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Library Happenings – Emoji makes big impact on 2015 (Nov. 25, 2015 issue)

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2015 is not a word at all, but a pictograph. A laughing yellow face is shedding two huge blue tears. Worldwide, the “Face with Tears of Joy” was the emoji used most frequently during the year. It is often used to express the idea “I laughed so hard I cried.” I suppose this means that LOL has been put out to pasture.
There currently are more than 1,000 emojis, and not all of them are faces. A turkey emoji would be a quick way to convey holiday greetings to friends and family, but apparently there is no turkey—at least, not yet. The taco and unicorn are reported to be gaining in popularity, so perhaps one of them may be the 2016 Word of the Year.
The word emoji, which was compounded from e, meaning “picture,” and moji, meaning “letter” or “character,” was coined in Japan. According to the Oxford University Press, it first entered the English language during the waning years of the twentieth century, but usage of the word has increased by a factor of three during the past year.
However modern emojis appear to be, they take us back to the beginnings of written language. Egyptian hieroglyphs are the example that first comes to mind, but our own Latin letter “A” had its origins in a crude depiction of the horned head of an ox. After twisting and turning its way through the Phoenician and Greek alphabets, it has lost all resemblance to an ox and come to represent pure sound. I wonder how emojis might evolve.
Holiday Closing
The library will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27, but will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 28. Books may be returned to our drop boxes, which are located at the library in Erwin and at Town Hall in Unicoi. Please do not deposit DVDs in the book returns, since they may be damaged if heavy volumes fall on them. We wish you a Happy Holiday!
New Books
And speaking of bounty, readers have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to new fiction. In “The Guilty,” David Baldacci’s assassin Will Robie returns to his small Mississippi hometown to investigate a murder allegedly committed by his estranged father. Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke renew their collaboration for the second volume of the “Under Suspicion” series, “All Dressed in White.” Clive Cussler and Graham Brown bring us “The Pharaoh’s Secret,” another novel from the NUMA Files. And Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum has worked her way up to “Tricky Twenty-two.”