Emoji masks

Brits place blame on emojis for ruining English language

A study has found that most British adults believe the English language is in decline, with many believing that emojis should take some of the blame.

The study, which was commissioned by Google, involved survey of 2,000 British adults.

Of the respondents, 94 per cent stated that there had been a decline in the correct use of the English language, with approximately 80 per cent of the respondents saying that young people are most likely to misuse the language.

A large majority of respondents also described themselves as struggling with the language, and therefore being dependent on digital tools such as emojis, autocorrect and spell checkers as they communicate online. The most common English language confusion, according to the survey results, were spelling mistakes and correct use of apostrophes and commas.

More than a third of the respondents stated that emojis were having a negative impact on the English language.

The successor to emoticons, emojis are estimated to be used six billion times a day, with more than 90 per cent of online populations using emojis. Their explosive popularity has led to emojis being described as the fastest growing ‘language’ ever. In 2015, the Oxford English Dictionary named ‘emoji’ as its word of the year, and in 2016, a High Court ruling attracted considerable attention for its unprecedented use of emojis (intended to render the ruling comprehensible to a child affected by the case).

Emojis have been lauded for assisting cross-cultural communication, although there have been concerns that the meaning of the pictograms can give way to miscommunication. Some teachers have expressed worry that overuse of emojis can stifle creative verbal expression in young people.

Despite the widespread adoption of emojis, it is thought that use of emojis in professional communications can give a poor impression of the user.

“Contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” said Dr Ella Glikson, a researcher at Ben-Gurion University and author of a study into the use of emojis in the workplace, in a statement.

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