Episode 47 – Emoji (🖼️✍️)

Today we are looking at the origins and use of emoji, those little symbols that appear
in text messages, emails and other electronic communications.

An emoji is a pictogram, logogram, ideogram or smiley used in electronic messages and web pages. Emoji are used to fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from typed conversations. They include facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather and animals [source].

The word emoji comes from the Japanese word 絵文字 (emoji), which is also written えもじ or エモジ, and means emoji, pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram, or literally “picture writing” [source].

Emoji first appeared in 1997 on a Japanese mobile phone made by J-Phone called the SkyWalker DP-211SW, which included 90 black and white emoji. It didn’t sell well and the emoji were rarely used.

A set of 176 colour emoji were created in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita (栗田穣崇), who was inspired by manga (漫画) comics, which use symbols known as manpu (漫符) to represent emotions, actions, etc. They appeared on the i-mode pager developed by NTT DoCoMo. The emoji became popular in Japan and other companies starting add similar symbols to their mobile systems.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Unicode Consortium and other standarization bodies in the USA, Europe and Japan discussed and eventually agreed on a set of 722 emoji. These were included in the version 6.0 of Unicode, which was released in 2010. More emoji have been added since then, and they have become popular worldwide.

In 2014 the founder of Emojipedia, Jeremy Bruge, declared 17th July as World Emoji Day [source].

In 2015 the face with tears of joy emoji 😂was named Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionaries [source].

There have been several musicals based on emoji in Los Angeles and New York, and The Emoji Movie was released in 2017 [source]..

According to a 2017 study at the University of Michigan that analysed emoji use in over 1.2 billion messages, the most widely used emoji are the face with tears of joy (😂), the red heart (❤️) and the smiling face with heart eyes (😍). People in Australia, France and Czechia are more likely to use happy emoji, while these in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina prefer more negative emoji.

The emojitracker site shows realtime emoji use on Twitter. As I’m writing this, the face with tears of joy (😂) appears in the top spot, followed by the red heart (❤️), the loudly crying face (😭), the smiling face with heart eyes (😍), and the recycling symbol (♻️).

The appearance of emoji vary between different operating systems, and the way they’re interpreted can vary from person to person. Some have developed particular meanings in specific contexts or places. Some are culturally specific, such as the white flower emoji (💮), which is used by teachers in Japan when their students have done well. It is also used to indicate love, happiness and beauty on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. If you include emoji in a message, the person or people receiving it might not get the same meaning from them as you intended.

The novel Moby Dick has been ‘translated’ into emoji to become Emoji Dick or 🐳 (spouting whale), and a few other stories have been written in emoji. Whether readers understand them or not is another matter. Judging by the comments on one of them, most don’t. [source].

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Omniglot News (19/09/21)

There is a new writing system on Omniglot this week: The Global Alphabet, which was devised in 1944 by Robert Latham Owen as an alternative way to write English and other languages.

There’s a new adapted script: Türk Uygur Alfabesi, which is a way to write Turkish using the Uyghur version of the Arabic alphabet devised by Muhammad Shakeel.

There are three new languages on Omniglot this week:

  • Maguindanao (Magindanawn), a Central Philippine language spoken mainly in Maguindanao province in the south of Mindanao island in the Philippines.
  • Tonsawang (Toundanow), a Minahasan language spoken in the Southeast Minahasa Tenggara regency in North Sulawesi province of Indonesia.
  • Rinconada Bikol, a Central Philippine language spoken in the Bicol region in the southeast of Luzon in the Philippines.

There are Omniglot blog posts about being Quobbled and Kvetching, as well as the usual language quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Wayuu (Wayuunaiki), an Arawakan language spoken in northwestern Venezuela and northeastern Colombia.

The Celtiadur post this week is about words for battle and related things in Celtic languages.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks into the origins of the word bucket. Versions can be found on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube, which includes some extras bits.

