This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Saying what you mean: a rant.

A professional writer probably feels the same way about emojis as Ingres felt about the photograph. It's a question of having spent decades getting the best you can at a skill, only for it to become instantly available to anyone.

A writer might have spent years and years of trying to acquire the skill to tell jokes or break hearts in print, or make those same hearts race with fear or excitement, and now all anyone has to do is copy in a picture of a grimacing yellow face.

Bitter? Me?

And now, to make things even worse, Prof Vyvyan Evans has published research which claims all sorts of benefits to using emojis, especially when communicating with men.

To a woman, for example, the phrase do whatever you like is quite likely to present a final opportunity to avoid a terrible quarrel. To a man it's quite likely, unfortunately, to appear to mean do whatever you like.

But if you bung an angry emoji in there:

File:Emoji u1f620.svg

then all is clear (except, of course, that the woman in this case may, at least subconsciously, be aiming at misleading the man into the terrible quarrel).

Prof Evans also tells us that emojis will help us with finding people to date, and talking about awkward subjects; and if we really do want to get a particular precise message through to people, and we're not that skilled at writing, then they well might.

The only trouble is that so often, sadly, disguising what we're saying is rather the point.

Word To Use Today: nothing. As in What's the matter? Nothing. This is a word that can mean everything, nothing, or anything in between. It comes from the Old English nathing, from nan, not one plus thing

Prof Vyvyan Evans's book is called How Smiley Faces, Love Hearts and Thumbs Up Are Changing The Way We Communicate.

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