Emoji Overseers Reveal That They Know You Use the Eggplant That Way

The Unicode Technical Committee's President says he doesn't see emojis as a language -- but he does have a new favorite.


Emoji fans feeling slighted that there is no male dancer to their red-dressed salsa queen, and no drooling face to properly convey that certain sense of thirst, may find comfort this May when the Unicode Consortium votes on which new emojis make the cut. Right now there are 67 potentials on the list, some gems include a face-palm and a shark.

Much has been made about emojis as a new language, with the BBC breathlessly posing the question: “Could they take over completely?”. But in an interview in today’s New York Times, Unicode Consortium President Mark Davis dismisses the idea, mainly because there is no shared way to interpret the symbols.

“I can tell you, using language, I need to go get a haircut, but only if I can get there by 3 p.m., and otherwise I have to pick up the kids,” Davis tells the Times. “You try to express that in emoji and you get a series of symbols that people could interpret in a thousand different ways.”

Except the eggplant emoji. Davis admits that one has a “particular meaning” in American culture.

However, linguistic researchers say that emojis, while not a language per se, can serve as a body-language replacement. They have already officially moved from “something the kids do” to a workplace norm, and are important enough to merit scholarly research. (Fun fact: researchers have found that people who use emojis are more emotionally expressive.)

Davis, who is 63 and a chief internationalization architect at Google when he isn’t leading the non-profit that encodes symbols so we can text a poop, says that after the new emojis are approved in May it may take a bit for vendors to go forward and work with them. Until then, he has to wait patiently for what he expects will be his new favorite: the rolling eyes emoji.

In a different camp lies Giphy, the gif-mega house that is hoping that emojis die and you start using flashing photos of puppies jumping when you want to tell someone you’re excited.

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