Graphic Emoticons as a Future Universal Symbolic Language
Title of edited book
Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility at the Crossroads. Media for All 3
Year of publication
This contribution discusses the possibility of implementing a universal, computer-mediated symbolic language that will overcome the barrier of language differences. The current state of emoticon usage in cyberspace will first be described, with special emphasis on the recent popularity of graphic emoticons especially favoured by young Japanese people. Extreme examples of the hieroglyphic use of graphic emoticons will also be discussed. It is argued that these new types of graphic emoticons will lead to the emergence of a universal symbolic language in the future, making translation tasks much easier. To support this vision of a computer-mediated universal symbolic language, a brief sketch of the psychology of vision will be provided, as well as comic book dynamics, that is, how we extract important components from a complicated story line just by seeing a single picture or a few panels of a comics segment. Some tentative syntactic and semantic rules of the universal symbolic language will be also proposed. Actual icon-like visual signs meant for disaster-related warnings will be also proposed.