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  • A brief History of Emoji.

  • With over six billion sent every day, emoji have gone truly global in the last few years.

  • But where did they come from, and how on earth did we ever manage to communicate effectively in the pre-emoji era?

  • Language first evolved around 100,000 years ago, allowing our ancestors to communicate simple ideas like 'fire' or 'cave' or more complex ideas like 'your cave is on fire'.

  • About five and a half thousand years ago, writing was invented in Mesopotamia, when people started engraving symbols on clay tablets.

  • This marked a major step forward for civilization, although (it) wasn't entirely practical for sending love letters.

  • At the same time, in Egypt, people began scratching small pictures and symbols onto bone and ivory.

  • 5,000 years later, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, ensuring people could mass produce documents and share radical ideas like Protestantism and the recipe for Auntie Susan's vegetable broth.

  • In the 19th century the telegraph was invented, which led to an increase in long-distance communication, as well as cases of repetitive strain injury.

  • In the late 20th century, the combination of the internet and mobile phone gave birth to the video call.

  • So, now you have to look ill as well as sound ill when you pull a sickie.

  • All of which finally bring us to the birth of emoji.

  • So, what exactly are emoji?

  • The word is made of the Japanese characters for picture writing.

  • They began life when their inventor noted a craze for sending heart icons among Japanese teenagers, as well as among business men!

  • Before emoji, emoticons had let you express how you felt by using combinations of punctuation marks.

  • Now though, there are emoji for almost everything.

  • There are ones with different sexual orientations, skin tones, and genders in various roles, all purposefully designed to reflect a modern, multiculturally-diverse society.

  • And then there are less intuitive emoji, like the levitating businessman, and whatever this means!

  • There's an emoji for almost everything, well, apart from an emoji for emojis.

  • So, what do people use them for?

  • When we talk, a huge amount of meaning is conveyed through gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice, and this can get lost in written language, particularly as it becomes more colloquial.

  • So, what in the past might have been written as, 'Your hazel eyes remind me of a forest on the first days of autumn' might now be 'U R well fit'.

  • So, in these modern times, being able to project feeling and emotion is especially important.

  • And let's be honest, even the harshest truths can be softened by an emoji.

  • 'I puked in your car.'

  • If you enjoyed this clip, feel free to follow the links on screen for more interesting articles and free courses from The Open University.

A brief History of Emoji.

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B1 US emoji invented cave ill communicate birth

A Brief History of Emoji

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    Elise Chuang posted on 2021/07/23
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