "xixi" expression is extremely cute on the Samsung platform, but not so cute on other platforms. They disassembled the emoji and found that the composition of the small yellow face expression is "background color + face shape + expression", and its form selection is related to the psychology of facial expressions, the expression method of comic characters, and the flow of online language.

Emojis also exhibit a variety of variations in use. Chen Jing and other students based on the Bilibili website survey found that people use the most pictorial characters are "dog head", "knowledge increase", "spicy eyes" and "laughing and crying", of which "dog head life preservation" is known as "gold medal of no death", which can be used to judge whether the speaker is real or joking; when people use emoji, they like to use it alone, and occasionally use it to express strong or complex emotions, but the larger the number of consecutive uses, the lower the frequency of use; the highest frequency of emoticon is the end of the sentence, followed by the beginning of the sentence, very few sentences, You can clearly define the emotion you want to convey or set the tone for the attitude of the whole sentence.

 The same emoji, combined with different words, may show a far-fetched meaning

The meaning of emojis is more ambiguous than in language and text, and their use and interpretation are strongly dependent on context. Wei Zichao and other students found that the same emoji with different words may show a far-fetched meaning.

The meaning of emojis has greater flexibility, and because of this, emojis show infinite variations in function or semantics, including scene variations, such as "smile", "goodbye", "sneaky laugh", "toothless" and other expressions appear in the use of meanings other than the original meaning, such as "goodbye" the original meaning of "goodbye", the use of meaning is "do not want to pay attention to each other, no friendship, friendship"; individual variation, they mentioned that someone once sent a semester of "demons" and "lightning" in the class group, until the end of the term did not know that the former said "triumphant laughter", The latter means "I go too"; gender variation, one survey found that women use more emojis than men, 78% and 60% respectively; intergenerational variations, such as young people are more difficult to accept the so-called "middle-aged and elderly emojis", and middle-aged and elderly people also have difficulty understanding the meaning of "sweating" and "coffee", and so on. "The meaning behind emoji" once appeared on Weibo hot search, which also shows that people have a strong sense of self-awareness of the functional variation of emojis.

Emojis will continue to function as part of communicative behavior and may be replaced by other means in the future

The reason why emojis can "sweep the world" is due to its supplement to text, social lubrication and aesthetic satisfaction, but its popularity has also aroused people's concerns.

There are concerns that the mutation of emojis will deepen the communication gap. Sun Lingyao and other students agreed with this: although the variation makes the emoji more colorful, there are also problems that the conveying intention is not clear and easy to cause misunderstanding between the two sides, which may further expand the existing gap between different groups. There are also concerns that emoji abuse can lead to a decline in language skills.

This view is very popular, and it is the same as the concern about online language, but Zhao Wenxuan and other students are skeptical: emojis make up for the lack of pure text in conveying some intentions, but increase communication wisdom; emojis are mainly used in informal occasions and do not affect formal occasions too much.

There are also concerns that emoji abuse can lead to a deterioration of the ability to feel. In their view, only language can express complex thoughts and delicate emotions, and if language ability is degraded, the ability to feel will naturally degenerate. Sun Shiqi and other students expressed a certain degree of identification, because most of the emojis are blasphemous and distorted by collage, parody and spoofing of things that people have opinions on, and there is no in-depth analysis and rational understanding of many things, and these superficial, flat, and visual emojis ignore the complexity of human beings.

The above is the reflection of college students, and finally briefly talk about the author's point of view. At present, the evaluation of emojis shows a contradiction: on the one hand, emojis play an important role as a sub-language, and usually cite the formula of "100% face-to-face communication = 7% language + 38% expression + 55% body language", which can be described as "praise"; on the other hand, emojis are "shallow" and "fragmented" communication, which can only give language "a hand". This contradiction stems from a narrow view of language. In fact, only by treating the act of communication as a whole can we give emojis an objective and fair evaluation. Linguists usually seek a balance between economy and efficiency when explaining language changes and variations, which also applies to emojis: from the economic point of view, emojis are specific and vivid, the form is condensed, the hardware and software based on them are getting faster and faster, and the user experience is becoming more and more humane (such as software can automatically recommend emojis according to input characters); from the perspective of efficiency, emojis have played an increasingly irreplaceable role in greeting functions, flirting functions and social functions. For now, emojis do a good job of their own work, and they can't replace other parts of communicative behavior such as language, and of course they may not be intended to transgress.

Reflecting on emojis, I think that the mutation of emoji is not terrible, and people are enjoying this mutation instead. In addition, concerns that emojis cause a decline in their ability to express and feel may also be exaggerated, as humans have been using sub-languages or other mediums similar to sub-languages, but have never caused any irreversible serious consequences. Someone has suggested that "we can relax our vigilance against memes", but the reason is not that "many emojis will remain and stabilize", but that it will continue to play a role as part of communicative behavior, which may be a substitute for some past means or other means in the future. But form is temporary, function is eternal.

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