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Emoji linguistics

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True language universals can be hard to find but two of the most solid are (1) languages change and (2) people are really good at adapting to what’s handy. We’ll explore the ways emoji are changing, ways they haven’t, and where to look for hot spots of innovation.

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Emoji linguistics

  1. 1. 👾🐺👻🐙 2️⃣ 0️⃣ 1️⃣ 6️⃣⃣ 🐒🎍 1️⃣ 1️⃣ 📅 0️⃣ 6️⃣ ⏰ 🐣👅🕵🕵🐲💥🕵👓
  2. 2. • Given at the first ever EmojiCon. • It’s pretty visual, but I’ve tried to give information/context in the notes fields, so you probably should read with those showing. • Unfortunately, you’re going to miss me performing a small section of Beowulf, the Old English epic. Happily, you can hear someone else do some other parts: • Lowkey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zorjJzrrvA • Whoa, not lowkey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzmmPRG4smU (skip the first 28 seconds) • You can check out other things about emoji, politics, data science and linguistics here: • Twitter: @TSchnoebelen • Website: http://www.letslanguage.org • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tylerschnoebelen Welcome to the slide-ument version of this presentation
  3. 3. What this talk is about 3 🌍🚀🌌 ♻️🔀🔃 🔧🔩🔨 🌱📈🌳
  4. 4. What this talk is about 4 🌍🚀🌌 ♻️🔀🔃 🔧🔩🔨 🌱📈🌳 (universals) (change) (adaptation) (growth)
  5. 5. Universal #1: Language changes 5
  6. 6. 6 Hwæt?
  7. 7. 7 😱⁉️
  8. 8. Sumerian (started ~3500 BC) 8
  9. 9. Most scripts start out for accounting or administration 9
  10. 10. Exclamation points don’t get popular on these til the 1970s 10
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. “The iOS 10 emoji are way too lifelike, literal, objectively interpretable, and well, way less weird.” 12
  13. 13. 13 Universal #2: People are really good at adapting the resources they have available
  14. 14. Czech Diphthongs Prague-like, can also intensify affection Or pejoration
  15. 15. Tongan si’i and si’a Different determiners express sympathy to their nouns (Hendrick, 2005)
  16. 16. Zapotec Voice quality • Falsetto: Respect to godparents, God • Whisper: Important messages • Breathy: Scolding, demanding • Creaky: Commiserating (Sicoli 2009)
  17. 17. gɪrma kowaji-k ati-e Girma ball-ACC kick-PAST "Girma kicked the ball ' gɪrma-k kowaji-k ati ʃe Girma-ACC ball-ACC kick MAL ‘Girma kicked the ball (although someone else wanted it) ' Malefactives
  18. 18. 18 🍆🍆
  19. 19. 19
  20. 20. Bunny as a reference, sparkles as a feeling 20
  21. 21. Conventions differ for even close domains 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Positive Negative Conflict Neutral Restaurants Laptops
  22. 22. • One Japanese woman who wore a microphone for two years • 13,604 usable utterances • Here we see that breathiness and pitch are controlled separately Individuals vary how they use linguistic resources by who they’re talking to
  23. 23. 23 Bank…or bakkureru 🏦
  24. 24. 24 What does Drake mean?
  25. 25. 25 • There are 1️⃣ 1️⃣ ✖️s as many 💀 when people are talking about 📱 Some quick math
  26. 26. 26
  27. 27. A quick history of emoji and #blacklivesmatter 27
  28. 28. 28 People sometimes literally see different things
  29. 29. How do innovations spread? 29
  30. 30. 30
  31. 31. People change throughout their life, but more in “adolescence” (which could just be joining a beer aficionado site well after actual adolescence) 31
  32. 32. 32
  33. 33. Imagination—of geography, of gender, of race— structure expectations, interpretations, and choices
  34. 34. 34 • Languages change: it’s inevitable and desirable • Emoji alert us to the role of technology • (And playfulness) • People adapt the linguistic resources they have • Changing meanings along the way • For their social networks • And possibly beyond • Variation doesn’t just mark a social category • It helps people REFELCT and CONSTRUCT social meaning….and potentially social change • The creation and spread of linguistic innovations involves thinking about power • Who is able to be creative? • Who works with “symbolic capital”? • Local meanings can spread • How connected are people—to what kinds of other people? Quick review
  35. 35. 35
  36. 36. 36 Thanks! 🖖🖖 Tyler Schnoebelen @TSchnoebelen http://www.letslanguage.org

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