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Annabelle Stein
Department: English
Year: Junior
Class: ENG 422


For my project, I created a collage representing the different uses of the verb “like”. The left side illustrates “like” when used in the context of something being desirable, whereas the right side illustrates “like” when used in regard to social media slang. The left side depicts the history of the word, which originated in 1200 from the German root ylike. To represent “like” as something desirable, I cut out hearts from magazines and cards. The text that overlays the corners of the piece symbolize the infinite ways “like” is used in grammar and discourse. In contrast, the right side is a more modern representation of the word as it pertains to the slang that was created as a result of social media. The like button is the dominant symbol on this side, representing the impact technology plays on our lives. The numbers, which increase in amount until it reaches “70s and beyond”, represent the number of likes we get on our posts. On this side, the text is more significant. The only words I cut out are words that apply to the modern world and technology (such as “iPhone”, “notifications”, and “Apple”), as seen in the bottom right corner.

Next, telicity plays an important role in the meaning of “like”. The traditional sense is an ongoing experience. For example, if I say “I like flowers” (which is represented through floral images), the action is continuous. There is no endpoint in sight because my appreciation for flowers is ongoing. On the other hand, the modern sense has a definite ending. If I say “I liked that post”, the action is complete. I represented the completeness of “like” in this sense through symbols representing a stopping action, such as the blue arrow pointing to the edge of the canvas and the hand coming out of the phone in a stopping gesture.

Finally, I chose to make the background blue as a tribute to the app that started this movement: Facebook. I also wanted to make my piece a collage because language is not refined and restricted. It is messy and a mixture of many things, and is often borrowed from a combination of resources, places and cultures. Language, like art, is meant to be shared and constantly changes as a result of the ever-changing world around us.