A picture speaks a thousand words. And with over a thousand emoji pictures to represent our words, who needs to speak or write any more?! Let's take a closer look at the UK's fastest-growing language.

According to Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University, Emoji is the UK’s fastest-growing language – evolving faster than any language in history. These little electronic images started life in Japanese mobile phones in the 90s and are now hugely popular. In the UK they are becoming more popular than internet abbreviations like ‘lol’ (laughing out loud), ‘muah’ (the sound of a kiss) or 'xoxoxo' (hugs and kisses). They have inspired fashion, like the real-life dress copied from the dancing lady emoji, and are even recognised as art! In New York’s Museum of Modern Art you can now see the first set of the 176 original emojis.

Why do we love them so much?

We really seem to ‘big red heart’ emojis! But why? They allow us to personalise text and have fun as we express ourselves, make people laugh and be creative in how we use them. UK teenagers also told us they really appreciated the fact that emojis are quick and easy.

‘… they’re quick to use instead of words and show hidden meanings.’
Will, 15

‘My favourite emoji is ‘laughing face’ because it saves you putting ‘hahaha’ or ‘lol’.’
Lucia, 15

‘It’s easier for lazy people.’
Lucy, 15

‘Yeah, cuz talking’s effort.’
Katy, 15

People also really identify with their favourite emojis. The emojis we choose can reflect our personality. What does your recently used emoji board say about you? Is it full of party poppers and smileys? Or unhappy faces? In the UK, the most used emojis are ‘face with tears of joy’, ‘face blowing a kiss’ and ‘love heart’. Maybe (with emojis at least) the British are more fun and romantic than people think! You can also tell a lot about a culture from their emoji complaints. Until 2015 when the ‘cheese wedge’ arrived, British people were constantly complaining about the lack of cheese! Now, the addition of ‘bacon’ in 2016 means we’re very close to a full English breakfast.

Diversity and representation

Getting the emoji you want can be a more serious problem than not finding exactly what you had for breakfast. Emojis do not always represent the people that use them. However, after many years of public anger and campaigning, things are changing. Instead of just cartoon-yellow people and faces, we now have the option for five different skin colours. Recent updates also included opposite gender pairs, so we have ‘Mrs Father Christmas’, a smartly dressed ‘man in tuxedo’, as a partner for the bride, and a ‘dancing man’, to match the dancing lady. Soon there will be a redhead emoji, by popular demand, and a woman wearing a headscarf, after German teenager Rayouf Alhumedhi campaigned for an emoji to represent her.

Emojis for campaigns

Can emojis help to change society for the better? Did you know that the ‘eye in speech bubble’ or ‘I Am A Witness’ emoji represents speaking out about online bullying? It was created by Apple and the Ad Council for their ‘I Am A Witness’ campaign. Use it to say that someone’s comment is rude and not OK, or to show someone that you’re on their side when people are not treating them right.

Companies such as McDonalds have also tried to use our love of emojis to their advantage. In their ‘good times’ campaign they use a series of emojis on a billboard to tell a story of a frustrating day given a happy ending by a visit to McDonalds. Unfortunately for McDonalds, the blank white space after the end of the story was too tempting for British graffiti artists. Can you guess what they added? That’s right … the vomiting emoji was a popular choice!

The future of emojis

What is the future of emojis? They are already shaping social media as existing and new platforms evolve to incorporate and respond to their use. Is emoji evolving so rapidly that it will soon compete with English as a global language? Or is technology changing so fast that emojis will soon be forgotten when the next big thing comes along? It is hard to predict and even technology and language experts are divided on the subject. What do you think? Keep your eyes open for new developments!

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Discussion

Do you have a favourite emoji? Why do you like it?

Comments

Yali's picture
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Yali 24 May, 2021 - 05:56

I think emojis are cool because help to communicate singularly with other people, don't care if we talk in different languages, My favorite emoji is the clown

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Gary's picture
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Gary 24 May, 2021 - 05:43

I think emojis work very well to better convey a message when sending a text message plus they are easy to use being on all platforms

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katy13's picture
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katy13 24 May, 2021 - 05:11

I think the emojis represent our daily life, as well as being easy and fun to use. we live in a time when technology advances and emojis with it, they get better and we use more frecuently

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Dema's picture
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Dema 24 May, 2021 - 04:00

I have two favorite emojis, the cowboy emoji and the flushed face. I think more than express my feelings, emojis helps me to make my responds less serious, I mean I feel like if I respond without an emoji, the person who I'm talking to will feel like I'm mad or something.

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Chettosdebolita's picture
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Chettosdebolita 24 May, 2021 - 02:21

I like the puppy emoji becuase it is pretty, cute and the noise is very black and small.

