发布者: 五毒 | 发布时间: 2021-10-12 01:39| 查看数: 59| 评论数: 0|


You use them to take the edge off2) a joke. Lovebirds use them to playfully flirt. Sometimes you need more than just words, and nothing else but a wink will do. They’re emoticons, and after 30 years, they’re still changing the way we communicate—even more than you think. When you want to share straightforward ideas, simple punctuations do the job. When you want to subtly ask a favor or send a coy3) quip4), you need emoticons, or emotional icons, to add nuance to your words. The smiley5) and its descendants are woven into the fabric of our culture—and changing the way we work and play.


The Emoticon Through History


Many consider Scott Elliott Fahlman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, the inventor of the modern-day emoticon. On September 19, 1982, he sent an e-mail to students, asking them to use symbols to show their intended tone.


“I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) Read it sideways,” he said, adding to use “:-(” to show more serious messages. But that symbol quickly evolved to mean displeasure, frustration or anger.


The impulse to show emotional intent with a simple symbol, however, dates back even further. In 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, foreshadowed the modern symbol. When asked to rank himself among writers, he said, “I often think there should exist a special typographical6) sign for a smile—some sort of concave7) mark, a supine8) round bracket, which I would now like to trace in reply to your question.”


Abraham Lincoln may have even used it, back in one of his speeches from 1862. The New York Times reported on a sideways “winky face” after the word “laughter” typed into his speech. This sparked a debate on whether the smiley was a grammatical notation from the time, an early emoticon attempt or simply a typo9). He probably tried to write “==|;o)>.”


In some ways, we all want to say more with fewer words. Ancient Greek playwrights used the chorus to show the audience the characters’ hidden emotional states. That evolved into the theatrical “aside”—a comment or speech made to viewers, who understands the often witty or sarcastic remarks aren’t heard by other characters in the play. The aside, like the emoticon, gives you emotional insight, so you can better relate to the person speaking.


The emotion-revealing aside took hold10), and luminaries11) from Shakespeare to O’Neill12) embraced them, as do artists today. Look at The Office or Modern Family—characters step away from the action and give you a wry13) observation.


Yup, that’s the same Shakespeare technique.


Spicing Up the Workplace


Emoticons, especially in work-related e-mails, can add a spark to romances. Nearly half of women and over half of men who date a co-worker say their romance started with an emoticon in an e-mail or text, according to a Whatsyourprice.com survey. That’s not surprising, since 70 percent of women and 90 percent of men say receiving a winky face indicates a chance for romance or a first date.

使用表情符号,特别是在工作邮件中使用表情符号,可以增加浪漫的火花。Whatsyourprice.com (译注:一家婚恋网站)的调查结果显示,在与同事约会过的受访者中,有接近一半的女性和超过一半的男性称两人之间的浪漫情愫最初来源于电子邮件或短信中使用的表情符号。这并不令人惊讶,因为70%的女性和90%的男性都认为如果收到对方发送的眨眼笑脸,就表明有机会与之发展恋情或进行初次约会。

But more and more, people who grew up in the digital age are changing the workplace, and they bring habits like regular use of emoticons. So, if you light-heartedly punctuate e-mails with emoticons, you may want to think again.


The Next Generation of Emoticons


Emoticons aren’t without controversy, especially as they’ve evolved. “This destroys the whimsical14) element of the original,” Professor Fahlman said, speaking to how complicated emoticons have become with color and animation. Likewise, artist and storyteller Rives, called the “first 2.0 poet,” uses emoticons to bring words to life, but he embraces the old-school, symbols-only emoticon, fusing bare-bones15) symbols with wit and creativity.


Purists value keyboard-only emoticons, while younger generations embrace an advanced set of icons—the emoji. Originating in Japan, the emoji is a moving animation of bright images and colors used to express ideas. In addition to the humble smiley, emoji represent things such as weather, vehicles, food and drink, and even animals and plants. They’re emoticons on steroids16).


Thanks to emoji, the subtlety of first-generation emoticons could be lost on younger generations. Teens and tweens17) who use apps like Instagram, which rely more heavily on pictures than text, are often emoji fanatics. Many download apps containing hundreds of emoji to capture exactly what they want to express, but can’t say.

