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UK edition
The Emoji Code
US edition
The Emoji Code Chinese edition.png
Chinese language edition, 2021

Since 2011, the use of emoji - deriving from the Japanese, meaning picture character - has become a global phenomenon. We send over 6 billion emoji every day and regularly send emoji-only messages, and, when Oxford Dictionaries named the 'Face with Tears of Joy' emoji as their 'Word of the Year 2015', it received an enormous amount of criticism.


Whenever emoji are covered in the popular media the same burning questions come up: Can an emoji really be a word? How language-like is it? Will emoji make us dumber? Or more lazy? Will they make us less adept at communicating with our nearest and dearest? And does this signal the death knell for language as we know it?


Drawing on findings from disciplines as diverse as linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, archaeology and anthropology, this groundbreaking book explores human capacity to communicate, and addresses these questions in the process. The Emoji Code sheds light on emoji's vital role in the expression of emotion in digital communication and more, pointing the way for the future of international communication in a provocative and entertaining way.

Published May 2017 by Michael O'Mara in the UK (ISBN: 978-1782437871), and August 2017 by Macmillan Picador in N. America (ISBN: 978-250129062).

Chinese language edition published 2021 by Peking University Press (ISBN: 978-7301321249), March 2021.

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The Emoji Code

The Emoji Code

The Emoji Code
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A guide to mastering emoji

A guide to mastering emoji

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Vyvyan Evans, live interview, 17th July 2017

Vyvyan Evans, live interview, 17th July 2017

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Breaking The Emoji Code with author Vyvyan Evans  (Chedddar News, August 7th 2017)

Breaking The Emoji Code with author Vyvyan Evans (Chedddar News, August 7th 2017)

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Prologue: Beginnings

1. Is Emoji the new universal ‘language’?

2. Emoji crime, and the nature of communication        
3. What’s in a word?
4. Emotionally speaking
5. Colourful writing 

6. A picture paints a thousand words

7. All change for a changing world

Epilogue: The future of communication

Interview with Vyvyan Evans August 25th 2017 - Science Magazine podcast -- The Emoji Code
00:00 / 00:00
On Emoji and Linguistics with Vyv Evans. A podcast about media and culture, 5th March 2021Vyv Evans.Never Ready Gallery
00:00 / 1:14:26
The Emoji Code: Social Engineer PodcastVyv Evans 8th June 2020
00:00 / 46:05
WICN Public Radio - Vyvyan Evans 'The Emoji Code' Inquiry with Mark Lynch Sept 1st 2017
00:00 / 00:00
How to speak emoji - Kera Think, with Kris Boyd PBS 3rd August 2017
00:00 / 00:00
Can emoji evolve into a meaningful languageCan Emoji evolve into a meaningful language The Guardian podcast 23 June 2017
00:00 / 18:53
Can emoji evolve into a meaningful language? - The Guardian tech podcast 23rd June 2017
00:00 / 00:00
The Emoji Code (featuring Vyvyan Evans)Talk the Talk March 29th 2017
00:00 / 01:04
Emoji: The future of language? - Word of Mouth BBC Radio 4 Feb 27th 2017
00:00 / 00:00
Track NameVyv Evans in discussion re. The Emoji Code
00:00 / 01:04

Excerpts & Essays

Is Emoji the new universal 'language'? -- Excerpt from chapter 1 of 'The Emoji Code'

The power of the emoji, Japan's most transformative design. Excerpt from 'The Emoji Code' in CNN Style -- May 30th 2017.

Why you need emoji: Emojis are the body language of the digital age. Excerpt from 'The Emoji Code' in Nautilus magazine -- July 6th 2017.

Emoji is the new universal 'language'. And it's making us better communicators. LinkedIn Weekend Essay -- August 5th 2017.

Emojis actually make our language way better. New York Post -- August 13th 2017.

Breaking the emoji code. LinkedIn Essay -- March 20th 2018.



Say it with feeling
-- Review of 'The Emoji Code' in New Scientist

¿Qué hay detrás de las caritas sonrientes y los gatos asustados?  -- Review of 'The Emoji Code' in El Pais  (Spanish language)

Review of 'The Emoji Code' -- Edge Media Network

How to speak perfect Emoji, and other language lessons  -- Review of 'The Emoji Code' in the New York Times

The Emoji Code: Why Those Little Faces Are Saving Conversations -- Paste Magazine

Review of The Emoji Code -- NBC-2

Wordplay: Face it--emojis add texture to text -- The Sydney Morning Herald.


Emojis get a big (thumbs up emoji) from British linguist.  The Chicago Tribune [PDF version is here]

Interview in Literary Ashland

Interview in GEO magazine (German language)--no. 9 August 2017 [Full article PDF version is hereGEO magazine -- Internetfirmen wollen oberflächlichkeit.

Podcast in Science Magazine -- Vyv in discussion on 'The Emoji Code' (24 August 2017, from [10.03]

Talk the Talk (Podcast interview with Vyv, March 2017)

Media coverage (partial listing; see also Media)

The Sunday Telegraph -- How emojis can save your relationship. May 21st 2017

The Times -- Emojis help give couples their smiles back. May 22nd 2017

The Daily Mail -- Is your relationship on the rocks? Try using emoji.  May 22nd 2017

The New York Post -- Study reveals emojis can save your relationship. May 22nd 2017
London Evening Standard  
-- The power of paralanguage: How emojis changed the world. June 1st 2017

OZY Magazine -- The future of language. June 5th 2017
NBC News -- How emojis can improve your relationships. June 14th 2017

Hindustan Times -- Is Emoji the future of language? June 16th 2017

Prospect magazine -- How emoji became the planet's lingua franca. June 22nd 2017
La Stampa -- Emoji, la superlingua universale. July 5th 2017.
TES talks to...Vyvyan Evans. July 14th 2017
USA Today -- Why Emojis may be the best thing to happen in the digital age. July 17th 2017

Refinery29 -- If You're Fluent In Emoji, Does That Technically Make You Bilingual? July 24th 2017

Parade -- Top ten fun facts you didn't know about emojis. August 1st 2017

Atlantic magazine -- Why The Emoji Movie fails. August 4th 2017.
New Statesman -- Happy face, sad face – are emojis the nearest thing to a universal language?  September 4th 2017.
Harpers Bazaar -- 
Is Emoji the new language? Is Emoji the new language? September 2017. 

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