A woman holding a phone with a smiling emoji on the screen

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.


Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises to check your understanding. 

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!


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

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Submitted by strawberry123_ on Sat, 07/29/2023 - 10:52

I use emojis quit often, I like them, because they help to express my emotions fast. I use a lot of them and it`s difficult to say, which is my favourite... But I like funny emojis, which are smiling or laughing, and hearts

Submitted by Lalalu on Tue, 04/12/2022 - 20:20

I like to use emojis because I express what I can't in writing and it's a lot of fun to use them. My favorite emoji is the white heart because it represents peace, luck and pure love.

Submitted by youngluismi on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 08:49

I think emojis are good if your intention is to complement your message, but if you prefer to stay neutral, I would not recommend it.

Submitted by Urbina on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 04:19

Emojis for me are a faster way to write the way you feel and can be fun, my favorite emoji is stars because they bring me peace.

Submitted by Yanchi on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 03:56

Well, I don't use emojis and I don't like use them but the information is interesting
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Submitted by YutaOkkotsu on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 03:46

My favorite emoji is the thumbs up because it can be used in a good situation or to express positive answers.

Submitted by LGS on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 03:31

My favorite emoji is the three gold stars and I like it because it is simple, my messages look complete and I use it for almost everything

Submitted by AdomJoshuaaa on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 02:57

my favorite emoji is this ✌, peace and love emoji, because i think is a universal emoji and u Can use in differets situations

Submitted by Juliette_Mary on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 02:10

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.

Submitted by Katy on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 01:48

I find the above information very interesting as I was able to learn something new, however I use emojis on rare occasions just to create a fun way to express myself to others.

Submitted by Patricio on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 00:17

Emojis are easy to use and make messages more entertaining, my favorite is the exhausted emoji because it has many meanings and sometimes it represents me.

Submitted by Gozhid on Sun, 04/10/2022 - 19:45

My favorite emoji is the one with the cowboy hat because its face gives me joy and a strong smile, which makes me want to dress up as a cowboy or at least wear a hat.
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Submitted by Alexxx_cobain_22 on Sun, 04/10/2022 - 18:34

nowadays I think emojis make out life easier, you know you can show how you feel, react to something on the media etc.

Submitted by Messita10 on Sun, 04/10/2022 - 15:18

My favorite emoji is the kiss emoji, because it helps me show affection to people.

Submitted by Maaauuu on Sun, 04/10/2022 - 03:51

I like love heart emoji, because is pretty and it is used to express nice things. I want a emoji of red butterfly and the emojis aren't forgotten because they are great simple language.

Submitted by hannthemushroomgirl on Sun, 04/10/2022 - 03:14

For me, emojis are a fun way to communicate, plus we can express how we feel without having to use words, my favorite emoji is the mushroom because I really like mushrooms.
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Submitted by Aras on Sat, 04/09/2022 - 15:36

Personally, I hardly use emojis since they are not comfortable for me, but with my classmates, I use all the ones that have hearts.

Submitted by joss on Sat, 04/09/2022 - 04:38

I liked the activity and it seemed very dynamic to me, the page seems very entertaining and educational

Submitted by Luchis on Fri, 04/08/2022 - 21:53

Emojis make messages more fun or make more sense, they help express our emotions and our feelings, when we are angry, sad, happy, or in love, those are the ones I use the most. They can also be used sarcastically.

Submitted by BELAGRAY on Fri, 04/08/2022 - 16:59

All this information provided seemed very interesting to me, my favorite emoji is the one with the laughing face with its tears, I find it very funny and cute.

Submitted by Linn on Fri, 04/08/2022 - 07:37

This information is some interesting and some funny, but I seldom use emojis, nevertheless It is a good idea to express feelings or the personality
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Submitted by PatoDeHule on Thu, 04/07/2022 - 20:39

I think that emojis help you express yourself better and make your conversations more creative and personalized. My favorite emoji is the fairy emoji, although I don't use it very often, I think it's very cute and unique.

Submitted by Vnghg on Thu, 04/07/2022 - 17:29

I believe that emojis help us a lot in communication, since thanks to them we can more easily demonstrate what is being expressed

Submitted by Mel on Thu, 04/07/2022 - 03:04

I don't use many emojis but my favorites are the white heart and the red rose

Submitted by MHS on Thu, 04/07/2022 - 01:03

I love emoji. My favorite emoji is the heart and the face with sunglasses. I think that emojis allow us to show our emotions in a text message, as well as helping to better understand the message.

