Emoji is now the fastest growing language in the UK, and many find it easier to communicate using its smiley faces and icons than text, says one linguistics expert.

Professor Vyv Evans from Bangor University claims the group of smiley faces and symbols are evolving faster that ancient languages such as hieroglyphics. Prof Evans has partnered with telecoms TalkTalk Mobile, which found that eight out of 10 people in the UK have used the symbols and icons to communicate, with 72% of 18 to 25-year-olds adding that they found it easier to put their feelings across using emoji than with words.

Prof Evans said: "Emoji is the fastest growing form of language in history based on its incredible adoption rate and speed of evolution.

"As a visual language emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop."

However it seems this is not a view the wider public share, with emoji now a default keyboard option on most smartphone interfaces, while 29% of those surveyed said they used emoji in at least half of their messages.

Prof Evans has partnered with the telecoms firm to create a new online video tutorial called Emoji IQ, which is aimed at improving understanding of the symbols and their meanings.

Andy Murray marked his wedding day last month by tweeting the story of the day entirely in emoji.

Technology giant Apple recently moved to make the faces in their emoji more diverse by adding the option of changing the colour of different faces. The word emoji was also added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, with the word coming from the Japanese words meaning picture and character.


The most popular emoji animations have been announced, as one linguistics expert claims it is the fastest-growing language in the UK, .

Dominated by variations on the traditional yellow face, the thumbs-up gesture, a love heart and a monkey also made the top 10:

1. Smiley face

2. Crying with laughter

3. Love heart

4. Beaming red cheeks

5. Thumbs up

6. Tongue out winking face

7. Blow kiss

8. Wink face

9. Confused

10. See no evil monkey