On Friday afternoon I wrote a new tune called Friday Afternoon or Prynhawn Dydd Gwener, which goes something like this:

Another version is available on Tiktok and Instagram

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Episode 46 – Surnames

The word surname, as in a family name, comes from the Late Latin supernōmen/suprānōmen (surname), from super- (over, above, beyond) and nōmen (name) [source].

The most common surnames in England are: Smith, Jones, Taylor, Brown, Williams, Wilson, Johnson, Davies, Robinson and Wright [source].

Types of surname:

  • Occupational; Smith, Taylor, Wright
  • Patronimics; Jones, Williams, Wilson, Johnson, Davies, Robinson
  • Based on appearance: Brown

Smith is the most common surname in the English-speaking world, as are equivalents in many other languages, including Schmidt in German, Ferraro / Ferrari in Italian, Herrero in Spanish, Kovač in Serbian, Croatian, Slovak and Slovenian, and Mac Gabhann (McGowan) in Irish. It comes from the Old English word smitan (to smite, strike).

A smith is someone who works with metal, and has been used as an occupational surname since Anglo-Saxon times. There are various kinds of smith, and their names are or were used as surnames, including Blacksmith (works mainly with iron); Brownsmith and Redsmith (work with copper); Goldsmith (works mainly with gold); Shoesmith (makes horseshoes); Sixsmith (makes scythes and sickles – a version of Scythesmith or Sicklesmith), and Whitesmith (works with tin) [source].

The surname Taylor came to Britian with the Normans, and was first used in 1182. It comes from the Old French word tailleur (cutter). It is also common in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA [source].

The surname Wright comes from the Old English word wryhta/wyrhta (worker, shaper of wood). It is also common in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. There are quite a few surname that include wright, such as: Arkwright (a maker of wooden chests), Boatwright (a maker of boats), Cartwright (a maker of carts), Plowright (a maker of ploughs), Wainwright (a maker of wagons) [source].

Other occupational surnames include: Faulkner / Falconer (falcon trainer), Fletcher (arrow maker), Hayward (hedge warden), Parker (keeper of the park) and Walker (a fuller of cloth) [source].

Jones is the most common surname is Wales, and is also common in England and the USA. It’s based on Welsh patronimics meaning “son of John”, such as Mab Ioan or ap Siôn. These were commonly used until the mid 16th century, when Welsh people started using surnames, and many Welsh names were Anglicised, as all official documents had to be in English. Davies and Williams have similar origins [source]. More on Welsh surnames.

The surname Brown was originally a nickname for someone with brown hair or clothing. It’s common in England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and the USA. It was first used in England in 1066 in the form of Brun [source].

Other colour-based surnames include Black (dark-haired, or short for blacksmith), White (possibly referred to pale complexioned Vikings), Green (one who lives by the village green or is from a place called Green), Blue (someone with blue eyes / blue clothes), Red (red haired, ruddy complexion), Orange (associated with the Dutch House of Orange) and Pink (nickname for a bright, chirpy person) [source].

Other sourses
https://www.behindthename.com/name/geoffrey
https://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Ager
https://www.familyeducation.com/baby-names/name-meaning/ager


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Omniglot News (01/08/21)

This week’s new languages are: Juang, Ye’kuana and Sandawe.

  • Juang (ଜୁଆଙ୍) – a Munda language spoken in Odisha state in eastern India.
  • Ye’kuana – a Cariban language spoken mainly in southern Venzuela, and also in northwest Brazil
  • Sandawe (Sàndàwé kì’ìng) – a language isolate spoken in the Dodoma Region of central Tanzania.

There’s a new constructed script Thai-ResPriv, an alternative way to write Thai devised by Jay and Pailin Strong.

This week’s Omniglot blog posts were about The Pull of Pandas, and the usual language quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Chulym (ӧс тили), a Siberian Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Khakassia in the south of the Russian Federation.

This week’s Celtiadur post was about kitchens and related words.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks at the origins of the word distract.

