ED-MEDIA 2008 paper: A Stylistic Analysis of Graphic Emoticons: Can they be Candidates for a Universal Visual Language of the Future?
Abstract: This paper, describing the current popularity of graphic emoticon usage in Japanese social network services, blogs and mobile phone communication, illustrates that these graphic emoticons are now evolving into ideographic images as substitutes for words or phrases from accessory markers showing the emotional state of the writer. It will be argued that the behavior of these graphic emoticons will give us valuable insights for implementing a universal auxiliary visual language that will overcome the barrier of language differences. Possible educational applications of the future universal visual language will be also proposed.
A new trend is to use emoticons instead of words, e.g. “I am feeling :-)”, as opposed to in addition to words to add context, e.g. “I am feeling happy :-)”.
Can graphic emoticons be used/understood across cultures? Are they universal? Before thinking “no,” consider the universality of cartoons, or international symbols for traffic signs, toilets, etc. Further, Chinese characters are similar to emoticons in many ways.
Future applications of a symbol-based language — which could be easily communicated by ICTs — are for more improved communication between people of different languages. The authors will be conducting further research into this topic.
Authors: Junichi Azuma, University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences, Japan; Martin Ebner, Graz University of Technology, Austria