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How emojis became the planet’s lingua franca

The icons aren't just for kids: over 90 per cent of the world’s internet users make use of emojis on social media

By Sam Leith   July 2017

Five years or so ago, I wrote in this slot about emoticons—those smiley-face icons cobbled together from punctuation marks that speckled our online communications in the days when ASCII art seemed the dernier cri in futurism and human beings were still at risk of being trampled by woolly mammoths.

An interesting new book by Vyvyan Evans, the internationally renowned language expert, occasions a return to the subject—or one, at least, adjacent. The Emoji Code is concerned with the descendant of emoticons: emojis, the pictograms that now come as standard with all…

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