A Few Media Updates

Just wanted to share a few (unrelated)  items that have captured my attention recently…

  • This surprising story about a Dean at Yale getting suspended from her job over a couple of “insensitive” Yelp reviews. Actually, I am still figuring out what I think about all of this.  (Who found these reviews?  Why were they reported?  Was suspension of employment perhaps an excessive response?)  I DEFINITELY welcome your comments as I try to make sense of this situation myself. (This story was sent to me by former student, Dr. Erhan Aslan – thanks, Erhan!)
  • super interesting podcast featuring 2 of my favorite “celebrity linguists,” Deborah Tannen and John McWhorter, talking about some of my favorite topics: intercultural communication, interruption, language & gender, and, as most of my former students will likely remember… “complementary schismogenesis”!!! (Thanks to Taylor for the link & thanks to Nathan for the photo!)
  • And I just finished reading this engaging book by Marcel Danesi.

The main points of this book can be boiled down to a few sentences.  Basically, emoji add support to a text: they primarily communicate affective (rather than referential) meaning. In other words, what emoji contribute to a message is more of an emotional nuance than actual content – that is, they help cue readers on how to interpret the main message (just like our intonation, or facial expressions, provide in F2F communication).  The bulk of the message is still realized, by and large, linguistically. One final point: the overwhelming majority of emoji are used to communicate positive feelings, which means that 🙂  is much more common in our communication than 🙁 .  That’s the book in a nutshell.  (However, as an added bonus…for anyone who’s ever wondered about what “semiotics” is all about, this book offers a very friendly and approachable introduction to the topic.)

2 thoughts on “A Few Media Updates

  1. Reading your brief review and thoughts about Danesi’s book, I thought you may enjoy this “overview” of the same book by a 10-year-old 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_edX71EmZg&t=125s Pera got super-excited when she saw my copy and as she went through the pages, she made comments and we talked about emojis. It’s rather long but she says some fun things about emojis and the book in random places during the video (e.g. “I speak fluent emoji”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *