Re: The rapid … erosion of definition ability

Leonardo Boiko leoboiko at
Mon Nov 17 06:08:59 CST 2014

2014-11-17 9:10 GMT-02:00 Andreas Stötzner <as at>:
> [sign] in its generality it is just perfect. […] At least, we should (in
English) speak of Emoticons and not Emoji. […] if precise terming is tricky
I find it better to generalize

These are your opinions.  I find them to be perfectly valid (exactly as
valid as anyone else’s, mine included).  However, no single individual's
opinion has any special power about what goes into the vocabulary of a
language; rather, the lexicon is determined collectively by whatever the
community of speakers finds to be useful.  Clearly English speakers found
"sign" to be too imprecise, and as of now, they seem to prefer "emoji" to
"emoticon" (probably because "emoticon" was already in use to denote
multi-character pictographs built from non-pictographs, such as ":-)" – the
original use of the coinage).  If speakers want a word referring
specifically to these new modal pictograms, they will have one and that's

You're entitled to find linguistic borrowing to be "ridiculous"; but I'm
equally entitled to find your moral judgment to be condescending and
historically uninformed (unless you want to restrict yourself to
Anglo-Saxon words, in which case say goodbye to "generality" (< Lat.
*generalis*), "emotion" (< Fr. *émotion*), "icon" (< Greek *eikon*) etc.);
and at any rate neither of our opinions will have any effect in what words
shall the speakers adopt.
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