Re: Guest Post - emoji

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My currently undefined relationship has got me using emoji for the first time. I find them handy, but I wish the Android texting app had a better interface for using them. I have to scroll through a lot of emojis I'll never use in order to get to the few I use regularly. The ideal would be if it let me organize the emoji menu for myself so I could put my top 10 at the top of the list, saving me literally fractions of a second each day.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:14 AM
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Hate them. I won't even write u or thx or whatever the kids are doing on my lawn these days.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:14 AM
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I opened the first link and now I have epilepsy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:17 AM
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I like the extended emojis that Slack has. The other day I found dusty stick. What? What possible communicative shorthand is expressed by "dusty stick"? What is a dusty stick, even? A duster? A... stick covered in dust? The actual graphic looks like somebody's 3d printer wigged out trying to print a number two pencil.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:21 AM
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Like that other great ideographic set, Chinese characters, emoji only really get fun once you start treating them as morphemes to combine. It's much easier to reference, say, ritual sacrifice in emoji (full moon + dagger + goat). And the goat can be substituted out with whatever, so it's fairly productive.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:21 AM
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4: I was wondering about that, too. I...it makes me afraid of their internal culture. I like :squirrel: and the Doom-guy ones, and it tickles me that :ocean: is The Great Wave off Kanagawa.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:23 AM
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I tried to use emoji as some of my relatives are, as part of sending my father well wishes on V-TIDOS Day (April 9th). I used "fire" and "pistol". He did rather better in his response, with "crocodile", "snake", and "bomb".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:27 AM
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Slack does have :taco:, by the way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:27 AM
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Like that other great ideographic set, Chinese characters, emoji only really get fun once you start treating them as morphemes to combine. It's much easier to reference, say, ritual sacrifice in emoji (full moon + dagger + goat). And the goat can be substituted out with whatever, so it's fairly productive.

Which is the basis of an @Midnight game. By far the best use of emoji I've come across.

I never use them myself, partly because I'm old fashioned when it comes to texting (full sentences, punctuation etc), and partly because it would take more time to look up the emoji than to actually write what I was trying to express.



Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:31 AM
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Victory over The Insufferable Damned Old South Day?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:31 AM
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You may well already have seen it, but Matt Alt had a good piece in the New Yorker on how emoji were originally derived from manga conventions. He also has the original DoCoMo monochrome ones here, marvellously primitive and dot-matrixy.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:38 AM
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Those are adorable. I don't see a giant sweat-drop, though.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:40 AM
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I've been experimenting with emoji recently. The only problem is there are just enough to make you wish there were more. But even so, it is somewhat delightful to send a what's-up with a dragon, Easter Island head, hypodermic needle, monorail. I suppose the novelty will wear off soon and that I am using emojis like an old lady.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:51 AM
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The only problem is there are just enough to make you wish there were more

Such a constraint should just stimulate more artistic usages, yes?

a dragon, Easter Island head, hypodermic needle, monorail.

Wait, what about South American heroin?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:05 AM
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Emojis should be an enabled option on autocomplete. "T-A-C...oh good, the taco just popped up."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:07 AM
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I just used the Moai for the first time myself, in the same random sense. My kid wasn't even contemptuous when I first sent some, he just said "Oh you found the emoji."

I understood that DoCoMo symbols made it into the Unicode set, but not more, the details are interesting, thanks.

Smiley is helpful actually-- there are terse communications where it's nice to add a smile.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:08 AM
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15: This is exactly what Slack does, and it's really nice. Having to search through a palette is not a good user experience most of the time.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:15 AM
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I use emoji occasionally. I liked this article (which I think was linked here when it first came out). Clickbait title, but otherwise pretty thoughtful. Or maybe I just think that after a lifetime of fighting with computers over my name.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:24 AM
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Smiley is helpful actually-- there are terse communications where it's nice to add a smile.

I want something like that, but toned down. Something that says, "I'm not mad at you, but neither am I flirting with you; I just want to communicate this information to you in a neutral way."

The best I've come up with so far is to end every email with "Thanks!"


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:43 AM
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The situation in 18 is interesting because of how neatly it replicates the problems that English had with the invention of the printing press. (And as a result why we have things like Ye Olde Whatever stuff.) I don't know if history gives any useful guidance there though because the solution seemed to be "just change your written language so that you can write it even though it makes less sense afterwards."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:43 AM
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It does make this point a little more awkward, though:

To help English readers understand the absurdity of this premise, consider that the Latin alphabet (used by English) and the Cyrillic alphabet (used by Russian) are both derived from Greek. No native English speaker would ever think to try "Greco Unification" and consolidate the English, Russian, German, Swedish, Greek, and other European languages' alphabets into a single alphabet. Even though many of the letters look similar to Latin characters used in English, nobody would try to use them interchangeably.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:44 AM
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The whole thing does also remind me of that bit in Anathem where the future-society du jour uses some kind of supertech writing system that dances around on the page, but it's intellectual property that everyone has to pay to use, with occasional revampings.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:54 AM
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18 is interesting, I didn't know that Bengali Unicode was bad. I had read that Chinese wasn't great, but had also read that there was no perfect solution, because of rare archaic characters.

