Credit: Pixabay user: “fill” / CC0 Public Domain

What are emojis? They are small images used to express emotions or ideas in electronic messages. It’s really incredible that we can communicate with emojis these days. Humans have been using images to communicate long before languages even existed. Emoji, the latest example of the “new” language, is changing the way we communicate. According to Mark Davis, a co-founder of the Unicode Consortium, emoji symbols began on Japanese cell phones. Before, messages with a smiley sign would show up like this: :-), :-(, :-/. But, in 1999, these signals of emoticon got an upgrade when Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese telecommunications planner, noticed that visual cues could improve communication in devices. Thus, he was inspired by Japanese comics, street signs, and started to sketch ideas that were soon brought to life copied by other companies. Nowadays, companies such as Apple and Google include these in their operating systems, due to their widespread demand.

Before, standard emoji sets weren’t ethnically diverse. Because of the complaints from users, Apple promised to include a wider spectrum of emojis, representing what their user base looks like. According to the Bronx Journal, the newest emojis offer 300 characters categorized by people, nature, food, drink, celebration, activity, travel, places, etc. Yet, the most noticeable changes in the app is the golden look emojis: you have to hold on the specific emoji you want to use and change the shade to a lighter or darker skin tone. To finish it up, Ben Zimmer, an American linguist stated, “Many people have hoped for something that was both a language and beyond anything we know as a language. With emoji, that’s more of a possibility. It’s just a question of what we do with it.”