The Evolution of the Emoji

Spread the love

 The Evolution of the emoji, emoticon, symbols as language

The Use of Pictures and Symbols to Convey Meaning

Since the dawn of time man has used symbols and pictures to tell stories of their tribe and the life and adventures (or misadventures) of their tribe. They also used these same symbols to express themselves in writing and to communicate with one another.

As early as the Stone Age man, or Neanderthals, people have used cave paintings as a form of communication. However, instead of using them for the kind of communication that we think of today, the Neanderthals used these cave paintings for social and religious ceremonies.


Much later, the ancient Egyptians used symbols to form sentences. These are called hieroglyphs. The Egyptian hieroglyphs were a mystery and were unable to be translated until the discovery of the Rosetta stone. The Rosetta stone was written is two languages, Greek and Egyptian, using three different scripts, Greek, Hieroglyphic, and Demotic. Greek was the language of the Egyptian rulers, Hieroglyphics were used for official documents, and Demotic was the common language in Egypt. With the discovery of the Rosetta stone, they figured out that each hieroglyphic symbol represented a sound instead of a specific letter.

Asian Languages

Moving to the large continent of Asia, there are many different languages that use symbols to in their writing. However, we are only going to look at three. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

The Chinese written language has been around since before 500 BC. And as the years go on they have evolved into the language they have now. The Chinese have around six different Chinese styles. These are Mandarin, Wu, Min Gan, Hakka, Xiang, and Cantonese.

The next language is the Japanese language. The Japanese written language has three different writing styles. The first two languages are hiragana and katakana. These two writing systems are based on basic syllables.the third, and final writing system is called Kanji which is based on Chinese characters.

Like Japanese, Korean writing has three different systems. These systems are hyangchal, gukyeol, and Idu. These systems are very similar to the systems that the Japanese used. The Idu system uses Chinese symbols mixed with other symbols to indicate Korean verb endings, Idu is mainly used in official documents. The Hyangchal system uses Chinese characters for all of the Korean sounds. This system is mainly used for poetry.

Now that we’ve learned the history of symbols used in writing we move on to a craze that is taking the world by storm. Emojis.

Emojis vs. Emoticons

Before we talk about the history of modern emojis we need to talk about the difference between emojis and emoticons. These two words are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between these two words.

Emojis- emojis are real images and symbols that are on your devices.

For example, this ( 👿 ) is an emoji

Emoticons- Emoticons are expressions and faces created with basic characters on your keyboard.

This : – ) is an emoticon.

The Evolution of the emoji, emoticon, symbols as language

History of the modern emoji

The modern emoji came about in 1999 thanks to a Japanese man – Shigetaka Kurita. He had realized that digitalizing your communication robbed the Japanese of one important thing. Emotion. To solve this the created the emoji.

So How did the Emoji become so Popular?

In 2007 Apple wanted to compete in the Japanese market. And because emojis were so popular Apple created their own emojis. With apple’s iOS 2.2 update, they had a variation of the Japanese emojis. In 2011 Apple officially supported the use of emojis internationally with the iOS 5 update.

Here is a timeline of the emojis.

1999-japan creates SoftBank emojis

2007- Apple makes their version of the emojis. These are only available in North America

2011-Apple releases emojis internationally

2012- Apple creates new emojis including gay and lesbian couples

2013- Emojis are now on Android thanks to Google

2014-Apple makes the emoji more multicultural

2015 -Apple increases racial diversity

2016- Apple focused and increased gender diversity in their emojis.


20 years of the Emoji, Timeline,The Evolution of the emoji, emoticon, symbols as language

Want to be a Writer?


Have you always dreamed of being a Writer but never knew how to start? Or perhaps your student has expressed an interest in being a Writer and needs a little guidance. Whether for you or for your teen, this handy FREE WORKBOOK will take you from a Dreamer to a Doer in 7 Easy Steps.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply