How LOL got between X and Z

Michelle Johnson, Kayla Sasser, Lucy (Chenyi) Wang, Grace Shoemaker, and Lien Joy Campbell

Figure 1. An example conversation between Gen X and Gen Z showing possible generational gap in the usage of humor markers – emojis in this case.

Even though the sad emojis in that exchange were used in a sad context, many people might laugh or find that inappropriate. Whether you are one of those people or someone likely to use emojis just like “Mom”, read on. As texting has grown to be a more popular form of regular communication, it may seem as if connecting with people has only become easier – but with ubiquity comes complexity. And if you are not among those at the vanguard of these complexities (the youth), you could be missing out. This brings us to the question: does expressing humor over text vary by generation? In this study we focused on Generation X and Generation Z’s use of emojis, emoticons, and other ways they chose to convey humor and tone in texts. In focusing on humor we were able to analyze the frequency of humor makers and their meanings in context. Based on our data, we found that there were definite differences in how the generations use and react to text language. Keep reading to learn what these key differences were and how we studied them (and maybe how to finally make that teenager in your life laugh).

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Ukraine in Transition: The Process of Reducing Russian Language Usage

Iscelle Abad, Zhuoen Li, Ira Throne, Ryan Tsai, Max Yudowitz

With the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, language in the country is changing. In response to the war, many natives have expressed a desire to switch their primary language in daily life from Russian to Ukrainian. Although it’s been a while since it was conducted, the 2001 All-Ukrainian population census estimated that roughly 29.6% of the Ukrainian Population spoke Russian as a native language, equalling roughly 14.3 million people. Since there has been no new census conducted in over 10 years, it’s hard to approximate the exact number of Russian and Ukrainian speakers today. However, a recent 2022 national poll conducted by the independent sociological research group RATING (Рейтинг) showed that, among respondents, in the last 10 years the number of native Ukrainian speakers has steadily grown from 57% in 2012 to 76% in 2022 with the percent of native Russian speakers at around 20%.

Figure 1: Map showing the distribution of languages and ethnicities in Ukraine.

Given that a fair number of the population are not completely fluent in Ukrainian, the attempt to switch over has not been easy for everyone. The adjustment of switching primary language within a community is usually a long-term process spanning generations, but given the unique circumstances, many Ukrainians are going through it at an accelerated pace within just a few months.

Since this is a turning point for Ukraine linguistically, some crucial questions are necessary. How are people going through this process? What aspects of the transition come easier to people, and what struggles are they dealing with during this transition? Are there some sort of unique transitional stages that Ukrainians are going through in the same way?

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On Language Attitudes, Heritage Language Maintenance, and Biracial Identity Formation

Karin Antablian, Leslie Cheng, Tabitha Haskins, Kaoru Kaburagi, anonymous author.

This study is an investigation of the relationship between biracial individuals and their association or dissociation with their cultural heritage. Using monoracial individuals as a control, we utilize survey methods and metalinguistic interviews to expand upon Cheng and Lee’s (2009) model, focusing particularly on how language attitudes and heritage language maintenance influence biracial identity indexation. In doing so, our purpose is twofold. First, we aim to establish what connections exist between attitudes towards heritage language learning and language maintenance. Second, we aim to better understand how language maintenance affects biracial identity. We found that while monoracial and biracial individuals both have positive perceptions of heritage language learning, these attitudes tend to be stronger among monoracial individuals. Additionally, we found that cultural identity was more turbulent among biracial individuals, but that they were more likely to perceive heritage language maintenance as a way to assert and connect with their multicultural heritage.

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