It was once dubbed "penmanship for illiterates", but emojis - the little symbols used to punctuate digital communications - have become so mainstream that 92% of the world's 3.2billion internet users admit to using them. Emojis have even been cited, successfully, in courtrooms from Israel to France as evidence of intent. These icons range from the expressive - yellow cartoonish faces crying with laughter, looking angry, happy, sad, and so on - to the figurative - a dancing lady in a red dress; hands clasped in prayer; an avocado; a pizza slice - to the scatological - see the smiling pile of excrement emoji for further elucidation. Now numbering more than 2,600, they have become an essential part of modern discourse. Their use is even spilling over into the workplace since they were loaded on to Apple users' desktops in 2011. One US study found that 76% of respondents had sent the symbols to a colleague in a work e-mail. However, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in I...

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