You Like the Facebook Reactions? – Linguists Don’t!


Few days ago, the new set of reactions was finally made available to anyone using Facebook. They seem like a nice enrichment to the (as we see it now) dull and boring like button. Of course, they are a nice option to have since they are called reactions for a reason – they express something. However, while many of you may be excited about the new feature available at your fingertips, on the other hand, the beloved linguists are not that happy about the changes.

As you know, the set of five reactions is the following: Love, Sad, Angry, Wow, and Haha. One may ask what do these words have in common, and the reality is – the don’t.

According to a liguist from the University of Edinburgh, Geoff Pullum, “These words are in radically different categories. It looks like syntax is being thrown out the window here and being replaced by grunts like animals would make.”

“The happy face is like a squeal of delight; the sad face is like a sort of ‘humph’ of displeasure; the ‘wow’ face is like a widening of the eyes and opening of the mouth; the ‘haha’ is like giggling. The emoji are all really just the equivalent of noises or gestures for directly expressing internal states. What is not being called upon here is the grammar and meaning that differentiate us humans from the other animals.” – says Mr. Pollum.


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