The word: cool “Liangshuang”
The feeling: abysmal
I had crossed my Anki deck (the flashcard algorithmic program popular with language learners and medical students) and I saw the sentence containing this word for the fifth time that day. Or was it the tenth? The descent beyond the Dunning-Kruegeresque peaks of the first six months of Intention Study touched me. Oh, that tongue thing is really tough! Naturally, I did what any good student of a language would do and started watching Twitch, and saw them… all… these glorious emotes: Kappa, FeelsBadMan, Sadge, and forsenCD.
It might sound a bit absurd, but if you know these symbols and how to spell them on sight, you have all the abilities to learn any language, even those with complex symbols such as Hanzi for Chinese or Kana and Kanji from Japanese. Real-world languages are vast and complex collections of thought, philosophy, logic, passion, and real, intense human narratives that can never compare to Twitch-speak. Yet at the same time, when we learn Twitch chat lingo so quickly, we prove to ourselves that we really are capable of learning languages. We are not, as we are so often led to believe during our school years, “just not language professionals”. The human brain is inherently hardwired for connection and language, and it all starts with …
The magic of the Broca region
Seeing these words, many of you who are familiar with the Twitch culture instantly could imagine the gray, green and transparent faces attached to them. All thanks to a piece of wrinkled brain located just a little behind your eyes. here is the Broca region, responsible for translating your abstract thoughts into language and translating the symbols, words and letters we see every day into understandable thoughts. Have you stopped at a red hexagon with STOP in white lately? Yes, this is the Broca region.
Seeing symbols, words, Chinese characters, emoticons, or any of the endless styles and variations of symbols and signs that we see throughout our lives, we translate them in our brain into ideas if we have one. idea of what they really mean. Of course, that’s the key to it all, understanding exactly what they mean. Of course, with emoticons it’s not that difficult. Kappa is the embodiment of sarcasm, and if you too are a person of culture, you will know that forsenCD has something to do vaguely with cheating.
The power of repetition and context
Next is the constant repetition and rich text in context of a Twitch chat. You might be feeling something from slight boredom to utter disregard for heavy copypasta chats, but if you’ve been around for awhile, I can guarantee you probably know why they call it Xbox 360. The rehearsal can sound boring. (consider writing multiplication charts in college) But the key is to see things over and over again over a period of time. According to the US Department of Education, it can take up to 17 exhibitions to new words in new contexts over a period of time for students to really learn. If you know a ton of emoticons with very little effort, foreign words should come to you easily, in a suitable environment as well. Effective vocabulary retention is not impossible and does not require secret techniques. You already do!
Speaking of context, even before I had BTTV (the browser plugin that allows users to view third-party emoticons) installed, I had a vague feeling that the KKona The Twitch emote was a satirization of a … certain type of American. How did I understand this? Because the chat was filled with understandable English words and the emote was a direct response to the streamer’s actions. Such scenarios are called highly understandable and contextual environments and are the dream situations for avid language learners to meet new words. Therefore, I was able to understand it quickly, without anyone having to explain it to me. To put this in perspective, linguistics experts suggest that students need to know about 98% of the words in a text to be able to enjoy it casually.