Here comes a plunger emoji, perfect for the probable shitstorm of 2020! (All images courtesy of Emojipedia.)

Practitioners of modern hieroglyphics, rejoice! Our collective emoji vocabulary has expanded yet again, with yesterday’s announcement from Emojipedia outlining 117 new little images that we can use to illustrate our increasingly fragmented, misspelled, and abbreviated communications with each other. ::raised hands emoji::

Here’s your 2020 line-up, full of signs, portents, and bubble tea.

What will we be glyphing about in 2020? Bubble tea and tamales have joined the culinary lexicon, as well as a trio of blueberries, a fondue pot with the Swiss cross on it, and what is listed as “flatbread” but could also read as a stroopwafel if you’re texting with someone from the Netherlands. New vehicles include a retro-style truck and classic quad rollerskates, because someone in emojiland has clearly been auditing my lifestyle. There’s an accordion and a drum-circle-type drum, for those who like to either nerd out or chill out, musically. There’s an industrial-style meat hook, which presages a lot of conversations about … . horror movies, I guess? Or meat processing.

Flatbread or stroopwafel? You decide.

This emoji knows what you did last summer.

Increased transgender visibility has also joined the emoji oeuvre, with a transgender symbol and flag, Mx. Claus, and gender-fluid wedding figures to complement an ever-expanding vocabulary of nonbinary emojis.

This flag can double as shorthand for “ok Boomer”

Extinct or threatened animals seem to be on trend, as well, and emojiland welcomes the Dodo Bird, the noble Bison, the wooly mammoth, and a polar bear and baby seal to the fold. If that makes you feel some kind of way, consider the new expression, which is a smiling face crying a single tear. We all been there, emoji-bro. Some of us live here. If you feel the need to go incognito, an emoji face disguised in Groucho Marx glasses and ’stache is also available.

Save the emojis!

With all the new ways to talk to each other without actually having to talk, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’m going to back the plunger emoji, with a shoutout to anatomical heart and lungs, and a Russian nesting doll that makes me think Natasha Leon must have pulled some strings behind the emoji scenes. For most confusing emoji, I’m going with the potted house plant, the labia-and-clitoral design of which indicates to me that 2020 will see pubic hair trending back toward full bush. For emoji most likely to be used to imply a penis, the similarly genitally-evocative “wood” has really blown the competition away this year. I guess you could pair it with the new beaver emoji to paint a more complete picture, but I’m not sure what else we’re supposed to do with wood, really. For questionable cultural tropes, gonna have to go with “pinched fingers” Italian hand and ninja — which will likely not stop me from using either.

Nature is sexual, guys. Grow up.

I suppose we should take it as an encouraging sign that 2020 has not been heralded with a dumpster fire emoji, although it seems like it might come in handy. I’m personally still waiting for “old man yells at cloud” emoji, which could rightfully accompany 90% of my cultural input. Til’ next time, keep on glyphing!

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit — including at the Detroit Institute of Arts....

One reply on “Our Digital Vocabulary Will Expand Yet Again With New Emoji Release”

  1. I am glad to see some thought to wild animal population but you need to visit more FB and YouTube chats associated with Zoos. You’ll find people all around the world have become aware of and care about Giraffes, Hippos African and Asian Elephants, Sumatran Tigers and other species. There are so many more the emotions associated with these endangered animals goes from the awe of newborn cuteness to prayer for the sick,animal and Zoo Keepers, to anger at poachers and take over of lands where the animals live. We also talk about their diet such as Alfalfa. lettuce. carrots and grain, fruits and meat. When you’re sharing thoughts and emotions on these social formats a picture is worth a lot of words that you don’t have room to spell out. So, thank you and keep on building the useful emoji library! Oh, one other thing. As a person grows more mature it’s hard to see what those tiny pics are so it would be most helpful if they would enlarge when the curser hovers over it!

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