The Evolution of Emoji Language

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that modern language is rapidly changing. i cud wrte like dis & lotsa ppl wud get it (#txttalkrox, amirite?), but a hundred years ago that sentence would be a foreign language to anyone who read it. Today, those words may be foreign to some people; but I'm willing to bet that a young person would read it and respond, "Yaaassss, I feel u."

Again - the words are arguably foreign to some. But to others this language of words without vowels, abbreviations without explanations, and newfangled uses of punctuation (#throwback to when the pound sign was only a pound sign) isn't a "new" language - it is the only language. What I find fascinating about today's language is that it doesn't just include words and punctuation symbols: it also includes small images, or emojis.

A few weeks ago, I received a text from my dad while I was eating lunch at school. It read: "Did your mom tell you that she broke her foot?" The words of the text surprised me - I had no clue my mom's foot was broken - but so did the emoji that my dad sent to accompany the text. It was the emoji that is 'crying with laughter'.

I was confused as to why my dad thought my mom's injury was so hysterical, so when I arrived home I asked him about it. He was shocked when I told him. I thought he was laughing at my mom; he thought the emoji was crying tears of sadness, not of laughter.

Miscommunications run rampant with technological communications, as does confusion. And yet, as confused as I was about my dad's emoji use I couldn't help but think that it was really cool that he used an emoji in the first place. He saw an opportunity to add depth to his text, to go beyond words and express his emotions with an emoji. It was the wrong emoji, but - how does that saying go? - it's the thought that counts.

I'm a teenager, so you could argue that my age contributes to my positivity towards "text talk" and emojis. But I am also a writer, an author, and an aspiring journalist: I want to make a living by writing words. So you could also argue that I should feel threatened by the tiny yellow faces that are becoming more and more prevalent by the day - but I don't.

I don't know if emojis will ever be deemed appropriate enough to use in a news article, but the thought alone is pretty cool. And what about for essays? No more changing "it's" to "it is" in an attempt to get your word count up: just add some emojis!

I know, realistically, that these things might never happen. Emojis are viewed by most as a subset of "texting lingo", and many people seem to think texting lingo has no place in literature or news. But it certainly could, at the rate we're moving.

It's not just me who sees emojis as an integral part of the future of our language. Oxford Dictionary recently named their word of the year - and it's the crying with laughter emoji (or as they call it "face with tears of joy"). If a dictionary makes an emoji the word of the year, anything is possible. A picture says a thousand words... how many does an emoji say?