I finally made a new episode of the Radio Omniglot podcast this week about Japanese, and while I was doing that I got a bit distracted and made improvements to the Japanese language page on Omniglot.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

Episode 45 – Japanese (日本語)

In this episode I talk about Japanese, giving an overview of the history of the language, its vocabulary and grammar, and how and why I learnt it.

日本語 (nihongo/nippongo) = Japanese

  • 日 (nichi, jitsu, hi, bi, ka) = day, sun, Japan, counter for days. E.g. 日曜日 (nichiyōbi – Sunday), 日々 (hibi / nichinichi – daily), 日陰 (hikage – shade, shadow, sunlight), 日外 (jitsugai – once, some time ago)
  • 本 (moto, hon) = origin, source, base, foundation, root, cause, ingredient, material; book, volume, script; counter for long cylindrical things. e.g. 本木 (motoki – original stock
  • 語 (go) = word, language, speech
  • 語る (kataru) = to talk about, speak of, tell, narate, recite, chant, indicate, show
  • 日本 (nihon/nippon) = Japan (“sun’s origin”) – nippon is used in official uses, such as on banknotes and stamps, while nihon is used in everyday speech.

Japan used to be called 倭 (wa) or 倭國 (wakoku) in Chinese – a name first used in the 3rd century AD. 倭 means “dwarf” or “submissive”. Later the Japanese changed the character 倭 to 和 (peaceful, harmonious) and combined it with 大 (big, great) to form 大和 (yamato) or “Great Wa”, which possibly originally referred to a place in Japan – 山戸 (yamato) or “Mountain Gate”.

絵文字 (emoji) = pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram. Also written 絵もじ or エモジ.

  • 絵 (e, kai) = picture, drawing, painting
  • 文 (fumi, aya, bun, mon) = sentence, text, letter
  • 字 (aze, azana, na, ji) = character, letter, written text

More information about Japanese
https://www.omniglot.com/writing/japanese.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Japan
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Japanese_terms_derived_from_Portuguese
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Japanese_terms_derived_from_Dutch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sound_symbolism
https://www.fluentu.com/blog/japanese/interesting-facts-about-japanese-language/

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

幻想的の曲 (gensō-teki no kyoku) – a sort-of Japanese-sounding improvisation played by me on the tenor and descant recorders.

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Episode 44 – Emoticons

In this episode I talk about emoticons or “pictorial representation of a facial expression using punctuation or other keyboard characters”. Emoticon is short for “emotion icon” and first appeared in 1994 [source].

Earlier sightings of possible emoticons in the wild include a possibly smiley face in 1648 in To Fortune, a poem by Robert Herrick, an English poet, that appears in The Hesperides & Noble Numbers, a collection of his poems. This appears in only one of the online editions of his work though:

Tumble me down, and I will sit / Upon my ruins, (smiling yet:)

In a transcription of a speech by Abraham Lincoln published in The New York Times on 7th August 1862, a possible wink emoticon appears: (applause and laughter ;), although it is debated whether this was an emoticon or just punctuation.

In 1881 the satirical magazine Puck published examples of typographical art using puncutation marks to express joy, melancholy, indifference or astonishment.

Examples of early emoticons by Scott Fahlman

In 1912 Ambrose Bierce, an American writer and journalist, suggested uses a bracket ‿ to represent a smile, and called it the snigger point or note of cachination [kakɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n] (loud, convulsive laughter).

Other writers proposed ways to use punctuation marks to represent faces, including Alan Gregg, who wrote in a 1936 article in the Harvard Lampoon that (-) could represent a smile, (—) a laughing smile, (#) a frown and (*) a wink.

First smiley emoticons created by Scott Fahlman, Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute and Computer Science Department, in 19th September 1982:

Examples of early emoticons by Scott Fahlman

In Japan, for example, a type of emoticon known as kaomoji (顔文字) or ‘face characters’ developed in the 1980s combining punctuation marks and Japanese katakana glyphs to make horizontal faces, such ass (*_*), (^.^), {^_^} (T_T) & (^ム^).

