[Ads-l] Moji (not "moji")

Benjamin Barrett mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 6 12:49:07 EDT 2016

Skype (owned by Microsoft) has just added a series of extremely short video clips (about three to four seconds) to augment their emoticons for text chatting. They are taken from sources such as films and cartoons. For example, you can send one of Miss Piggy saying, “’Tis moi,” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxprp-uGOEM.

They call these clips “Mojis” and please capitalize it because, well, because it derives from a foreign word, I guess.

The word moji has occurred on this list at least in the form of mojibake (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mojibake, nothing on the Oxford Dictionaries site). The word “moji” in Japanese simply means “glyph” (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/moji), making Skype’s usage opaque and creating a false friend.

No official complete list is available of all the Mojis but they seem to be overwhelmingly male. Skype seems aware of this problem as they have issued a set (a classification scheme) called “Power Women.” They have also issued Power Women emoticons.

A laudatory article on these Power Women glyphs (can a video be a glyph?) can be seen at http://www.bustle.com/articles/165123-skypes-power-women-mojis-emoticons-are-literally-changing-our-image-of-women. 

What the article-writer seems to not notice is that the need for a Power Women set instead of just emoticon/Moji sets that have a mix of men and women is itself an indication that Skype remains stuck in an androcentric mindset. Well, maybe it’s just that techies tend to be men and the best roles in Hollywood also tend to go to men, and so none of their committees thought about the issue. Whoops, that would be an indication that they are stuck in an androcentric mindset….

It appears also that Skype has no emoticons or Mojis to represent non-cis communities. 

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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