Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 Isn't a Word After All
In a period where smartphones and tablets are necessities and emotions are expressed in fun symbols and pictographs, it wouldn't be a surprise to know that the word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries is not really a word but an emoji -- the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji to be exact.
Times are changing and as what Geek.com emphasized, Oxford Dictionaries aims to keep up with that change. The team behind the lexicon recognizes that the use of emoji has become very common in the recent years, which made it easy for it to hail it as the word of the year.
Word of the year aims to show what "the passing year in language" looks like, as the team wrote in their blog where they made the announcement. It is only proper that the language that thrived in the year that was, which is the emoji, will be given the acknowledgment it is due.
"This year, instead of choosing a traditional word, Oxford Dictionaries has chosen a pictograph . . . to reflect the sharp increase in popularity of emoji across the world in 2015," Oxford University Press explained. "Although emoji have been a staple of texting teens for some time, emoji culture exploded into the global mainstream over the past year, it added.
"Whether it was Hillary Clinton soliciting feedback in emoji or on-going debates about the skin tone of smiley faces, emoji have come to embody a core aspect of living in a digital world that is visually driven, emotionally expressive, and obsessively immediate," Oxford Dictionaries added.
Oxford Dictionaries Casper Grathwohl recognizes that emojis do better in the visual expression of today's communication than traditional alphabet scripts. On the whole, emojis make it easier and more effective for someone to articulate and spell out his or her feelings.
But why was the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji chosen as the word of the year? With the help of leading mobile technology business SwiftKey, Oxford Dictionaries researched on which emoji was the most used and most popular with the chosen emoji making an easy win.
Oxford Dictionaries chose between other popular, mostly tech-influenced terms for the word of the year. The list includes "ad blocker," "Brexit," "Dark Web," "lumbersexual," "on fleek," "sharing economy," "refugee" and "they."
When the news broke about the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji being the word of the year, The Guardian looked into the question of how Charles Dickens, one of the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, would have reacted towards the announcement. The result will coincidentally and fittingly make someone want to use the winning emoji.