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Did you know that emojis are so popular that people send over 900 million of them every day? You can find them practically anywhere on the internet, from social media channels to discussion boards and forums. We use them to chat with our friends, family, and other online users.
From happy faces to sad, crying, and angry faces. If you don’t want to use words, emojis are a good way to express your ideas, feelings, or thoughts.
So, the question is: can emojis help people to learn foreign languages or should we stick to professional tutors? Can we even classify emojis as a type of language? And last, but not least, who even created emojis? That's what we'll find out today.
The word ‘emoji’ comes from Japanese, where ‘e’ means ‘picture’, and ‘moji’ refers to a ‘character.’
As you can guess, emojis were created in Japan, in 1999. The first one was made by Shigetaka Kurita as one of the tasks he and his team got to do. Inspired by kanji and manga symbols, Kurita created these pixelated symbols, which, very quickly, became accepted, first in Japan and then in the rest of the world.
And the rest is history.
The answer is simple: emojis represent your current thoughts, feelings, even your body language.
When we text, we can’t show our feelings, so emojis are a great way to express our happiness, anger, hope, excitement, disappointment, etc. All those feelings, and much more, can’t simply be put into two or three words.
Today, there are around 45,000 different emojis to express different thoughts, ideas, or feelings. Most of you probably became so good at using emojis that you don’t even have to text a single word to express your current situation.
That's why emojis can help you learn a foreign language.
They are some sort of a universal language everyone understands without any previous learning. First of all, let us make one thing clear: emojis can’t be considered as a language because the definition of a language is quite clear. However, it can help language learners. You would be surprised to hear that many teachers have already included some emojis in their teaching methods. And guess what? They are quite useful!
So, let’s admit that besides being amazingly funny, emojis can also be useful in language learning. And here are some of the ways.
You probably know that a picture can be worth a thousand words.
Emojis are a perfect example. In how many situations have you been where there are no exact words to describe your feelings or thoughts? Moreover, imagine the situation when you mispronounce a word, and the whole point becomes odd.
By using emojis, you won’t be in that awkward situation to mispronounce them or to be understood entirely opposite of what you wanted.
Every nation and its language has its own sense of humor. Not rarely, other people might not quite get that. You’ve probably heard unless you were in that position, that you’ve tried to be funny and entertaining to the native speakers by saying the joke in their language but, in the end, it appeared that it isn’t funny. And there’s that awkward situation.
Using emojis to show that they are joking, on the other hand, is more apparent, and people from different countries will easily recognize that.
When you start learning a new language, the lack of so many words on your head to express your thoughts is apparent.
That’s why using different emojis at the beginning of your language learning career is desirable.
When you don’t know some words in your target language, you can easily use some simple emojis such as transport, family, nature, meals, etc.
When you start learning a language, such as, for example, Chinese or Korean, learning to write takes time, especially when you want to ask or express something in that language. Not to mention the difficulties you may struggle if you still aren’t that good at writing.
Here, emojis are a perfect replacement. Not only that you will quickly ‘write’ what you want to say, but you will also be more efficient in explaining.
It is particularly useful for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language learners, so no wonder the Japanese invented them.
As we’ve mentioned already, emojis are ideal for beginners because they don’t know enough words and phrases to communicate. Emojis, however, can help them build their vocabulary.
A vast number of emojis can help you divide words into different categories, such as animals, transport, vegetables, drinks, etc.
This way, it is more likely that your brain will connect emoji with the word so you can memorize the words more quickly.
Flashcards are one of the fun and effective learning tools for learning languages. You can use them alone or with friends.
If you want to continue entertainingly learning your target language, we suggest you try to combine emojis and flashcards.
You can use emojis that describe emotions. For example, you can use a smiley face for the word ‘happy,’ or a sad face for the word ‘sad.’
Not rarely, students can get stuck finding the right expression to say what they want. It is common when practicing to speak but also when writing in the target language.
One of the solutions can be to find a word or a phrase in the dictionary. Yes, it is simple, but it takes time. And who knows if you will pronounce it correctly?
Here, on the scene may appear emojis. They can help you ‘save the day,’ or in your particular case, to ‘save the words.’
Even though emojis can be a very efficient learning tool for learning any foreign language, they, on the other hand, can't teach you to write, speak and listen in the target language.
Therefore, you should use emojis as one of the tools to help you learn the language but not to think that you can become fluent only by using them.
Learning a foreign language takes a lot of time and dedication (unless you are a wizard or having supernatural talents.)
What we suggest is to use emojis to learn a foreign language with professional tutors, native speakers. This way, you’ll see that not only with emojis can you learn to speak in the target language, but you can discover a whole new world of learning tools and fun methods.
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