The “Face With Tears of Joy” emoji has been named Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2015, and the response is astonishing. As Casper Grathwohl, president of the company, puts it, society has “been preoccupied with emoji and this form of communication.” It is one thing to embrace the emoji in language as it has become a part of the average American’s vernacular; however, it is an entirely different problem when an emoji surpasses “on fleek” for word of the year. It is not common to hear someone go around from day to day saying “Face With Tears of Joy” emoji to every joke they hear.
Many people, as expected, are livid by the choice. One user, Peter J. King, had quite the impression of the event, commenting on the Oxford Dictionaries’ post, “Does this mark the final nail in the coffin of Oxford Dictionaries?” By targeting a younger audience, Oxford Dictionaries is broadening their horizons. According to Grathwohl, the switch was merely based on how “visually driven, emotionally expressive, but, also, obsessively immediate” the twenty-first century has become. Unfortunately, Grathwohl believes that “traditional alphabet language has a hard time keeping up and adapting to [those] needs.” Therefore, the year of the emoji has begun.
This is just the beginning of a pictogram world. According to Grathwohl, “the interplay between traditional language and language like emoji” will only grow in the future. With the new collaboration with Swift Keys, Oxford Dictionaries will, for the first time ever, be able to print pictograms. This is not the Oxford Dictionaries’ first major change. The company has slowly incorporated social media into their company goals with Buzzfeed-esque YouTube videos. Many people are apprehensive about the new changes; however, is this a necessary sacrifice as language and technology grow simultaneously?