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BizReport : Trends & Ideas : May 20, 2015

Emoji: UK's fastest growing language

The visual representation of language, in the form of emoji, is making its way into almost all messaging done by Brits, according to new research conducted by TalkTalk Mobile and the University of Bangor.

by Helen Leggatt

A study of 2,000 mobile users in the U.K. has found that emoji are being used more today than ever before in messaging on mobile and social. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of those involved in the study said they use emoji more now than they did a year ago. Furthermore, 80% said they use emoji regularly.

Linguistics professor Vyv Evans, of Bangor University, said that while emoji won't replace traditional languages any time soon, they do help enhance messaging as they are "universally recognisable".

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

The younger generations, those aged between 18 and 25, have been the fastest adopters of emoji with almost three-quarters (72%) using them to express emotions in place of words. Older generations, over the age of 40, say emojis are confusing and 31% said they avoid using them due to a lack of confidence in using them correctly. However, help may be at hand with the release of Unicode Consortium's recent document that explains what each emoji means.

Emojis were created back in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita and the word emoji was added to the Oxford dictionary fourteen years later in 2013.

Want to test how well you understand emoji? Check out TalkTalk Mobile's video online.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: emoji, language, messaging, mobile, smiley

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