Emoji is the fastest growing language in the UK, according to linguistics expert Professor Vyv Evans. And the power of emoji does not stop at the British borders: "Emoji is the fastest growing form of language in history," continues Evans, "based on its incredible adoption rate and speed of evolution. As a visual language, emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop."
Personally, I doubt the validity of the claims made by linguistics expert and emoji tubthumper Professor Vyv Evans that emoji is the fastest growing language in the UK, because – actually, there isn't one key reason, I'm going to have to make a list:
i. It's not a language, it's a series of ideograms;
ii. There is no way to orchestrate your lips and mouth into a translatable noise for an emoji – you know like how phone phreakers in the 90s learned to make phone noises into payphones, to trick the phone into thinking a number had been dialled? Like that, for emoji. Not possible. You cannot scream at a pitch that your iPhone understands as emoji;
iii. It's sort of like saying "speaking to your cat" is the fastest growing language in the UK, because a lot of people speak to their cats – "A-boo-boo woo woo woo," people say, "yes, you are the cutest yes you are" – but it's all meaningless and speaking to your cat is literally pointless but people still do it, though, don't they? They speak to their cat in that special little high-pitch toddler language they have just for cats;
iv. I mean, I am probably getting hung up on the "language for cats" point, but indulge me. A theory: we speak differently to cats than we do to dogs;
v. Maybe a linguist would like to look into that, instead of this emoji stuff. Why is it, when I talk to a dog, I am like: "Hello, dog"? Like I say it in a normal voice. Sometimes I adopt a slightly gruffer, deeper voice, depending on the size of the dog – this might be a failed attempt to assert dominance over the dog, with my deep and masculine voice, but I feel like dogs widely have the measure of me – and then I pet the dog on the head and I say – again, with a completely straight and normal tone of voice – "good dog";
vi. And yet when I speak to a cat I am like, "How are you cat, what up, hello, how are you are you handsome?" – I am asking the cat a question he cannot answer – "Are you handsome? Yes you are." Note how I answer my own question, a question asked, by myself, to a cat. Please, if there are any doctors reading this, please reach out and tell me what is wrong with me;
vii. Back, finally, around to the emoji thing: I think this emoji thing is roundly untrue because Professor Vyv Evans said it on a press release for TalkTalk, famous emoji-peddling 3G network, and so it is obviously in his best interests to say that emoji is on the rise and not at all a nonsense language for idiots – I mean they are just glossy, well-rendered smiley faces, emoji, it's time we stopped kidding ourselves about that, they are just run-of-the-mill smiley faces w/ a slick gradient overlay – and so obviously he is going to say something soundbite-y about emoji when TalkTalk ask him to do that, over the phone, in exchange for money;
viii. Where is the study? There is no study. Where is the citation? Again this is missing. This opinion about emoji would not pass even the laziest of Wikipedia editors, and;
ix. I think deeply, fundamentally, at the heart of all this: linguistics professors got to make that paper, somehow, and having TalkTalk pay them to say something pro-emoji is as good as teaching bored 20-year-olds about noun phrase clauses at 9.30AM on a Tuesday morning in, of all places, Bangor, north Wales;
There's a lot to process, here. But mainly, we need to think about our general, UK-wide emoji use, and whether or not we are using emoji responsibly. Because: no, we're not. We are already at a point where we can order pizza using emoji over Twitter. We are already at a point where Apple have caved to our furious collective demands for more diverse emoji. "THERE ARE WORDS AND EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS," we say, "THAT ARE NOT BEING FULLY ENCOMPASSED BY THIS TINY SMILING PICTURE OF A TURD." Flash forward briefly to the future. The year is 2030. Over two million emoji exist. Finding the little emoji of a turd smiling (the turd smiling emoji has been joined by sad turd emoji, confused turd emoji and same-sex marriage turd emoji) takes over an hour-and-a-half. But that's fine, because we are all sat there, on our sofas – fat and voluminous on the pizza we so lazily order via the pizza emoji, our throats and vocal chords rendered useless by our collective un-need for language, spoken language a distant memory now, with our two million emoji – and we scroll, and we scroll, until we find it: the aubergine emoji, the one that signifies a dick.
This is how we all die. We forget how to talk and we think that aubergines look like dicks. The final human emotion that will ever be expressed – as the heat-death of the sun explodes towards the earth, as our collective existence is rendered down to dust by a mega-nuclear fire – the final emotion gasped out by a dying human race will be the cry-laugh emoji, a hundred million cry-laugh emojis all snubbed out at once by the fierce and awesome power of a dying star.
Controversial opinion, but: the sun cannot explode soon enough, for me.
More stuff about emoji:
The Solution to the Emoji Diversity Problem: Make Them All Yellow