The Emoji Code
The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and Scaredy Cats
Drawing from disciplines as diverse as linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience, The Emoji Code explores how emojis are expanding communication and not ending it.
For all the handwringing about the imminent death of written language, emoji—those happy faces and hearts—is not taking us backward to the dark ages of illiteracy. Every day 41.5 billion texts are sent by one quarter of the world, using 6 million emoji. Evans argues that these symbols enrich our ability to communicate and allow us
to express our emotions and induce empathy—ultimately making us all better communicators.
The Emoji Code charts the evolutionary origins of language, the social and cultural factors that govern its use, change, and development; as well as what it reveals about the human mind. In most communication, nonverbal cues are our emotional expression, signal our personality, and are our attitude toward our addressee. They provide the essential means of nuance and are essential to getting our ideas across. But in digital communication, these cues are missing, which can lead to miscommunication. The explosion of emoji, in less than four years, has arisen precisely because it fulfills exactly these functions which are essential for communication but are otherwise absent in texts and emails. Evans persuasively argues that emoji add tone and an emotional voice and nuance, making us more effective communicators in the digital age.