Language Of The Week
May 23, 2015
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I noted the other week that emoticons are fast becoming the new hieroglyphs and I was somewhat gratified to read this week that according to a linguistics expert, Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University, emoji is the fastest growing language in the UK.
Up to 72% of 18 to 25 year olds, apparently, find it express their feelings with the wretched symbols than with conventional words – you don’t say – and 80% of the British population admit to having used one or more of the emoticons at some time. In terms of its adoption rate and speed of evolution the Professor claims that it is the fastest growing form of language, defining language, presumably, as a medium of communication rather than a method of communication, whether written or spoken, consisting of words used in a structured way. Hieroglyphs took an age to develop but then, of course, the Egyptians were constrained by stone, chisel and hammer.
The day is just round the corner, I tell you, when as well as losing the ability to communicate vocally – why talk when an e-mail will do? – we will lose the ability to string words into a sentence. A bleak prospect indeed.