Anthropology of language and communication | Anthropology | University of Maryland University College

 

The anthropologist Margaret Mead suggested that there should be an international writing system so that people of different cultures and languages could communicate. For example, most of the Western world uses Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4) – even though they are called different things in different languages (e.g. one, uno, un, ein).

In today’s world, can we think of emojis in a similar way? Can we use emojis to communicate a message to those who don’t speak our language or come from a different culture?

For this discussion you will create a two sentence message using emojis.

Go to the website https://emojikeyboard.io/

Create a two-sentence message using any of the emojis available. Along the bottom of the page there are many different categories of emojis to choose from. Once you complete your message on the website, you should then cut and paste it in the discussion board as your initial response. Please don’t write anything else in the discussion that may help your classmates translate your message.

For your first reply to a classmate – select a classmate’s post that has not already had a reply. See if you can translate their emoji message. Please discuss why you translated it the way you did using examples of the symbols they posted. How do you think your culture (or subculture) affected the way you translated the message?  

For your second response – reply back to a person who translated your message. Let them know how close they came to your original message. Discuss what may have gotten lost in translation and why. For example, did they take a symbol literally, when it really has another more common figurative meaning? Using the learning resources this week, what are the cultural reasons that they may have either gotten or missed your message? Discuss how this exercise relates to the issue of language and culture? How do you think culture affects how people may translate symbols, or other types of messages?

**For this discussion, the rubric will be switched. Your replies to classmates will be graded as your initial post since that is where you will be writing most of your discussion this week. Your emoji message will be graded as a reply to a classmate in the rubric.

Provide your initial post by 11:59 pm on Sunday. Your initial post should be at least 200 words in length, excluding the discussion prompt and the references. Please use in-text APA citations within your post as well as full APA references at the end of your post.

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