How to Speak Emoji by Fred Benenson

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How to Speak Emoji by Fred Benenson

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Category: Trivia
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: :) or :( whatever your thoughts on Emoji use, this is a fun guide to the lingo
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Ebury Press
ISBN: 978-1785032028

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Emojis are fun, and there's so much more to them than the smileys of days gone by ;) They can be a language unto themselves, though, and I've found that some members of the, ahem, older generation can find themselves a little troubled by them. This book, then, sounds perfect for anyone who needs a little help with this 'language'.

Much like a phrase book, this is split into sections: food and drink, relationships, travel and so on. But a big chunk of the book is given over to sayings, quotes, film and TV titles and random fun things such as The Twelve Days of Christmas. Just like with any language, you need to be communicating with someone else who can also understand it, and some of these are more understandable than others. I can send the Boy the pictures that are:

Heart + rocket ship + the moon + arrows

And he should just about work out that I love him to the moon and back. But, as a language that's written rather than spoken, it's hard to work out why you might need to ask someone, in Emoji, how to get to the Sistine Chapel (for reference, it's a girl with her hand up asking a question, some clouds (heaven!) and old man and a young boy (potentially God and Jesus), and some arrows. Notably absent is a chapel/church/basilica.

The film titles are fun, with some more imaginative than others. Most people I'm sure could work out that an orange diamond, the word new (some Emojis cheat a bit) and a black square could be Orange is the new Black but a clenched fist coming towards you and then the club sign from a pack of cards as Fight Club had me smiling.

This book is entertaining more than it is useful, perhaps. And a lot of it is quite personal. I often tell the Boy to stop being fat, a multilingual joke based on the fact that the German for fat is dick so really I'm telling him to stop being a… In Emoji, apparently I could use an aubergine for this purpose, but I'm not sure he would understand.

In my mind there is a fundamental design flaw with this book and that is that the words or phrase are shown directly next to the Emoji representation. Yes, this is what you would find in a normal foreign language phrase book, but here I think it could have been fun to have them on opposite pages so you could cover up the translation and see if you could work out each of the phrases in turn. It's really hard to do this with the layout they've gone with, and I tried using a ruler or my finger but it was fiddly and the game didn't seem worth it. It's a shame because that could have been a way to turn this from a book into a game. We often play 'guess the Friends episode from the Emojis' on Whatsapp and it's quite a fun one, so I saw the potential in this book immediately.

Other than that, this is a fun book that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's a perfect stocking filler and can span the ages from teens who love Emojis to their grandparents who fail to understand them. If I was writing this on my phone, I'd put a thumbs up right about here.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

If you're a fan of books for Christmas, also have a look at our Top Ten Books For Your Girlfriend or Top Ten Books For Your Boyfriend

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Buy How to Speak Emoji by Fred Benenson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Speak Emoji by Fred Benenson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy How to Speak Emoji by Fred Benenson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Speak Emoji by Fred Benenson at


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