Emojis As Universal Language?

We all use this little yellow faces which can help you to add the missing facial or body expressions missing in the communication written form. These little images became a kind of requirements to the extent that if you put the wrong one or you don’t put them you can be misunderstood. So it is relevant to ask ourselves if emojis can become the universal language.

It could 🤔

Well, it could. We just need to take some examples to prove it.

When we see 😍, we directly think about sentences like: “I love you”, “I like it so much”, … When we see 😔, we directly think about sadness or disappointment. And finally when we see 😌, we can think about satisfaction. Isn’t it a good way to express emotions? And it also works with physical objects like: ☔️🌲🏃‍♂️. It’s awesome! We can even write sentences: 🏃‍♂️🌧🤧. It’s just perfect let’s stop writing!

Some people in fact already do that, and by a mix of emojis and punctuations try to make sentences or even conversations as understandable as possible. You can see it a weird I see it as the possibility and the need of people to communicate with each other.

It couldn’t

But the problem it’s that it couldn’t. We can compare emojis language with primitive languages from prehistorical people. With their drawings they represented for example a guy hunting a mammoth: 🐘 🤺 (sorry for my poor drawing). The problem with this is that our language evolved and that we can describe more abstract things but also differentiate things. If we take a sentence like: “he likes to answer philosophical question while listening to music”, I guess I should wish you good luck to translating it in emojis. You could come with 🤔😌🎻 but I’m not sure everyone will understand. With the word “while” you can express the idea of “at the same time” and with the word “classical” you can different that kind of music from another.

This is also due to the fact that we don’t have enough emojis. As I said we can compare it to primitive languages. These languages evolved to make more grammar and more vocabulary in order to describe more and more things. A language like the emoji one still need to evolve a lot if we would use it to only speak with it for harder ideas than: 😍🍽. Do you think that this language can become as complicated as the one we are using now? Do you think it can become as perfect as ours? It could by evolution but the problem is that considering our languages like perfect would mean that they can’t evolve more, however, they evolved, they are evolving and they will evolve. New things appears everyday on the earth and we need words to describe them so we need to improve the language. Can the emojis reach or become better than our actual languages? I don’t think so (I might be wrong, and we also need to consider if it’s a goal for the creators of emojis).

If you travelled you maybe saw something interesting with emojis. Some countries use them more or less than yours and some countries give different meanings to them. 🙋‍♂️(it’s another one but it’s a yellow face and a waving hand) in chinese means “go away!” or “I don’t want to talk to you”. However, in western countries it will just means “goodbye”. As I said in other articles, language depends on points of view and cultures. Words have this problem of point of view but it less important, saying a word can be disrespectful but not having another meaning. The dictionaries helps to get the meaning of a word but emoticons don’t have a universal dictionary. It could happen, but we will need way more time.


I need to say that I think the emojis could be considered as a language only if we talk about the feature of expression. It was the main purpose of our primitive languages. Emojis could become a universal language but we need way more time and a way to describe displacement or abstract things in image (it is maybe impossible). For now, emojis have a lot of sub branches like chinese emojis, french emojis, … lets see in the future!

If you think in a binary way and you say that what I say is right or wrong, or if you have a more detailed point of view (I prefer the last one), I’m looking forward to hear from you. You can contact me by leaving a comment here or by finding my info on the contact page. See you soon!

Written on March 10, 2018