Wordplay is a blog project featuring posts from students enrolled in ENG 320 Grammar and Linguistics (Fall 2019)

Do Emoji’s Count As A Language?

Tara Gentz

Language is an ever evolving form of art, and emoji’s are no different. Emoji’s have captivated the 21st century mind, including my own. There is nothing more exciting than being aware that you are living in modern history. Although the debate on whether emoji’s should count as a language or not is currently a heated topic for discussion, this will come to pass and I will be at the forefront to help emoji’s prevail. After all, how different are emoji’s from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics revered today as “holy writing.”

Source: Gaia Antonia

The roots of modern society stem from that of the ancient Egyptians. Egyptians used hieroglyphics as a form of language to capture ideas, as well as within society. Although the Egyptians used images as a form of language, they still had a structure to follow, much like their emoji counterparts (Osman, 2017).

Today our language is alphabet-based with the support of emojis to help convey emotion through text. Emojis have been considered by many to be the fastest growing modern language (Osman, 2017). Professor Evans from Doble’s study was one of the first individuals to compare the language of emojis to Egyptian hieroglyphics. “As a visual language, emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop (Doble, 2015).

Source: Una Titz

Emojis share a few comparisons to that of hieroglyphics. They both use images to convey either ideas or emotions. They both have some sort of structure/rules to their use, although emojis rules are unspoken. And they have been used by the masses of their society to communicate. After all of this, if hieroglyphics are considered a language why would emoji’s not be held to the same principle?

What do you think? Do you believe emojis are the modern form of hieroglyphics? If so, does this mean we have stopped progressing in language development? Or do emojis help add clarity and understanding to a message that could otherwise be misinterpreted?




Antonia, G. (2017, June 9). Back to the future: From Hieroglyphics to Emojis – The full revolution of the image. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@gaialondon/back-to-the-future-from-hieroglyphics-to-emojis-the-full-revolution-of-the-image-2a17c0c7daef.

Doble, A. (2015, May 19). UK’s fastest growing language is… emoji. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/32793732/uks-fastest-growing-language-is-emoji.

Osman, M. (2017, October 24). How Emojis Are Like Ancient Hieroglyphics. Retrieved from https://www.mabbly.com/how-emojis-are-like-hieroglyphics/.

Titz, U. (2018, April 28). Emoji vs. Hieroglyphs: A primitive form of language? Retrieved from https://medium.com/beluga-team/emoji-vs-hieroglyphs-a-primitive-form-of-language-a228f52e4bc2.


Tara Gentz is a junior studying K-8 education. She plans to teach between 1-3grade in a DODEA school district. This is her second year at Chadron after transferring from Sterling Co. Being a military child herself, she does not identify with any particular location as home base but rather bounces around many different locations in both Colorado and Nebraska.


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