The last word?
This is a potentially profound development in language.
For the last few thousand years, humans have pretty much always been taught to form our thoughts and to communicate them verbally. In school we spend hours practising our handwriting and our grammar, not considering how to convey ideas with images. When we think to ourselves “oh I need to top up the petrol” the thought appears in our head as words.
But teenagers today are having complex conversations using pictures.
Instead of texting a friend the words “I’m bored”, they’ll send a 5 second video clip of their face with a bored expression on it.
Like a language, emoji are slowly developing their own grammatical constructs and conventions. For example, there is no way of conveying a plural of something in emoji, so users simply repeat the same image several times to convey the idea.
Read more: The Ultimate Emoji Dating Quiz
Write like an Egyptian
Could this be the decline of written language? Are we on the verge of becoming a solely visual culture?
Fact is, “per bit”, letters and words are capable of communicating more information more efficiently than an emoji ever could.
26 individual letters is all anyone needs to write Moby Dick, but the same story in emoji is almost impossible.
There’s a reason the ancient Egyptian civilisation lasted for 4,000 years but never achieved much more than a few pyramids. Their pictorial language was too inefficient.
So we probably don’t need to worry about emojis killing off text as the primary way humans communicate.
But the fact that they’re now considered worthy of a movie means it’s 🕐 to 📚 ⬆️.