Are emojis behind deteriorating ability to speak English?

Young people are conversing more and more in emoji, not English. Credit: PA
  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

Emoji is the fastest-growing language in history - and it is ruining English language skills because young people rely on them to communicate, research by YouTube has revealed.

Nearly a third of British adults asked by the video sharing website said they believed there had been a decline in the correct use of English.

Of the 2,000 people aged 16 to 65 they surveyed, 94% agreed with the statement, with four out of five saying young people were the worst culprits.

Young people's reliance on the picture characters is so high that emoji are used six billion times a day

But education experts have warned this reliance on emojis could be to the detriment of a broad vocabulary.

An English teacher at Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, Craig McClure, says he's starting to see the effects in his classroom.

"They might struggle to describe how someone might laugh uproariously, for example, or how they might describe someone who is crying with laughter because for them the shorthand is to use a emoji."

The emoji movie was a big hit when it was released last year. Credit: PA

However, Edinburgh University researchers found emoji were helping people to feel included and promoted a positive experience through a diverse range of skin tones.

Young people in Shawlands Academy told ITV News they used emojis to understand the context and emotion behind the messages they receive.

"If you've not got emojis it's kind of bland and there's no colour to it at all, you might just get bored of the conversation straight away," one pupil said.

"Where as with emojis they're bright, colourful, they're in your face and you understand what the person is feeling straight away."