Possibly worth noting is that the latin alphabet is a bad basis for many european languages. "Tsch" is one sound in German, and diacriticals emerged as a kind of solution in many languages, but this before the printing press.

The introduction of print changed the relationship between dominant language and peripheral dialects/languages lots of places-- English basically lost at least the Cheshire dialect, Frech lost a bunch of southern regional languages. So I think that this conflict between language and technology is not new.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:55 AM
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I don't object to emoji use per se but it would feel like a weird affectation for me to use them beyond the occasional use of a smiley to soften the tone of a could-be-read-as-conveying-anger message.

In much the same way that people read ALL CAPS AS SHOUTING, emoji read to me as if they were speaking in the voice of a teenage Japanese girl. ♥ ♥ ♥ KAWAII DESU!!! ♥ ♥ ♥


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:01 AM
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I don't mind receiving them, but yeah... I'd rather type out what I'm saying than browse. It's probably a lot like mastering anything--it's a big hassle, but once mastered, you're happy to deploy it whenever remotely applicable.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:53 AM
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CJK unification is pretty awful, but the comparison to Latin/Cyrillic/Greek is strained. The point is that you'd use a typeface that uses the character forms found in the writing system you're concerned with. So if we had this hypothetical alphabetic unification, there'd be a "bet" character point that corresponds to Beta, Latin "B", the Cyrillic equivalent of "B", and so on depending upon which alphabet you're using. Obviously you'd have to take the union of all potential alphabets since some characters don't exist in all traditions, but the size of the union is much smaller than the disjoint union.

Where it breaks down is if you want to represent multiple languages in the same text. Now this difference between languages is no greater than that between Helvetica and Arial. It's impossible to make a single font in a logical typeface that will handle all languages. You'd need "Arial--Latin" and "Arial--Cyrillic" and so on.

CJK is a special case because Han characters are the only logographic system in common usage. Logographic systems really do take a lot more space in the character set, and as lw says that greatly expands when you include all the archaic characters. I don't think it was going up against the limit, though.

Not being able to write a common character in an alphabetic language--even an Indic one, where you have to account for the quadratic number of ligatures--is a huge problem, and very disappointing.

Oh, and that swipe at a fiction character's language miscount from a hundred year old play is weird. Counting languages is hard. No surprise we'd have a different count today, and there's no particular reason to think Shaw would know how to judge what's a reasonable number. Yes, all in the service of anti-colonialism, but it felt petty.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:58 PM
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Hmmmm...uh oh

Seen some great movies in the last month, been a lucky month. Ceylan's Winter Sleep is terrific, with Cappadocia in snowfall to die for, but he focuses too much on middle-aged men, and the women feel like props. Assayas Clouds of Sils Maria I liked better, with two Oscar worthy performances by Binoche and Stewart, and more interweaving meta-textual layers than a onion (Sils Maria is I think where Nietzsche grasped Eternal Recurrence, and near where the proto-fascist mountaineer movies were made. They are mentioned, and relevant). And frankly I liked an old Kieslowski movie, Bez Konca as much as the more recent stuff. Also Rane, Man Who Left His Will on Film, de Oliviera's La Lettre, and a schlock "woman's film" Shuen by Kurahara that was an amazing example of Shochiku's studio craft at its very peak. And more. (Godard's Goodbye to Language, Like Grains of Sand, a smart and sensitive gayish triangle movie)

I was going to troll a comment saying the respectable above, and then cap it off with the ridiculous ...But none impressed me quite as much as the silly but smart ironic self-referential ecchi fanservice harem dramedy How to Train a Boring Girlfriend because of the imaginative direction and camera work and the use of visual language.

And it wasn't the best anime of a excellent season.

I don't even text. I do see emoji being used on phones in anime. This week, one character said:" Omigod, they're even moving!" Animated emoji.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:27 PM
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I'm on the pro-emoticon anti-emoji bandwagon. It really annoys me when I can't write :) to lighten the end of jokey sentence without a big yellow smiley-face replacing it and making me look stupid, over-eager, stupid over-eager person.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:28 PM
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When I was in India I showed some co-workers a tweet in Hindi from a mutual acquaintance and they were surprised to see Hindi in that context at all. This was 2009, but even so.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:32 PM
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Oh god, 18 reminds me of one of the most jarring notes in Avengers 2: where they translate some symbol as from "an African dialect". Uh, language, dude. Even more so because it's apparently from Wakanda, an in-universe extremely isolated country that should damn well have its own language.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:36 PM
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Nerd.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:43 PM
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For Bob McManus: 1-10 of 173,094 animated emoji, ranked by popularity this week.

I do appreciate and learn from your posts on anime, about which I know nothing. Thanks.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:45 PM
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Call it semiotic density.

I tossed a sub-frosh intro semiotics text this week halfway thru, which I never do, cause it was wasting my time telling me that Scorcese made a movie about an Italian neighborhood. Time for Barthes.

What, precisely, is the cognitive etc differences and effects between "He haz consternation" and the sweat drop on the cheek? What is going on here?

