It’s not the dinosaurs and the asteroid, but it will probably have the same effect.
The Oxford English Dictionary, that regal tome responsible for preserving our native tongue, has chosen an emoji—otherwise known as a picture—as its “Word” of the Year for 2015, which gives us very little faith in the abilities of Oxford Dictionary employees. Other contenders included “ad blocker,” “Brexit,” “lumbersexual,” “on fleek,” “Dark Web,” “refugee,” “sharing economy,” and “they” as a singular pronoun.
According to Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries, the decision to induct the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji indicates the downfall of modern society the rapidly changing landscape of human relations. “You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st Century communication,” Grathwohl says. “It’s not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps—it’s flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully. As a result emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders.
The headline for the above article called it a “Harbinger of the Apocalypse” and the cutting-edge folks over at TechCrunch also feel that things might be getting away from us.
It’s not really the emojis I worry about. Domino’s changed my view of them forever earlier this year.
My fear (and I say this as a prodigious tweeter and texter) is that all typed language (writing is going bye-bye) will soon be reduced to Twitter abbreviations, IYKWIMAITYD.
ISIS and IRS are still the only abbreviations I really worry about.