Submitted by Mance on Thu, 04/07/2022 - 00:46

I really like the heart emoji because with it I can react to things that I really like UwU.

Submitted by Mel on Thu, 04/07/2022 - 00:29

I don't use emojis much but I find them very funny and a way to express what you feel without so many words, my favorite emoji is the white heart and the cute face with teary eyes

Submitted by Charles on Wed, 04/06/2022 - 22:58

I don't think I have any favorite emoji although I use the thumbs up emoji a lot because I find it funny

Submitted by El_cenizas on Wed, 04/06/2022 - 21:27

My favorite emoji is the little pile because it is used to express many things, like something is very good or excellent, although people relate it to the characteristic gesture of Italians.

Submitted by Kenshi09 on Wed, 04/06/2022 - 18:15

I hardly use emojis but this reading made me reflect on how important they are for teenagers and thus exorcise their emotions. My favorite emoji is the one with the teary eyes because I write it a lot to ask for something

Submitted by Mont on Tue, 04/05/2022 - 22:40

It is very interesting when the communication process is over. We started with an intelligentsia to create letters and form words and now only through we can express most of our feelings. My favorite emoji is this :)

Submitted by Fresita on Wed, 04/06/2022 - 20:47

My favorite emoji is the two eyes, looking to the side, they work for any occasion.

In reply to by Mont

Submitted by Minniemouse on Tue, 04/05/2022 - 21:45

my favorite emoji is the laughing face because it represents me almost every moment

Submitted by Emma17 on Tue, 04/05/2022 - 15:28

I think I have several favorite emojis, for example the emoji that laughs, the one with hearts around it, or the one with a hand that is its mouth. In my opinion, emojis are important because they make it easier for us to express ourselves with others and to express things that cannot be said with words, and they are also very fun.

Submitted by Zazu on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 23:27

I don't have a favorite emoji as such, but I usually use the Heart one a lot, which has a shadow and the glitter one.

Submitted by Sofia_105 on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 22:41

My favorite emoji is the heart because I identify with it, and for me, emojis are of great importance in my life because when I communicate through social networks it helps me to share my expressions and emotions.

Submitted by Yaeel on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 22:09

The emoji that I use the most is the laughing one, because it is very usable and I find it funny.
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Submitted by kizuku on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 20:34

I think emojis help a lot to talk to a person, when you are angry you can put an angry emoji or if you are happy a smiling face. My favorite emoji is the one that raises an eyebrow

Submitted by Andy_Guz on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 20:00

I like emojis and use them in my conversations because they make them more expressive and help me give meaning to my messages more easily. My favorite emoji is the laughing face, it's the emoji I use the most. This form of language is very useful to me.

Submitted by Swift on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 19:54

I consider that reading is good, since emojis are part of our daily lives and they help us to express ourselves through text messages.

Submitted by Giss12 on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 17:40

I think that emojis are good language to express our emotions, and they are great to use all the time. My favorite emoji is "happy" because I can use it when I'm excited, happy, or something is funny.
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Submitted by Taekook on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 17:08

Emojis are very useful when expressing yourself in writing as they give your message more personality

Submitted by Cruzado on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 15:33

Emojis are something important for our day to day life, even more so now that we are living a pandemic and communication is mostly online. It helps us to personalize and improve the intention of our messages.

Submitted by danir on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 13:25

I consider the evolution that emojis have had impressive, my favorite emojis are those related to laughter.

Submitted by eram_baeza2302 on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 07:46

I like to use emojis in my conversations because they make them more fun, funny and I express what I feel at that moment. I like to use the laughing face emoji because it means that my conversation is very funny.

Submitted by wintermoon on Tue, 04/05/2022 - 01:22

I love emojis but I can recognize that lately these are more used with sarcasm.

In reply to by eram_baeza2302

Submitted by Laura on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 04:12

My favorite emoji is "thumbs up" because you can use it in any good situation.

Submitted by JenM on Sun, 04/03/2022 - 23:05

In my opinion, emojis are very useful to express feelings or actions, and they can also be used to send secret messages. My favorite emojis are the white heart and the healed heart because the white one represents peace and the healed heart represents healing.

Submitted by lechitadefresa on Mon, 04/04/2022 - 17:25

I agree with you, emojis have helped us express feelings or emotions that we may not be able to express with words. Unlike you, my favorite emoji is the black heart since this is my favorite color.

In reply to by JenM

Submitted by used on Sun, 04/03/2022 - 19:55

my favorite emoji is the black heart because black is my favorite color and the heart is a symbol of love so I think it's very cool so I like to use it
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