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Art: Kim Wiens

Oxford English Dictionary unveils plans for wordless dictionary

In an attempt to stay culturally relevant, the Oxford English Dictionary has announced that its 2016 edition will be written entirely in emoji.

This decision comes soon after Oxford University Press (OUP)—the publisher of the dictionary—named an emoji as the “Word of the Year” for 2015. The emoji selected was the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji.

“Emojis are clearly the way of the future and it’s only a matter of time until we’re done with words and we want to lead that change,” OUP said in a statement.

The world responded with praise to the 2015 word of the year, prompting OUP to announce the all-emoji dictionary to be released in 2016.

Jarrod Waller, President of OUP, said that the publishing company “has nearly 500 years of experience, and we want to continue revolutionizing the dictionary industry.” He also noted that using emojis instead of words made the dictionary “much shorter, and a lot less work”.

The 2016 edition will include the definitions of all the emojis currently available, also written entirely in emoji.

“I thought the English language was dead,” said Melanie Cooper, professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Ottawa, “but replacing words with emojis is the best way to revive it.”

Cooper noted that “it’ll be simpler to teach kids to read emojis rather than words—it’s like an international language.”

“We already stopped teaching them cursive because it’s outdated. Might as well get rid of English language text as well,” she said.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic about a dictionary entirely in emoji. “It seems a little excessive,” according to a statement by the University of Ottawa English Department, “replacing every word with an emoji. Can’t we have two versions of the 2016 edition? One with emoji, one without?”

The Department of Communication recently responded with a statement of their own, suggesting that the English faculty “modernize and start translating,” classic works of literature to emoji, and even signed it with a “Smirking Face” emoji.

When asked about potential for competition from popular online dictionaries like the Urban Dictionary, Waller responded with a “Loudly Crying Face” emoji.

After he collected himself, Waller said that the 2016 emoji edition will be an attempt to attract readers of Urban Dictionary to a “source with much more repute.”

“The Oxford English Dictionary is a staple for students, scholars, and businesses all over the world,” said Waller, “and the emoji edition will increase its usefulness—and hopefully its popularity.”

The 2016 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary will go on sale in January, and will cost at least 25 “Banknote with Dollar Sign” emoji.