There are no words.
That is at least according to the Oxford Dictionaries, which this year decided that rather than one of the more than one million words in the English language, an emoji deserved to be named the 2015 Word of the Year. To be precise, the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’.
Despite priding themselves as “the definitive source on language and the first point of reference”, Oxford Dictionaries, owned by Oxford University Press and responsible for publishing the Oxford English Dictionary, has effectively abandoned its post as the protector and defender of the English language.
Ironically, the motto of Oxford Dictionaries is “language matters”. Yes, it does.
Language provides us with the means to communicate, share our ideas and thoughts, and a way to connect with others or express our emotions. The English language has transformed the world over hundreds of years, spreading ideas, creating realms of imagination and new words through classical literature, and helping to fashion a modern world built on interconnection and interdependence.
Today, the English language is considered the universal language, or lingua franca, for business and communications. In a world where division is often highlighted, the English language stands today as a hallmark of Western Civilisation and a bridge between peoples.
The Oxford Dictionaries, however, seem more pre-occupied with being progressive or avant-garde than celebrating the complex, exciting and dynamic nature of the English language.
Giants of the literary world and Oxford University alumni TS Eliot, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and Oscar Wilde would be rolling in their graves.