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!

Discussion

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

Comments

Lalalu's picture
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Lalalu 12 April, 2022 - 21:20

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.

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youngluismi's picture
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youngluismi 11 April, 2022 - 09:49

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.

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Urbina's picture
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Urbina 11 April, 2022 - 05:19

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.

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YutaOkkotsu's picture
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YutaOkkotsu 11 April, 2022 - 04:46

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

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LGS's picture
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LGS 11 April, 2022 - 04:31

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

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AdomJoshuaaa's picture
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AdomJoshuaaa 11 April, 2022 - 03:57

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

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Juliette_Mary's picture
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Juliette_Mary 11 April, 2022 - 03:10

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.

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Katy's picture
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Katy 11 April, 2022 - 02:48

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.

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Patricio's picture
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Patricio 11 April, 2022 - 01:17

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.

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Gozhid's picture
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Gozhid 10 April, 2022 - 20:45

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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Alexxx_cobain_22's picture
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Alexxx_cobain_22 10 April, 2022 - 19:34

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

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Maaauuu's picture
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Maaauuu 10 April, 2022 - 04:51

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.

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hannthemushroomgirl's picture
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hannthemushroomgirl 10 April, 2022 - 04:14

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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Aras's picture
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Aras 9 April, 2022 - 16:36

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

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joss's picture
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joss 9 April, 2022 - 05:38

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

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Luchis's picture
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Luchis 8 April, 2022 - 22:53

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.

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BELAGRAY's picture
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BELAGRAY 8 April, 2022 - 17:59

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.

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Linn's picture
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Linn 8 April, 2022 - 08:37

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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PatoDeHule's picture
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PatoDeHule 7 April, 2022 - 21:39

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.

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Vnghg's picture
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Vnghg 7 April, 2022 - 18:29

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

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MHS's picture
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MHS 7 April, 2022 - 02:03

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.

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Mance's picture
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Mance 7 April, 2022 - 01:46

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

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Mel's picture
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Mel 7 April, 2022 - 01:29

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

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Charles's picture
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Charles 6 April, 2022 - 23:58

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

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El_cenizas's picture
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El_cenizas 6 April, 2022 - 22:27

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.

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Kenshi09's picture
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Kenshi09 6 April, 2022 - 19:15

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

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Mont's picture
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Mont 5 April, 2022 - 23:40

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 :)

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