Emoji’s are ‘pictographs. Originally used in Japanese electronic messages, many characters have now been incorporated into Unicode and the launch of Emoj.li. an image only social network has been announced. A recent study by Professor V. Evans, from Bangor University, concluded that it is the fastest growing language in the UK with over 80% using it. Amongst 18-25 year olds, 72% even found it easier to communicate emotions using symbols rather than words. But will it mean the end for other forms of language? Not according to Professor Evans.
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Emoji and communication A recent debate from ABC radio which featured linguist Ben Zimmer and Fred Benenson, who ‘translated Moby Dick into Emoji, gives an introduction to the issues. Tyler Schnoebelen, Stanford University has published a paper examining the uses of noses in messages. He argues that that emoji is a type of language with clear variations in the use of emoticons by age, gender and region.
This echoed an earlier paper on text messaging by Chad Tossell et al which found that while women use emoticons more frequently, men use a wider range of images.
Do Emojis make people happy? Interestingly a number of researchers have focused on this issue. A University of Missouri-St. Louis study which compared work and social emails containing emoticons found that those containing smiley faces were perceived more positively.