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Times Literary Supplement review – how emojis are moving us away from written communications

Times Literary Supplement: “…Both Evans [The Emoji Code, Vyvyan Evans] and Danesi [Marcel Danesi, The Semiotics of Emoji] set out to explain why emoji are an important development, why it is interesting to study them, and why we can ignore naysayers who cite them as another example of the erosion of standards. For Evans they tell us something about the psychology of language, the pragmatics of communication, and the human ability to innovate and adapt. For Danesi emoji represent how eager we are to influence the emotions of others, to signal our communicative intent, and to resolve ambiguity in language….By the penultimate chapter, Wolf has built to her “greatest fear” and “highest hope”: that the deterioration of deep reading capacities will have grave consequences for present generations and the next, but that new dimensions of cognition and perception alongside the new availability of literacy and learning to those who do not currently have it will unleash a great new human potential – a “third revolution in the brain” (the first being the development of reading, the second being its recession). It is on this note that the book is turned on its head, and Wolf goes on to describe an experiment in Ethiopia: tablet devices pre-loaded with educational software were distributed among illiterate children in remote villages to allow them to learn English independently. The question was whether the children would be able to work the devices and whether they would learn to learn, having been exposed to little formal teaching and almost no English beforehand…”

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