Will Emojis be the death of writing? Are emojis modern day hieroglyphs? Is the increased use of emojis in textual conversations a sign of the end of language as we know it? In our first episode of the New Year we discuss the origin of emojis as well as the importance of actively seeking to understand the hidden biases of language. Check out our What’s Your Story page to tell us what you would like us to discuss in our next episode! What is an Emoji? 😍 The term emoji originates from the japanese kanjis of “picture word”. Shigetaka Kurita created the emoji in order to develop a way to send pictorial texts using less data. Japanese phone users were sending pictures to convey messages, but their phones were unable to handle the large amounts of data involved in sending pictures, so Kurita created the emoji keyboard that allowed for standard pictorial characters to be sent for the same amount of data as a letter. Check out the podcast to learn more about the development of the emoji! Emojis can be helpful in their translatability. In an attempt to utilize icons to communicate across linguistic barriers, Icon Speak created an Icon Travel T-shirt for travelers not fluent in the language of the country they are visiting. While this seems to be a good idea, the interpretation of an pictorial images can vary cross culturally. According to Ben Zimmer, the emoji that depicts two hands pressed together is understood as a symbol of salutation or gratitude in Japan, but it is considered a symbol of prayer in other cultures. There is a degree of ambiguity in the interpretation of these symbols, but this does not exist only with emojis.