For The Stranger, Rich Smith justifies Oxford Dictionaries’s choice for the UK’s Word of the Year: an emoji. Although OD has been getting backlash from critics lamenting “the death of language, the end of the world, etc.,” Smith claims that emojis are just like words in the way that they evoke feelings:
…to address those who don’t think an emoji is a word: words are signs that point to things or ideas in the world. An emoji is a sign that points to things or ideas in the world. I don’t think emojis are very good as words—they don’t contain any music, and, despite their versatility, the range of what they can communicate is pretty limited. But people do use them all the time, mostly because they’re adorable and quick and they allow you to say “oh yes I totally emotionally agree with you about that” without having to type all that out all the time.