Replacing words with emojis is ruining the English language.
To millions of Millennials, text messages aren't complete without the use of an eggplant Emoji
or at least, a dozen smiley faces. This new form of communication has been met with a lot of opposition because it has been argued that the use of emojis are ruining the English language. Yet language is the one thing that unites all of us. We need it to survive, to express our emotions, to ask for help and to develop relationships that help us live our best lives possible. Seems simple enough, right? But languages, over time have started out in the most simple of ways and have evolved through symbolism and primitive writing, to the beautiful languages that are spoken through out the world.
But, people, have you noticed what has been going on during our iPhone messages? We are back to speaking in symbols. Yup, welcome to the emoji. According to Wikipedia, emojis are ideograms or smileys used in Japanese electronic messages and webpages. Emoji literally means picture and character (emoji) Shigetaka Kurita was the original designer of the emoji. Apparently he took inspiration from weather forecast symbols and stock symbols and created this “language.” Unfortunately, I have to disagree with this history. Emojis started when we were little kids and our moms would draw smiley faces on our lunch bags so we would think of them when we would eat lunch. That was the first emoji. I don’t know which mom invented it, but I do not think it was Mr. Kurita, with all due respect. I even put these notes in my kids luggage when they travel. But it is always the smiley face. We will get to what has evolved from the happy, innocent face in just a few moments. To learn where we are going, we have to learn where we came from…a lesson in linguistics, without having to take a final at the end.
Our world has gone through many different languages. The very first language known to mankind was Sumerian. I don’t know what it consisted of, but I do know that we know longer speak it or write it, so it must have had some major glitches.
The earliest, that I can recall, were hieroglyphics. No, I was not alive for this languages, but it is the first I remember learning about during the whole “caveman” era situation. These were discovered in ancient Egypt and were very primitive, yet descriptive in their design. It looked like it took a lot of work in order to even get the simplest point across. A shopping list could take many tablets to describe which size goat they needed for dinner or how many chicken they needed to bring home. And forget about the wine list. One could lose patience trying to read the cursive hieroglyphics in the papyrus and wood. They never did find a symbol for corkscrew. Perhaps that is what put an end to the dinosaurs; no wine with their meals.
Fast forwarding through many, many languages, I would like to discuss the word “ain’t.” My grandmother used to use it all the time and it would drive my mother crazy because she would go home and my mom would explain to us that grandma is old and it is okay that she uses the word “ain’t” but that it is acceptable for us to use it. Ya, tell your kids not to say something and we ain’t going to do it! Thankfully though, in 1993, the Merriam-Webster dictionary included the word “ain’t” and people were celebrating all over the county, or, perhaps, just in my grandmother’s house. According to the dictionary “It goes back to 1778 and it is defined as am not; are not; is not; have not; has not; do not; does not; did not. Ain’t that just a hoot and a holler!
Speaking of words that have been added to the dictionary, we have hashtaghashtag, selfie, and tweep, just to name a few. It really is amazing to see what all the latest technology has done to our language. Social networking is a word, well actually two words, because that is pretty much what people are doing all day long. Remember when social networking was passing a note to a kid in class that you had a crush on? If you are younger than 18 and you are reading this, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. And the notes were written in real words, not the texting language that has emerged. No lol’s or ttyl’s or wtf’s, notes like “meet me by my locker after math class. See you later xoxo…” XOXO was as “high tech” as we got.
Now a days, we have all of these emoji icons. You could literally send an entire text to someone using emojis. So without using the actual emoji you can write smiley face-martini glass-hamburger-winky face. Which means “Let’s go for dinner and a drink and then see what happens.” No words needed. Or you can write sad face-cow-mug of beer-toilet. This means “Oy, I ate an entire cow and drank too much and ended up puking in the toilet.”
There is an emoji for almost anything. But with the texts I have been sending lately, I feel they need to come up with a few more. For all of my nursing friends out there, we need some little breast pump emojis and leaky boob emojis. Is there an emoji for when you are on a really bad date? What would that emoji look like? The letter L on a forehead, I think. And then the other day, my husband had kidney stones and there was no unhappy penis emoji. How is that possible? How can they have an old fashioned telephone emoji, a syringe emoji, a pill capsule emoji and no unhappy penis emoji? How else do I write to someone in emoji about the kidney stones? There isn’t even a stones emoji. Very upsetting. You would think with a man inventing this whole language, there would be a few, more relevant emojis than lightbulbs and the back of a credit card. But those are probably useful too. And even the ones you may never use, like the buildings or the different phases of the moon; they really are all so clever and modern day versions of what the caveman would write on his wall.
But what have we done to our beautiful language? Is William Shakespeare rolling in his grave? Is Lord Tennyson weeping looking down on how poetry has been the victim of literary depravity? And Emily Post. Poor, poor Emily. Always trying to teach us to do the right thing. The Queen of Etiquette. How would she feel if she knew that people texted thank you notes and no longer hand wrote them and put them in the mail. With all this technology we lose the whole human interaction piece. Sure, in these texts we can thank grandma for the beautiful coat she got us for our birthday and include a piece of cake emoji and a bunch of heart emojis, but until there is an emoji for a big hug, maybe we should become more of what we had been and less of where we are being taken. So, I will end this is a smiley face; winky face; heart, sunflower and ice cream cone because I am hungry.
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