I dont know why I find them so fascinating exactly, but I do have some ideas. For example, its interesting how using a picture of something can sometimes make your communication more cryptic, not because it isnt obvious what youre talking about (though, sometimes, it certainly is) but because your brain is so conditioned to expect letters arranged to represent an abstract concept in the form of a written word, that an actual picture of the thing youre talking about can sort of throw you off. Unless youre getting used to it, which I think Chase must be, I believe to his chagrin--Ive been challenging myself to communicate exclusively in emoji whenever possible. On the phone, of course. I only wish there were more of them; the alphabet doesnt always include what I need it to. For example, while perfectly suited to our largely ramen-based existence, I find that the food icons lack various western items that would be useful at times. Like, a sandwich that isnt a cheeseburger, for example. And the other night, when I was trying to text about GOT, I discovered that there isnt even an emoji for a Lion--though all the animals from Chinese astrology are represented. And speaking of east vs west, I wonder a lot about whether emoji read differently in their native Japan; that is to say, do they blend more seamlessly into an (originally) character-based written language? Because the jump from
is visually pretty major, but I wonder if its at all different when the written expression of Rabbit is, fundamentally, a picture of a rabbit. Do you know what Im talking about?
On a related note, lets talk about this article I recently read on The Chronicles language blog, Lingua Franca, about how the word 'Slash' has fairly recently entered the slang vocabulary of the youth of America. The article doesnt explicitly state this as an American phenomenon, I just assume people in England arent using 'stroke' in the same way. At least I never heard them say it. But maybe Im wrong? Anyway, Im sure that you, dear-probably-american-reader, are somewhat familiar with its usage (and if not, the article includes various examples provided by the authors students). But Im bringing it up in conjunction to my emoji discussion because its kind of exactly the opposite: in one case, symbols are being used to communicate not only nouns, which would be fairly straight forward, but also actions and concepts--like the snowman, meaning 'its cool' slash 'Im cool with that'; in the other case, a punctuation mark (ie, a symbol) with a formerly narrow application is now being spelled out as a word, even in text messages, where youd expect the symbol itself would be more convenient--obviously, because the word 'slash' has gained a richer connotation, and performs more elaborate conjunctive functions, than the slash symbol is able to express.
Id also be interested to read more about the putting-hyphens-between-every-word-in-a-sentence-to-somehow-make-it-seem-like-one-word phenomenon, but Im not entirely sure it qualifies as slang? Any thoughts? Isnt it fascinating?!
ps, if youre really in to emoji, consider reading Emoji Dick, an emoji translation of Moby Dick recently acquired by the library of congress--so you know its legitimate!