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British adults think Emojis are bringing down English language

A YouTube study of 2,000 British adults concludes that the majority of people think the English language is declining, and Emojis might be to blame.

Published onApril 18, 2018

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  • A recent YouTube study of 2,000 British adults centered on the state of the English language.
  • The overwhelming majority of respondents think the English language is in decline, and that Emojis are partially to blame.
  • In somewhat related news, YouTube has seen a giant surge in popularity in English tutorial videos over the past year.

YouTube commissioned a study recently where 2,000 British adults (ages 16 to 65) were asked about their opinions on the current state of the English language. Surprisingly, 94 percent of respondents said that there had been a decline in the correct use of English, with about four out of five respondents saying young people are the worst offenders.

While those numbers might be surprisingly high, what’s less surprising is that almost three-quarters of respondents claimed to be dependent on Emojis and electronic spell-check in their communications.

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While correlation is not causation, it’s hard not to draw a comparison between those sets of numbers to conclude that technology, specifically the rise in popularity of Emojis, is perceptively stunting our language growth.

In somewhat related news, a spokesman for YouTube told The Telegraph that English language tutorial videos have risen in popularity by a whopping 126 percent since this time last year. Does that mean that people are aware that their English skills are deteriorating and thus trying to combat the trend?

Lucy Earl, whose English with Lucy YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, thinks the trend makes perfect sense. “As we increasingly communicate through our phones and computers, it is only natural that our language will evolve,” she says. “Digital communication should not be an excuse to take the easy road out. We all need to understand the foundations.”

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Emojis are not just for casual conversations between friends anymore. Scholars are already conducting studies on potential repercussions of using Emojis in the workplace, and in 2016, a High Court judge incorporated a smiley face Emoji in an official ruling. His reasoning? He wanted to make the verdict comprehensible to a child who was affected by the judgment.

Could Emojis one day take the place of learning basic reading and writing skills?

While there’s certainly no harm in the use of Emojis for conversation purposes, there is merit to the idea that using them too much could be detrimental not only to the English language, but also to society at large. After all, if children are raised to use Emojis liberally, who’s to say that there couldn’t one day be a generation that doesn’t understand basic words, instead only knowing Emoji representation for terms?

With Emoji being described by some as the fastest-growing language in history, that day could be closer than we think.

What are your opinions on the matter? Do you or your friends use Emoji more than you think is appropriate? Or is concern about Emojis and language just making a mountain out of a molehill? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: See the full list of 161 new Emoji icons coming in 2018

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