To what extent does your use of new/other forms of language (eg emojis) allow you to communicate knowledge?

Charles Dickens once said “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.”1 Communication is a rather interesting topic; it is transmitted through a way of knowing, called language. There are various ways to employ language, hence, each individual can understand it as a unique approach, creating ambiguity. The preconceptions and connotations that we have are what shape our way of viewing this transmission; using shared, personal and experiential knowledge to determine what is trying to be conveyed by someone else.

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Nowadays, I use technology mostly to have conversations with my friends and family who live away. It is an easy way to say something without having to look at the receptor on a face to face scale. This entails the use of emoji’s, which works to make sure the person on the other end understands my feelings and emotions.  I am able to portray my face expression on the screen of the reader. Nonetheless, this is never reliable, because I am not sure if the individual I am texting is understanding what I am saying, they could take it as a completely different idea.


I could send a laughing face, with tears coming out, and the other person could interpret it as someone crying. With a total of 722 emoji characters2, 92%3 of online population utilizes them as a tool to communicate. Seeing this number, one might think that adding them to my texts is effective to know what the other person is saying and sensing, but it is not always this easy.  The ways of knowing needed to comprehend emoji’s, would be: reason, sense perception, emotion, intuition, imagination and sometimes even memory. The usage of almost all of the ways of knowing, make it difficult to “crack the code” of what is meant by the person on the other machine.

Likewise, abbreviations are another form of language that can be used to communicate knowledge. They are used in areas, like mathematics and English; in texting, like the use of “smth” to refer to something or “r” as are or “u” as you; to name countries therefore, used in geography, which is a way of knowledge; even in secret languages, used in secret agents, for example.


Abbreviations are not only universal, but I can create them with my friends or family. They are a kind of secret language. Reading these signs “involve familiarity with conventions of representations. They demand my human capacity for symbolic communication”4. They require a shared knowledge that conveys what I think, feel, hear or do. This also has to do with symbols that I perform with my body, also known as body language: like the peace one with my hand, nodding with my head, winking my eye, smiling, amongst others. They each mean something differently, and are generally known to have a universal meaning, yet, they can be made up between friends, like a handshake for instance. They are very small actions that I might not even notice myself doing on a daily basis, but can connote or even denote an extremely clear significance to others.


To conclude, new/other forms of language exist in a never ending list of ways. I use them very frequently, sometimes not even noticing and even giving the wrong impression. They are very helpful, but do not always transmit or show us the original message that was sent by the other end to us, the receptors. But… Are all forms of language confusing, or just the new ones?

1 BrainyQuote. (2016). Communication Quotes Page 2 – BrainyQuote. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

2  Digiday. (2016). Emojis by the numbers: A Digiday data dump – Digiday. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

3 (2016). Report: 92% of Online Consumers Use Emoji (Infographic). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

4 TOK Class, said by Camila Gallego, my class teacher

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(1) GIPHY. (2016). Emoji GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

(2) YouTube. (2016). How to speak Australian : Abbreviate Everything. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

(3) GIPHY. (2016). LA Galaxy GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].


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