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Nikita Kandwala, student at Burgess Hill Girls and emoji expert

How the study of emojis lead to a place at Oxford

One A-level student's Extended Project Qualification gained her an A*, cementing her place on a Linguistics degree

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 22, 2016 | Secondary

An A-level student’s interest in the language of emoji and emoticons has led to a place at Oxford to study Linguistics. 

Nikita Kandwala’s Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) investigated the extent to which emojis and emoticons constitute a bona fide language and gained her an A*, along with her A* for her Spanish A-level. She is now going to read Spanish and Linguistics at Hertford College, Oxford. 

Now a common feature of our online communications, emojis are Japanese idiograms which show expressions, objects, places, weather, animals and more. Emojis originated on Japanese mobile phones in the late 1990s and have now become ubiquitous on a range of modern smartphones. 

Nikita attends Burgess Hill Girls, where 88% of language A-levels achieved a record A*-A grade. 

Modern foreign languages are alive and well in other Girls’ Schools Association schools too, as A-level students celebrate success in a wide range of languages including Chinese, Russian, French, Spanish and German. 

At Heathfield School in Ascot, 100% of modern foreign language candidates - French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Russian recorded all A*-A grades. At Leweston School 50% of modern foreign language grades -  across six different language options - were A*-A and in Birmingham 34% of Year 13 students at King Edward VI High School for Girls took at least one modern foreign language in French, Spanish, German or Italian.

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