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The Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year Announced... and it's an Emoji

Who comes up with this stuff, honestly? Yes, you heard right, the Oxford Dictionaries - the academic lexical compendium of the English language - has just announced that its word of the year isn't even a word at all, but a pictogram. In fact I'm almost pulling the crying with laughter emoji face at the mere concept of it all.

In a sign of the times, the Oxford Dictionaries explained their decision to choose one of the small digital images as the winner. As the popularity of the emoji has risen dramatically in 2015, with the laughing crying face making up 20% of all use in the UK, it apparently made sense to award one with the top spot. The face best reflected the "ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015," according to Oxford University Press and SwiftKey. I remain unconvinced.

The emoji isn't a new phenomenon - it has been around since about 1990. However, with the rise of social media, the emoji is common with users all around the world who substitute words and expressions with the icons. It is thought that over 6 billion emojis are sent across the world each day.

Brands are gearing up their emoji use in their digital marketing with various levels of success. They are particularly useful for engaging a younger audience who are glued to their phones and are presumably more comfortable with digital means of communication as opposed to conventional ones. Domino's successfully implemented them for a digital ordering system whereby customers merely had to tweet the pizza emoji in order to begin their purchase. Not so successful was Hilary Clinton, who was seen as patronising and condescending when she asked students on Twitter to describe how they felt about their student loan debt in three emojis.

But does the rise of the emoji signal the death of the English language? Many Twitter users would argue so. I'm inclined to think it was a smart PR move from the Oxford Dictionaries to crown the emoji - its certainly created a lot of buzz. Regardless, new word inclusions to the dictionary such as 'lumbersexual', 'on fleek' and 'ad blocker' certainly prove that the colloquialisms of a younger generation are becoming ingrained in the standard language.

SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF

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The Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year Announced... and it's an Emoji Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 23, 2015 Rating: 5

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