The death knell of language-as-we-know-it is sounded so often, it’s beginning to seem more like a false alarm.
Last year, Oxford Dictionaries announced that its word of the year was an emoji – specifically, the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji, a symbol that could represent a fit of laughter or a wave of joy. The dictionary’s president Casper Grathwohl explained, “it’s flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully.”
Sure, decriers conceded, but is it a word? One linguist I spoke with, Lauren B. Collister, denied that “emoji” was an emerging language. “Emojis, while they do have some basic conventions for their use, do not have the regular, recursive grammatical structures that are a fundamental part of human language,” she said.
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