I decided a while ago that semiotic deficit, the paucity of info given, is the key to how most prose fiction works.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:50 PM
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32: So, what does the emoji with the guy falling down and then coming towards you mean?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 2:13 PM
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I respond to like 50% of text messages* with either a thumbs up or a kissy face. Then I also have occasional long pseudo conversations with people with just strings of emojis which is awesome and hilarious and the rest of you haters are all just jealous.

*from people with phones I know can do emojis.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:22 PM
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Um, could be useful for salarymen on a Friday night? "I've been out drinking with the boss and am completely rat-arsed, but am on my way home now."


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:24 PM
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dragon, Easter Island head, hypodermic needle, monorail

From an early draft of Blok's Ночь, улица, фонарь, аптека.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:40 PM
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1: My iphone (a relatively new-at-the-time 4s) has done that ever since I bought it and installed emoji. And yeah, I rarely venture out of the 'most commonly used' menu.

15: This exists too, sort of, at least in China. Chinese messaging apps like wechat and qq let you use "stickers" - basically animated gifs that are either from curated collections of saccharine-sweet cartoon characters, or homebrewed versions which are either reaction gifs or obscene or both. When I type "Bah" into WeChat, it provides a suggestion of a watermelon segment looking angry and spitting out a seed, because apparently that sticker is called "Bah". I just realised that of course this has nothing to do with emojis, which are their own thing, but then I remembered that the Skype emojis all have names that allow you to summon them by typing (hug) or whatever. There are even some hidden rude ones, like (mooning).

I'll be on your lawn all week. Try the veal.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 12:51 AM
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💡


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 7:01 AM
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39 Balloon or black light bulb?

Really glad Witt linked the article in 18. Reminds me of how, for example, Duolingo is getting set to offer Klingon* but not Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese.

*I'm a big Star Trek fan myself but c'mon people.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 7:07 AM
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40: I've been patiently waiting for Chinese, but they're going to have to significantly change their model to get it to work. They don't handle writing systems well. They have kludges to enter accent marks found in non-English languages, but they aren't great and you should learn the right way to do it as soon as possible. But becoming fluent in typing Chinese is hard; and even if you do learn that hello is typing ni + 1 + hao + 1, that doesn't mean you're gaining real character fluency (which is maybe not the issue).

So, baby steps: Once they get Ukrainian and Russian working, they'll have a way to handle entirely non-Latin alphabets. Hebrew will show they can do abjads, and so Arabic shouldn't be any harder. I figure the next step from there in then doing Hindi or another abugida language and then think about logographic systems.

Klingon is silly, but if you can represent it in Latin, it's very little additional work to add it to the system. And if they don't do a good job, who cares?

If you were really interested in learning e.g. Chinese, you can try their English for Chinese Speakers option. It's hard.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 7:56 AM
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I've been patiently waiting for Chinese, but they're going to have to significantly change their model to get it to work.

There's like a billion of them. They're not going to switch to a sensible alphabet not matter how long you wait.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 7:58 AM
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It's more fun to miss the joke: they've tried. It might happen in the future--technology has greatly changed the Sinosphere's relationship with writing. Metrics of character retention have gotten a lot worse in recent years. But given that the revolution couldn't make it happen, it's doubtful, ubt who knows.

There's nothing inherent about using a logographic language for Chinese: the Dungan language is Sinitic--Mandarin, in fact, and even shares some intelligibility with Putonghua--and is written in Cyrillic.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 8:21 AM
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40.1: yellow (lit) light bulb.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 8:42 AM
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I use emoji ironically.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 9:32 AM
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But becoming fluent in typing Chinese is hard; and even if you do learn that hello is typing ni + 1 + hao + 1, that doesn't mean you're gaining real character fluency (which is maybe not the issue).

Isn't that just something learners will have to live with regardless of software, that typing Chinese cannot help with real fluency? I thought non-Latinate typing systems for hanzi, like assembling from constituent radicals, were generally recognized as slow and agonizing.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 10:38 AM
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Of course, you could use a non-Latinate syllabary, like bopomofo, but that wouldn't help you learn characters to any greater degree.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 10:39 AM
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I have taken to using my daughters' Net-native idiolect when communicating with them. Example posted in the flickr group.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 11:00 AM
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In texts from my kid I prefer the ones in emojis to the ones in Cyrillic or Hebrew. With emojis I have a fighting chance.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 11:02 AM
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46: There are input sources that allow you to finger-draw characters on a trackpad; this comes default on OS X. It's a little agonizing and not as fast as using Pinyin, but it's there. Either way, doing a decent job of Chinese would require more knowledge about the Input Source/Input Method than Duolingo can probably get over the web interface.

Oh, I suppose they could try writing an HTML 5 widget that would emulate finger-drawing with the mouse and provide meaningful tutoring on that. But that would be horrid.

I think the four-corners way of assembling from radicals can be very fast, but only after years and years of practice. So the only real practical options for day-to-day usage are Pinyin or Bopomofo based. Never mind the political aspects involved. I presume they'd pick Pinyin and simplified characters.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-14-15 11:50 AM
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