Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: André Szabolcs Szelp (
Date: Tue Dec 30 2008 - 18:04:30 CST

>> If you mean that it must be possible to indicate the meaning of something as an emoticon symbol, then I think we are back to the question whether such symbols, as independent characters and not a play on characters, are used.
>> Shouldn't this be quite independent of the question whether they have ASCII "fallbacks" or imitations or origins? Yet we are stuck with the confused issue of "emoticons" that are ASCII strings on one side and "independent" character on the otther.
> No, in the Unicode context, if you interpret ":)" to mean the character "smiley", then you are no longer interpreting it as two ASCII characters. For HTML to interpret > as ">" is fine, because it's a clearly defined protocol, with announcement mechanisms. For general text, the use of ":)", or worse "8)" presents an ambiguity, precisely because of the absence of clear protocol definition or announcement mechanisms.

Well, your argumentation is flawed here. Actually, interpreting :)
different than "colon-parenthesis" (e.g. as "smiley") does not imply
that you are not interpreting the text as ASCII. On the contrary. When
you interpret the substring "sh" in an English text (encoded in ASCII)
as IPA [ʃ] rather than IPA [s.h], you are still interpreting the
transmitted word "sunshine" in ASCII.


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