In Korean combinations of hangeul letters (jamo) and punctuation marks are used: ㅇㅅㅇ, ㅇㅂㅇ, ㅇㅁㅇ, ^오^.

More information about punctuation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon
http://scihi.org/scott-fahlman-emoticons/

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

The Whirlwind / Y Troellwynt

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM, podtail and or via this RSS feed.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Episode 43 – Punctuation

In this episode I talk about punctuation, focusing particularly on the history and development of punctuation, and some of the people involved.

Here is Victor Borge demonstrating his Phonetic Punctuation:

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

Frolicing Ferrets / Ffuredau sy’n Prancio

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM, podtail and or via this RSS feed.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 6 – Bread

On today’s adventure we are looking at the origins of the word bread, which comes from the Middle English word bre(e)d [brɛːd] (bread, pastry, food, nourishment), from the Old English brēad [bræ͜ɑːd] (bit, piece, morsel, crumb, bread). from the Proto-Germanic *braudą [ˈbrɑu̯.ðɑ̃] (fragment, piece, bread), from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰrew(h₁-) (to boil, seethe) and Proto-Indo-European *bʰera- (to cut, scratch, split, rub) [source].

bread

A more common Old English word for bread, and loaf, was hlāf [xlɑːf], which became loaf in modern English. The word lord is related as it comes from hlāfweard/hlāford [ˈxlɑːfˌwæ͜ɑrd/ˈl̥ɑː.vorˠd] (“bread guard”), as is the word lady, which comes from hlæfdige [ˈl̥æːvˌdiː.je] (“bread kneader”) [source].

Sources: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bread#English
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/loaf#English
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/brew#English

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog, and I wrote about Celitc words for bread on Celtiadur this week.

Adventures in Etymology 5 – Music

Today we are looking at the origins of the word music, which is something that is quite important to me as I like to sing, play various musical instruments, and to write songs and tunes.

Music comes from the Middle English word musyke [ˈmiu̯ziːk], which was borrowed from the Anglo-Norman musik/musike, which came from the Old French musique [myˈzikə], from the Latin mūsica [ˈmuː.si.ka].

This was borrowed from the Ancient Greek μουσική (mousikḗ) [moː.si.kɛ̌ː], which means ‘music, poetry or art’, and comes from Μοῦσα (Moûs – Muse), inspirational Ancient Greek goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. Of uncertain origin, possibly from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- (to think).

Other words from the same Greek root include Muse, museum and mosaic.

In Old English the word for music (and also joy, frenzy and ecstasy) was drēam [dræ͜ɑːm], from the Proto-West Germanic *draum (dream), from the Proto-Germanic *draumaz [ˈdrɑu̯.mɑz] (dream), from the Proto-Indo-European *dʰrewgʰ- (to deceive, injure, damage). The word dream comes from the same root.

Sources: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/music
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muses
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euterpe

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly? – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Here’s my latest song – Distraction – I was planning to write a song about owls, but got distracted and wrote this instead:

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 4 – April

As we are in the month of April, I thought I’d look at the origins of that word.

Spring blossom / Blodau'r Gwanyn

April comes from the Middle English apprile, which was originally aueril, from the Old French avrill, but was re-Latinised to make it like the Latin word Aprīlis (of the month of the goddess Venus), which possibly came from the Etruscan 𐌀𐌐𐌓𐌖 (apru), from the Ancient Greek Ἀφροδίτη (Aphrodítē), the goddess of love and beauty [source].

The originally Old English word for April was ēastermōnaþ, or “Eastermonth”, named after the goddess Ēastre, whose name is related to a Proto-Indo-European word for dawn and east (*h₂ews-). The word Eastermonth also exists in modern English, but is only used in poetry [source].

Words for April, and other months, in many languages.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly​ – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Here’s a Spring-related tune I wrote: Spring at Last / Gwanwyn o’r Diwedd

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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