Thursday, January 21, 2016

Writing for the Fear

Honestly, it's been hard to talk about writing for the ear with humor in these days of the never-ending political campaign, in which words seem to be written not for our ears but for the nerve endings that stimulate emotion – like fear.

So it's ironic that the newest Word of the Year is –

Not a word, but a pictograph, an emoji described as The Face with Tears of Joy. The irony continues with the discovery that emoji derives not from emotion (see fear above) but from two Japanese words for picture and letter.

More irony: Emoji sounds similar to emoticon – think of the smiley face one gets from combining the : and the ) on the keyboard. But emoticon does in fact come from emotion and icon. Actually the similarity between emoji and emoticon is more coincidental than ironic.

Close on the heels of the Word of the Year that's not a word comes the Sherwin-Williams company's Color of the Year, alibaster.

I suppose it would fit nicely in many settings, but for a Color of the Year ... it's not very colorful.


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