# Day 178 (What’s in a word?)


You know web-culture has come to completely dominate our lives when even the Oxford Dictionary defects from the side of words to declare that this year’s word-of-the-year is not an actual word but an emoji!
“That’s right”, says the Oxford Dictionary blog post– “for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph: 😂, officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji, though you may know it by other names. There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, outlined below, but 😂 was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”
Many a language-purist has been aghast by this betrayal. The laments vary from simple outrage~’how can one pretend that emoji is a language?’ to anguished statements like~ ‘how can these simplistic signs replace the many nuances and layers of communication with words that has evolved over a thousand years?’ Well i can’t really identify with those who would keep a language static and prevent it from evolving with the times, yet i too felt that an emoji as a word was stretching it a bit! (This inspite of the fact that my web communication is generously peppered with these smiley faces!) Over the years it has been fun to see so many words being coined by us natives and then making their way into the lexicon, even if they are qualified as ‘Indian English’~ pre-pone, pass-outs, batchmate, topper being just a few examples. Then came mobile phones and the ‘sms language’; and even in school test answers abbreviations like ‘gr8’ ‘l8r’ etc began to occasionally surface leading to much distress about the imminent demise of the language that we knew and taught. The widespread use of the internet brought in more words…’selfie’ became the word of the year in 2013. However, this news of a symbol as a word seemed like a portent of an ominous trend! Even though i’m not teaching anymore, i shudder to think of correcting an essay that uses emojis to express ideas or even worse a poem in emojis! And what led to a great deal of apprehension was a link on the blog which condescendingly asked ~’How well do you know your emojis? Take our quiz’…so now i’m looking for an emoji dictionary and thesaurus to prepare for that!


About sunsur81

A gatherer of thoughts...exploring myths,metaphors and expressions of life...
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