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The Popularity of Emojis and Stickers

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Emojis and stickers in chat platforms are pictograms arranged in a tray from happy and positive symbols to negative, sad or angry symbols. The popularity of these ideograms on social media platforms are such that if attempted, a conversation is perfectly capable of being carried out with emojis and stickers alone without the usage of any letters. The minimum of a word or two could be used to amplify the meaning, if needed. Languages are a symbol of identity, to stand as unique nationalities among citizens all over the world or for convenience, as the Braille language and sign languages using gestures. As stickers are emojis are sign languages by extension, these could be accepted as a universal language to symbolize equality among the human race.

With its origin in Japan, emojis (translated as; image characters) developed to be very popular, specially among the youth, as a result of cultural transmission. Emojis and stickers create a relationship between linguistic signs and pictograms to produce a valid meaning. This arbitrariness, appears in Japanese words and letters, which are more of ideograms and serves the similar purpose as emojis and stickers by extension. They can refer to objects and events not present in the immediate environment, including those which can not be proved to exist. Therefore, displacement is present in the usage of emojis.

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There are exceptions where pictograms are not considered to be a language. Road signs and symbols belong to this category as these fail to meet with the necessities of a language. Properties of language such as productivity is absent in such instances because they are extremely blunt, reducing the attempts at creativity, whereas productivity is present in emojis, because for the past years the users continuously came up with new expressions and many emojis which are used as units to form a string of meaning equivalent to a sentence. Moreover, duality is absent in road signs and symbols as well because a large number of such pictogram combinations, can not create a distinction in meaning but it is evident that duality is present in emojis and stickers which come together as units creating expressions as a whole, to bring out duality.

In most instances, they are used when communicating with a specific group of people. That is, emojis are rarely used when addressing someone in a formal manner. For instance, ①a smiley emoji with a drop by its right, which one depicts as a bead of sweat, is used by many to convey, “a lightly- felt embarrassment”(depictions may differ). It would be quite disrespectful in addressing a recipient, who is used to being addressed formally but it easily deciphers “I’m sorry” for an acquaintance with whom you are comfortable in communicating. An emoji or a sticker can be used to convey slightly different meanings, having relativity upto an extent. The above mentioned emoji can be used to express that the situation is “awkward”. The productivity of emojis depend on the user as well. Depending on the usageof this method of communication, the result would prove to be a language. For example, ② a sad face emoji with a drop by its right, immediately depicts none other than a sorrowful situation, where the drop is immediately distinguished as a tear.

As mentioned above, emojis and stickers taken at their face-value fulfills what is expected of a language. It meets the necessity of every property observed in a language. Some may argue that these ideograms fail to meet the exact sensitivity as orally spoken words and even written or typed letters may, but this depends on the user and the user’s knowledge of the recipient. As creativity is the nature of humans which permits to move forward in life by subjecting the habitat, its factors and its aspects to change to suit their conditions, the usage of emojis and stickers could be expected to create a vast change in their favour.


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