Emojis: Bridge Between Emotional Gap or Misleading the Language?
More than 3600 emojis range from the most useful ones with faces expressing emotions to some random ones like a blue slide and an empty jar. Similarly, emojis can be used randomly or used to replace specific languages. Texting, just looking at a few black letters on a small screen, does not reflect any tone without any outside context. A simple line “sure” can only mean confirmation. However, adding a heart emoji or smiling face emoji after can express a sense of positivity; vice versa, adding an ironic emoji after can also provoke specific emotions.
If, even in real life, certain tones or lines can be interpreted differently by the various points of view, how can an abstract emoji deliver directly the same message as the messenger? An argument also raised within linguistics regarding the changes emojis bring to language: Do emojis bring a positive impact or negative impact to texting? Is it replacing language itself?
A survey was conducted on a group of Stevenson students regarding the usage of emojis. Surprisingly, all students find emojis bring a positive impact to text, and most students enjoy the benefit of using emojis in the text. The most used emojis students choose range widely from happy faces to odd ones like finger hearts, clapping hands, and black exclamation marks. The top three most common are the loudly crying face, the beaming face with smiling eyes, and the skull.
Rather than the negative impact of confusion and the possibility of replacing language that some linguistics finds, students who use emojis believe that adding emojis strengthens their plain language when texting: “I use [emojis] when I want to get my point full across” says Lucy Aiello. Zoey Jiang expresses, “They express my feelings better than words do. I use them when the context is not formal or serious.”
Additionally, students also find emojis bringing other positive impacts as they “lighten things up and provide emotional context to texts,” mentioned Kaite Partridge, and “[allows] receiver can feel the amount of enthusiasm/care you're putting into the conversation, allowing it to last longer and be more fun” says Quincy Qu. Though some students do agree that emojis can deliver negative tones, they can be controlled as “it depends who you are and what kind of emoji you use,” says Elisa Wang.
The development of various emojis allows users to explore and exert their creativity. Emojis and the art of the language do not interfere with each other as much as linguistics predicts, according to the responses from the younger generation. Many also look forward to future emojis: Zoey Jiang expresses, “I think clothes hangers should be created next, and more animals & food emojis should be added.”