No joke. It was announced on the Oxford Dictionaries’ blog yesterday that 2015’s word of the year is officially a pictograph, or more commonly known as a emoticon. Which emoticon? ?. Yes, the emoticon dubbed “Face with tears of joy” has been announced as the word of the year. According to the official blog post, the emoji was chosen because it was “the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”
Upon such news, one naturally asks “why would this be chosen?” Well, Oxford covered that question in the blog post as well!
This year Oxford University Press have partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world, and ? was chosen because it was the most used emoji globally in 2015. SwiftKey identified that ? made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US: a sharp rise from 4% and 9% respectively in 2014. The word emoji has seen a similar surge: although it has been found in English since 1997, usage more than tripled in 2015 over the previous year according to data from the Oxford Dictionaries Corpus.
So, with that it is official. Looks like the use of emojis has developed into something greater than just icons to help add contextual message to our texts; seemingly, they’ve become words their self. For those wondering, there was a graphic created with the “runner-up” words that were looked into for the position that ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ took.
What are your thoughts on Oxford’s choice for word of the year? Leave a comment below!
source: OxfordWords Blog