Beyond words: How language-like is emoji?

The decision by Oxford Dictionaries to select an emoji as the 2015 Word of the Year has led to incredulity in some quarters. Hannah Jane Parkinson, writing in The Guardian, and doubtless speaking
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The decision by Oxford Dictionaries to select an emoji as the 2015 Word of the Year has led to incredulity in some quarters. Hannah Jane Parkinson, writing in The Guardian, and doubtless speaking for many, brands the decision ‘ridiculous’ — after all, an emoji is, self-evidently, not a word; so the wagging fingers seem to say. And indeed, the great English word is, for many, the most sacred cornerstone of ‘our magnificent bastard tongue’, as John McWhorter so aptly dubs the language of Shakespeare. But is such derision really warranted? After all, we live in a brave new digital age. And the media we use to connect and communicate with our nearest and dearest, as well as a virtual world peopled by ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ we’ve never met, surely requires somewhat different communicative systems. And systems, such as emoji, are adaptations to this most recent arena of human discursive intercourse. They get the job done when the tried and tested interpersonal cues, that oil spoken. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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