Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: Leo Broukhis (
Date: Sun Jan 11 2009 - 13:31:39 CST

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    On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 11:07 AM, David Starner <> wrote:
    > On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 1:03 PM, Leo Broukhis <> wrote:
    >> Then each *alleged* symbol should be considered separately, with a
    >> separate corpus of evidence of its symbolic use.
    > What a wasteful and unprecedented procedure. They're a set of symbols
    > and should be considered as such. There's plenty of opportunity as it
    > stands to object to specific characters or groups of characters, but
    > no need to fight over every character.

    I see two distinct points of view. One is "we want to encode an
    allowed subset of a set of emoji" (minus logos, minus glyph-unified
    characters - that demonstrates that emoji are not a writing system) -
    it which case the question is, if PUAs will still be needed, what's
    the qualitative difference between using them for X% (disallowed
    characters only) and Y% (everything but unified characters); the other
    is "we want to encode some symbols in current use", in which case each
    of these symbols should be subjected to individual scrutiny.

    >> Take an abecedary, where the words containing letters not yet learned
    >> or too complex to read are shown as pictures within text. These
    >> pictures are used as text in a particular environment and likely even
    >> constitute a well-defined set not unlike emoji (animals, fruits and
    >> vegetables, toys, buildings, professions...).
    > I would say that that's their main problem; they don't constitute a
    > well-defined set, that in fact if you brought to together a large
    > collection of these books and made a collection of any symbol that
    > appeared in three of them, you would find that set covered few if any
    > books.

    What if we're talking about a language with a nascent writing system
    (less than 10 y.o.) for which there are only 3 abecedaries so far?

    >> Nevertheless, it does
    >> not make the set of "abecedary symbols" eligible for encoding, because
    >> there is no attested *symbolic* use.
    > I fail to understand how a picture of a dog used systematically to
    > replace the word "dog" has any more or less symbolic value than the
    > word, particularly when the same picture is used for several types of
    > dog.

    It's a precomposed glyph for the word "dog" then. Sorry, not eligible
    for encoding.


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