Emojis: A picture tells a thousand words… or does it?

By Elle Rigby

EMOJI is the fastest growing language in the UK, fuelled by the arrival of 70 new emojis this week – including the avocado and a selfie animation.

In 2015, the word ‘Emoji’ was crowned Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year.

But a new survey by mobile phone company e2save has shown that out of the 86 per cent of the Leeds population use emojis, yet less than half could accurately identify the meanings, suggesting a breakdown in communication in today’s fast-paced society.

Frieda Rodgers, 66, of  Kirkstall, said: “My grandchildren live in a fast world. They have fast plans, fast lives, fast everything.

“Everything is at 100mph and they text and Facebook and arrange things in gabble with those picture things (emojis). I’m not going to learn how to use them, I don’t even have a phone that I could use them on!”

The younger generation, however, see it as the first step toward developing a universal language reflective of their technologically-driven communicative society.

In a survey by TalkTalk Mobile, 72 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds said they found it easier to put their feelings across in emoji icons than in text.

Student Lucy Titterton, 22, of Leeds, said:  “Emojis are an easy way to communicate quickly. We don’t have to think about what we want to say articulately, we just send a picture. It just gives us a shortcut to communicate effectively.”

Emojis have caused some anger as people believe the animations to be a mockery of the English language.

But Joe Burrows, 23-year-old blogger and Leeds Trinity University’s student communications officer, said: “Every generation uses them but every generation expects a certain place and time for them. They will never replace or substitute words.

“If emoji can be named the word of the year it can’t be a mockery of the English language.”

He added:  “Everything has a time and a place but if the Oxford English Dictionary has it, then there is value in them.”

So, I took to the streets of Leeds to find out if a picture really is worth a thousand words…

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