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PharaohMv's picture
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PharaohMv 24 May, 2021 - 02:03

I don't think I have favorite emojis, but the ones I use the most are the emoji with the cute face and the emoji of the laughing face, I like it because they are simple and I like their design. In addition, it is always much easier to express a gesture with emojis.

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Eve's picture
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Eve 24 May, 2021 - 01:22

I like to use the happy face emoji because it shows my mood and it's the emoji I use the most.

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Frank's picture
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Frank 24 May, 2021 - 00:48

I think emojis are a good tool for communication between any language, and personally the emoji I use the most is the one with the face with tears and the upside down face.

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Itachi_Uchiha0's picture
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Itachi_Uchiha0 24 May, 2021 - 00:41

I don't like use emojis very often, but there are very nice. I can see emojis anywhere and my mom is using them every time. My favorite emoji is the face with a sunglasses, because i think it is really me XD

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Zacatepec's picture
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Zacatepec 24 May, 2021 - 00:34

I think emojis can help texts get a certain emotion. I think sometimes they can be used sarcastically

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Jane1's picture
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Jane1 24 May, 2021 - 00:04

I think emojis are a really fun language that everyone uses to communicate quickly and interestingly.
They are important as they express who we are and what we want to say, in a better way.

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Mary_'s picture
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Mary_ 23 May, 2021 - 22:35

I like to use emojis because I feel like I express myself much better and I feel like it's more fun.
my favorite emoji is the pink octopus

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Montana's picture
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Montana 23 May, 2021 - 20:37

My favorite emoji is a face that has a cute little face, because it expresses the way I express my mood when I see something cute.

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Greg2004's picture
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Greg2004 23 May, 2021 - 18:56

Yes, my favorite emoji is the one with the very surprised face and I use it when something really surprises me or as sarcasm when someone says something very obvious.

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Chipboo's picture
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Chipboo 23 May, 2021 - 09:38

I think they are very good and practical since you can say a lot and also each one identifies with the great variety that there is so it is easier to handle them, it helps you give context to a sentence and they look good :))

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Rod's picture
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Rod 23 May, 2021 - 03:44

I like emojis since they are very useful to make a more entertaining conversation, I do not consider having a favorite emoji, but the one I use the most is the one of a face with eyebrows, glasses and a mustache.

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Issy's picture
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Issy 23 May, 2021 - 03:38

The emojis are so beautiful and cute, that's why is a little difficult to select for me, but I think that right now my favorite emoji is the cookie, because is so cute and I love cookies, and are one of my favorites desserts.

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Zaira's picture
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Zaira 23 May, 2021 - 01:22

I think that emojis help us to express ourselves better and even teach a bit of cultural things, since, with the updates, new emojis are created such as kimono, flags, among other things. They are very funny.

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Tae's picture
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Tae 23 May, 2021 - 01:18

Yes, I have a favorite emoji, it is a sad face. I like it because to be sad is a rockstar and this emoji is very cool, this emoji defines me.

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Jane_2005's picture
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Jane_2005 22 May, 2021 - 23:00

I really like emojis because with them you can express many things without using words. My favorite is the angry cat face.

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Adr0412's picture
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Adr0412 22 May, 2021 - 22:49

I think the use of emojis affects to the social skills and possibly may be unable to communicate more deeply.

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Nyx's picture
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Nyx 22 May, 2021 - 20:53

My favorite emoji is the one that laughs because it emits more feelings than the letters, and I would like a lot if there was an emoji that cries tears of happiness to be able to say that something is too beautiful, I consider that emojis won't be forgotten because they are part of our text messages and even create more emojis for something specific.

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Marr08's picture
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Marr08 22 May, 2021 - 20:36

I think emojis are cute and they are a quick way to communicate because with them you express the way you feel or your personality. My favorite emoji is the one with the cute face.

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Katrish's picture
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Katrish 22 May, 2021 - 18:56

I like emojis a lot because they allow to express not only with words, it also allows to express feelings a lot more than using only text. Personally my favorite emoji are the shiny pink heart.

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misaoJu's picture
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misaoJu 22 May, 2021 - 15:29

Emojis are cute, I really like to use them sarcastically, although I usually only use them with people I talk a lot. The ones I really like to use are always the emojis created with keys like this.(๑•́ ₃•̀)

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Johnsons's picture
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Johnsons 22 May, 2021 - 03:51

I like to use the smiley face emoji, because it is something that cannot be missed when I send a message to my friends.
besides that they say that this emoji is already something that characterizes me since I use it for everything !!

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