Posted by: episystechpubs | June 18, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Emojis

Good morning!

I found this article on the Daily Writing Tips website and thought you might find it interesting, too. I’ve edited pieces of it to shorten it and make it safer for work. The full article is here.


Ancient Egyptians had hieroglyphics. Modern Man has emojis.

Since the 1980s, symbols to express emotions have proliferated in cyberspace.

At first they were made with what was available on the keyboard, like the smiley face made with a colon, a hyphen, and a parenthesis. Now, thanks to Unicode, they appear as true pictures: faces, hands, heads, cupcakes, robots…[KC – And some gross things that we won’t talk about here at work.]

These symbols acquired a name in 1990: emoticon, a portmanteau word made by combining emotion and icon.

In 1997 or so, the Japanese word for pictographemoji—went international as a term for emoticons produced with Unicode.

Note: The similarity of emoji to emoticon is coincidental. The Japanese word was coined in 1928, perhaps on the model of English pictograph: Japanese e = picture; moji = letter or character.

So far, more than 700 emojis are available, with more on the way.

Vyvyan Evans, a professor of linguistics at Bangor University (Wales), refers to the use of emojis as a language called Emoji:

Emoji is the fastest growing form of language ever based on its incredible adoption rate and speed of evolution. As a visual language, emoji has already eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor, which took centuries to develop.

According to a Table Talk Mobile survey of 2,000 Britons, ages 18-65, “more than eight in 10 Brits are now using emoji to communicate regularly.” Users in the 18 to 25-year-old age bracket said they found it easier to put their feelings across in emoji icons than in text. Of the over forties, 54% said they were confused by what the symbols meant.

Tennis player Andy Murray tweeted about his wedding in emoji. [KC – Try your hand at deciphering the post. For the translation, click
here and scroll down.]

Note: There is disagreement as to the plural of emoji. Some speakers prefer to use the same form for both: one emoji/two emoji. Others think that emoji should follow the English rule and add s to form the plural: one emoji/two emojis. The AP Stylebook has ruled in favor of emojis.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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