Word of the year? I don’t think so. 19 November 2015 'I am not crying with laughter'

They say a picture paints a thousand words – so how can an emoji ‘win’ the Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year prize? Isn’t that cheating?

I’m all for the continual evolvement of etymology, for language to be a living organism and for made-up words to become part of everyday speech. In a fast-moving, technology-obsessed world, language, more than anything else, has proved its ability to keep up. New things will always need names and our changing way of life needs new adjectives to accurately reflect it. Globalisation is irrepressible and emoji’s are the universal language of the international community and the new era.

However, what they also are (and I know ‘they’ know this) is generic, bland, lazy and patronising. It’s bad enough that handwriting has gone the way of the diplodocus; that people believe email communication is talking, and that nobody really needs to be able to write proper sentence structures or even full words when it’s so GR8 to abbreviate and no-one’s got the time or patience to use punctuation. Hell, predictive text means you don’t even have to decide what you are trying to say for yourself anymore (with often hilarious consequences).

I’m sure the good people at the OED deliberated about this decision, maybe it’s one big in-joke. But call me an old stick-in-the-mud all you like, I am not crying with laughter about this. No! Not at all. In fact, I am really......

 


- Clair Chamberlain


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