We’ve all had that unfortunate moment when you send a playful text message that someone takes too seriously. Other times, you just can’t seem to find the words to convey what you are feeling. Texting is great until you encounter what words can’t properly say. That’s why the digital world is turning toward one coherent language: the Emoji Language.
You may think of them as just small pictures to spice up your conversations, but the Emoji Language is destined to be so much more than that.
A Unified, World Language
If globalization has taught me anything, it’s that there are too many languages to be able to understand everyone at all times. While it would be nice to have a world meeting where we determined one language going forward, killing off languages is like stripping identity.
Luckily, there’s no cultural baggage with the Emoji Language. They are nothing more than symbols that adapt complex ideas. But, these symbols cross borders and boundaries without losing anything to translation issues.
Even though Emojis condense emotions, thoughts, actions, and nouns, they have no language barrier.
Recently, I was searching for a used car and was invited to a group chat for cars. The only problem: it was all international Chinese students. Ironically, the only times I ever felt a part of the conversation was when they used Emojis since they transcend both Chinese and English.
Whether you live in Tallahassee, Tibet, or Timbuktu, the 😀 means the same thing everywhere to anyone.
Of course, you may think that Emojis are simplistic. But, so are words. It’s not until we connect multiple Emojis that we create more complex meanings (just like words).
For example, try and interpret this Emoji sequence: 🐝 🐝 🔄 🚫 🐝 🐝 ➡️ ❓
Stumped? Its direct correlation to English is: To be or not to be, that is the question.
You see, the Emoji Language can convey what words convey, in a lighter manner.
Right about now, you either think I’m crazy or stupid. But, that’s because you haven’t studied the Emoji Language.
Just Enroll in Emoji University
Like any foreign language, you can choose to learn it or use technology to learn it for you. The Emoji Language is scary to you because you haven’t studied it.
Just like you probably can’t understand why there’s an Emojitracker that tracks the appearance of every Emoji on Twitter, why someone created Emoji Masks or the point of a physical keyboard that types Emojis.
Not to worry, the youth will teach you. I watch my 14-year-old brother text his friends and he uses more than ten-fold the amount of Emojis I use. It’s just natural to them.
As the esteemed linguist, Gretchen McCulloch argues, Emojis are like gestures that bring emotion to our emotionless text. And I would agree with her when it comes to anyone born before 2000. However, this isn’t the case for everyone.
The youth have embraced Emojis as integral tools for expressing their emotions, well-being, and intentions. You and I only understand the use of one or two Emojis as a means to bringing life to a conversation.
Emoji fluency transcends what textual language does. But, Emoji fluency is hard to achieve. Right now it is a matter of the “haves and have-nots”.
Lucky for you, the “haves” want you to learn the Emoji Language. Emojipedia is the first online textbook for learning the individual characters in this complex language. Emojisaurus helps bring clarity to Emoji phrases.
Fairly soon, I expect someone to open up an online class for attaining Emoji literacy and fluency…and I hope they call it the Emoji University.
In their current state, Emojis are used to add emphasis. But, they are still in their infancy.
The Emoji Language is evolving…
Today, there are over 2,666 official Emojis. But, the language is far from complete. It will continually evolve as more Emojis are added to the language.
When Oxford Dictionary awarded the “Face with Tears of Joy” the 2015 Word of the Year, it was one small step for language and one giant leap for language-kind.
So far, there’s no agreed upon grammar rules, no consistency of message, and that angers many “traditional” thinkers. But, when have traditional thinkers ever maintained their power?
The beauty of all logograms – written characters that represent a word or phrase – is that they can be interpreted in a number of ways depending on the viewer and their state of mind. There’s no Hammurabi code to tell us exactly what each one means and what people are trying to say…but hasn’t that been the struggle of language forever?!
Whether or not you believe in the abilities of the Emoji Language, you cannot deny the advantages it poses in connecting with anyone, anywhere.
History is a broken record when it comes to hating “foreigners”. But, when I watch my little brother string together Emoji sentences, I revel in the possibility of the Emoji Language transcending all differences of race, ethnicity, and status. A leveled playing field for all cultures to communicate across all differences.
Emojis may never replace English or Spanish or Mandarin.
But, the future belongs to the youth…and they’ve unanimously chosen Emojis as their digital language.
The youth hold the answers to many of our problems. Fresh minds that aren’t tarnished by their own criticisms are key to creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.
Youthfulness isn’t an age, though it mostly occurs in young people. Youthfulness is a mindset. It means to not doubt yourself, to set aside time to let your own imagination run wild with possibility.
Undoubtedly, we need to listen to those that still have youth and encourage their dreams. Every time you place youth in a mold, it sets that person up to make the same mistakes as you, look at problems from the same viewpoint, and lose their own inventive identity.
The other day, a friend’s 12-year-old son told me he wanted to invent an anti-microwave which cooled down food in just minutes. Instantly, I told him to read some physics books and see if it was possible.
Whether or not the laws of physics allow such a machine to be made is irrelevant. It’s his unique mindset that shows promise to me.
Before I write these Quick Theories, I always try and open myself up to youthfulness and see what unique angle I can take. If you enjoyed reading this Quick Theories, I’d truly appreciate if you would share it on social media with your friends!