由于emoji的使用,年轻一代可能无法再领会第一代表情符号中所蕴含的微妙情感了。青少年以及“吞世代”通常是emoji的狂热追随者,他们使用Instagram (译注:一款图片分享应用程序)这类应用程序,这些程序很大程度上依赖于图片而非文字。很多人会下载带有成百上千个emoji的应用程序,以此来准确捕捉他们想要表达却不可名状的感情。

But there’s a drawback to all that convenience. While emoji can express complex ideas, researchers say they can also stifle18) the development of emotional intelligence. Teens and tweens need face-to-face interaction—good ole’ talking—to develop skills that are crucial to future success.


How Emoticons Betray Us


When you want a fun way to flesh out19) short chunks of writing in e-mails or texts, emoticons are effective. Adding a smiley saves you time. It’s quick and easy—one symbol can replace 15 to 20 words of explanation. But they can also be used against us, and a Facebook project hints that convenience has a cost, at least on social media.


Facebook is testing a status box that lets you share with visuals. You see a drop-down menu of activity options, so if you say you’re feeling sad or ecstatic20), a corresponding smiley pops up, and if you say you’re reading or watching TV, a book or eyeglasses pop up. That feature lets you give a visual representation of your day—but it lets advertisers target you more easily.


Emotions are at the heart of advertising, and emoticons let them find you faster. Too many sad emoticons, for example, may one day bring up ads for prescription depression medication.


Beyond Emoji


Just as fast as the emoji arrived, the evolution is on the horizon—icons you can personalize. The app “Talking Emoji Friends,” for instance, lets you record funny messages in high-pitched voices, paired with, of course, animated emoticons. Fantastic. Now your friends can send you their own brand of annoying icons. ==|;o)>

Emoji问世之后,表情符号的新发展很快又初露端倪——自定义表情符号出现。例如,运用一款名为“Talking Emoji Friends”的应用程序,你可以用尖细的声音来录制有趣的信息,当然要配上动态表情符号。好极了,现在你的朋友可以把他们自制的讨厌表情符号发送给你了。==|;o)>

By Margaret Rock 译 / Fiona Cai

1. emoticon [ɪˈməʊtɪkɒn] n. [计]表情符号

2. take the edge off:使钝;减弱

3. coy [kɔɪ] adj. 腼腆的,羞怯的

4. quip [kwɪp] n. 俏皮话,妙语

5. smiley [ˈsmaɪli] n. [计]笑脸符

6. typographical [ˌtaɪpəˈɡræfɪk(ə)l] adj. 排字上的,印刷上的

7. concave [ˈkɒnkeɪv; kɒnˈkeɪv] adj. 凹的,凹面的

8. supine [ˈsuːpaɪn] adj. 仰卧的,面朝上的

9. typo [ˈtaɪpəʊ] n. 排印错误,打字错误

10. take hold:确立;固定下来

11. luminary [ˈluːmɪnəri] n. 杰出人物,泰斗

12. O’Neill:即尤金·奥尼尔(Eugene O’Neill, 1888~1953),美国著名剧作家,美国民族戏剧的奠基人,主要作品有《天边外》(Beyond the Horizon)、《啊,荒野》(Ah, Wilderness)、《卖冰的人来了》(The Iceman Cometh)等。奥尼尔一生获得过四次普利策奖,并于1936年获得诺贝尔文学奖。

13. wry [raɪ] adj. 富于幽默感的;讽刺的

14. whimsical [ˈwɪmzɪk(ə)l] adj. 异想天开的;心血来潮的

15. bare-bones [ˈbeə(r)ˈbəʊnz] adj. 少得不能再少的

16. steroid [ˈstɪərɔɪd] n. [生化]类固醇(激素)

17. tween [twiːn] n. 通常指10~12岁的人,即介于儿童和青少年之间的人,可称为“吞世代”。

18. stifle [ˈstaɪf(ə)l] vt. 压制

19. flesh out:充实……的内容;赋予……以真实感

20. ecstatic [ɪkˈstætɪk] adj. 狂喜的


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