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Agreed -- as a Deaf person who uses visual languages to communicate, it's allowed me to actually begin to express myself using a set of pseudo-language visual elements. Some of them roughly map over to ASL expressions; I am looking forward to when they add ASL-specific emoji, or ASL language support, or even hands in the new animoji.

That's.. actually pretty extraordinary. In my cynicism I had imagined the only possible motivation for positioning new emoji as flagship features of their iOS iterations was a blatant attempt to lure pre-teens into a long (and lucrative) journey into Apple's ecosystem. I think perhaps I should take a few steps back and absorb the idea that:

1. people communicate in many different ways and

2. these things aren't valueless just because I don't picture myself using them. And in retrospect, I only struggle to picture myself authoring one; receiving them is completely fine.

I hadn't considered this at all. Thank you for expanding my knowledge.

I'm really curious about this; thanks for adding this and iluminating so many of us that fail to consider deaf people when thinking about these things.

But I'm not sure I totally understand what Animoji does for you. Your deafness is irrelevant in the context of messaging apps, isn't it? Hearing people, when using Messages, have just writing/reading, just like you.

Is it that, being deaf, you are more used to puting extra emphasis on non-verbal communication, and thus the transition to Messages from "real life" conversation feels more limiting than for us? How is it any better than sending a short video, or may be recording a gif of your actual face? Doesn't the loss in fidelity make it frustratingly hard to express the nuances we get from facial expression?

I tend to think all of those grandiouse statements about "Opening new ways of communicating" or "Creating new connexions between people" are total bullshit. Most animoji users communicate equally well with or without them, it add's nothing except fun. And that's fine! Fun is good.

But it's really hard to put oneself on anyone else's shoes, and I'd love to know if anyone has found more value in animojis.

There's no way to say this without being insensitive, but this reminds me of a grade school joke without a punchline - "how do you write in sign-language?"

Can you help me better understand what ASL language support would look like or what that would mean to you?

I'm not deaf, but as per the GP's comment, I can immediately see animojis with hands performing sign gestures.

If you consider how ingrained and emotionally significant that expressions in your native language are, animojis with hands - which will take that emotional significance and put a cute spin on it - is going to be massive.

ASL (or any language's sign language) isn't a simple translation of gestures for words or letters; the different sign languages have their own grammars and a different "vocabulary". Think of every sign language user as being bilingual, with a sign language and a written language.

ASL is not English. It is an entirely separate visual language with different syntax, lexicon, etc. ASL speakers can communicate to each other over mobile devices using text in the same way that, say, 17th century intellectuals communicated using Latin, or late-dynasty Chinese officials communicated using Classical Chinese.

I do not know how to sign, but I do imagine that a member of the signing community would not feel truly at home in their digital life in that they cannot type the language that they "speak" and very probably think in, but must rather resort to a second auxiliary language whenever they interact with text.

Like, imagine if Apple (or Google or anyone else--this is an industry-wide issue) made it technically impossible for you communicate in anything except French. In this hypothetical world it is not a show stopping issue because you are fully proficient in French having used it in some way nearly every day of your life, and so are all the people you would want to communicate with. But it's not your mother tongue, and so you wouldn't really feel at home or fully included in the digital world, now would you? Texting your family and close friends in French when in fact all your other interactions with them are using spoken English would just be weird.

(Incidentally I do wonder if Swiss German or Scotts speakers feel similarly, and if they don't to what extent that serves as a counter point.)

>(Incidentally I do wonder if Swiss German or Scotts speakers feel similarly, and if they don't to what extent that serves as a counter point.)

I don't know about Swiss German speakers, but Scots speakers tend to be fairly comfortable in code-switching between standard written English and a transliterated form of Scots.

Scottish Twitter is as culturally distinctive as African American Twitter:


Wikipedia has a Scots language version:


I've never heard anyone call it anything other than black Twitter - what are you doing lol

Swiss-German sign language is.. interesting. It has Cantonal dialects (I wish I was joking!). I'd really prefer everyone switched to German sign-language for simplicity's sake - in the same way most Swiss-German speakers write High-German instead of dialect.

I could imagine signing emoji being pretty successful. My son is deaf, but too young to be using chat software, so it's difficult to say without asking about at his school.

I meant the Swiss German spoken language, which is not High German.

I would imagine that ASL speakers have usage patterns that they would like to express via text messaging without simply “translating” them into formal written English. That’s no different than why English speakers use emoji (“” instead of “I am happy”) or informal onomatopoeia (“uggh” instead of “I am annoyed”).

I love (sarcastically) how Hacker News has no support for emoji. What year is it?

It actually has code to handle emoji: by deleting them. You can find older posts that do contain emoji, from before they were blocked.

Yeah, I noticed that after submitting my comment, but I figured I’d leave it there for the irony.

If you're not entirely without hearing, you may be interested in knowing that the iOS 12 beta appears to have a new bit of functionality that lets EarPods act as hearing aids.

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