Is Emoji The Language Of The Future? (3 Minute Read)

Is Emoji The Language Of The Future? (3 Minute Read)

Posted by Paul Gibson on

Originally Emoji had to be downloaded as an app and then enabled in your language settings meaning only niche groups of people were using Emojis in their conversations. However, in recent years, and to many, Emojis seem to have popped up out of nowhere and are now everywhere! Emojis are used all around the world for many different reasons like replacing words to changing the way a sentence is read; Dominos even used the pizza emoji to allow people to order their favourite pizzas from them with a tweet. 

Almost everyone, including businesses, appear to be using Emojis, they even have their own movie! It seems there are very few people now who don’t know what an Emoji is, and whether it good or bad, future or past, tacky or cool everybody seems to have something to say on its place in our modern language. It doesn’t seem like Emojis will be leaving any time soon, but what is its place, and is it a good or bad thing?

Emoji And Hidden Meanings

Emojis have different meanings in different societies and can be anything such as innuendos, phrases and replacing words altogether. An example of this is 🙏 which is known to be used as praying, high-fives, and in Japan as a thank you. Other examples include which 🔥 is obviously fire right! But it can also be used as ‘lit’ which is a common slang word to describe something really good or hot. I think it is fair to assume anyone who sees Emojis regularly has googled the meaning of an emoji at one point to try and decipher a message.

Many negative experts are quick to use examples like these to paint the picture that human language is regressing by reversing our evolution of linguistics by using hieroglyphics and other symbol languages.   Stating that they limit the ability to add specifics within a sentence. To some, it is a real worry that emojis may eventually completely replace words and phrases and slowly take our language back to the past.

Emoji vs Hieroglyphics

Although on the face of it Emojis are like Hieroglyphics, and other pictorial language styles, to mimic Hieroglyphics it would need a clear set of rules first. Hieroglyphics tend to have multiple meanings for every word (logograms) as well as each symbol having the possibility to appear as a sound (phonograms) which is decided by a defining character (determinatives) however, for the very basics, Emojis do have many similarities.

Is There A Need For Emoji?

Although it is unlikely that Emojis will ever become its own language like hieroglyphics, it lacks the ability to create more complex sentences, I would argue it has a place.

Humans always opt for efficiency in any task.  Language is time-consuming and digital communication prominently via text messages in recent times have limited the ability of the users to convey emotions or context in a message.  Using capitals and exclamation marks could be one person’s excitement but also one person’s anger.  We have constantly adapted our language when we face complications to make it easier to understand. When printing first came about to type the exclamation character (!) on a typewriter, a writer would first have to put a period then go back and put an apostrophe above it. When the internet first began to be used, to help avoid arguments on forums it was decided that a simple smiley ‘ :-) ’ would be added to the end of posts to avoid causing arguments with jokes or sarcasm which couldn’t be portrayed over the internet.

Following these, I believe that the use of Emojis is another microevolution of our language as conversations via text are becoming more and more popular. Talking face to face allows things like tone of voice, body language, and gesture to help the person you’re talking to know the context of what you are saying, Emojis help this within text by adding this extra context, such as using a face to show that you are flirting, being sarcastic or to express emotion.

Is Emoji The Language Of The Future?

As mentioned above, there are limitations to any text-based conversations which lack the micro-cues of tone, body language, and gesture that all give context to the conversation, without these the meaning of the message can be misinterpreted. Emojis, for now, have filled this need for a more in-depth communication with instant messaging (IM) platforms and more and more people choosing to communicate this way.  Whether you think that's 💩 or not!

While I don’t believe Emoji will ever become a whole language of its own, it’s not going anywhere soon, so if you want to be able to communicate effectively via IM platforms, with your peers, your children, or simply don’t want to be left wondering ‘what does that mean?’ I would suggest you start incorporating Emoji into your messaging.

What is your favourite emoji?

Many thanks for 📖 I think hope you all 😍 this article!

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