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Emoji revealed as fastest growing language in UK


It’s official. Emojis speak louder than words.

According to a study by Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University, who is studying the “speed of evolution” in the use of emojis, it is the fastest growing language in Great Britain.

Those adorable little characters on your smart phone have overtaken ancient hieroglyphics as the quickest evolving language, according to Evans. 

“As a visual language emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop,” he said. It’s the “fastest growing form of language in history based on its incredible adoption rate and speed of evolution.”

Evans conducted a survey alongside TalkTalk Mobile that revealed 29% of participants used emoji in half of their messages and 72% of 18-25 year-olds found it easier to express their feelings via emoji rather than in text. 

The Ancient Egyptian language of hieroglyphics

The Ancient Egyptian language of hieroglyphics

Emojis might be the fastest-growing language but, just like real people, they’re not without their complications. The icons appear differently on different devices and internet sites to such an extent that they could almost mean something entirely different depending on what platform they’re viewed on. So, in essence, emoji is in the eye of the beholder.

The telecoms firm has partnered with Evans in the creation of video explainer, Emoji IQ, that clarifies the meaning of the different symbols and when to use them. 

You won't believe the real meaning of some emojis according to Emojipedia.

This sassy lady is actually an information desk girl:

She's so sassy

These praying hands (or high-five according to some) actually mean 'please' or 'thank you' in Japanese:

The much-disputed 'praying' or 'high-five' emoji

This angelic chap is actually bowing deeply in a show of respect:

bowing boy

These jazz hands actually represent openness, or a hug:

jazzy hands

This disappointed face is actually deep in thought:


This little bead of sweat, not to be confused with the crying emoji, actually means 'disappointed yet relieved':


And when is an emoji not an emoji? When it’s an emoticon. Previous confusion has surrounded the two and the words have been used interchangeably - incorrectly.

An emoticon is an expression created using punctuation or text, like the old-school smiley:  :-)

Their inception, according to The Guardian, dates back to September 1982 and is credited to computer scientist, Scott Fahlman. They were referred to as “emotion icons.”

The emoji, on the other hand, was born in the nineties, the child of a Japanese comms firm (obvs). The name stems from the Japanese e meaning ‘picture’ and moji meaning letter/character.

Emojis are used in various ways, including for cheeky sex-moji messages that have reinterpreted the aubergine icon entirely (we’ll let you do the guess-work).

Andy Murray even celebrated his wedding day on Twitter using only emojis.

Andy Murray wedding tweet

Whatever our intention, though, it’s clear emojis are the future. But be warned- the BBC recently revealed that adding an emoji to a text message turns it from an SMS to an MMS, drastically increasing the price of your communication.

Here are the top most popular emojis. Use them with caution:

1. Smiley face

2. Crying with laughter

3. Love heart

4. Beaming red cheeks

5. Thumbs up

6. Tongue out winking face

7. Blow kiss

8. Wink face

9. Confused

10. See no evil monkey



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