Every year, official arbiters of online expression at the Unicode Consortium consider new ways for vocabulary-deficient people to express themselves online. It’s a long and drawn-out process for new emoji to be added to the official Unicode list, which means that we’re already looking at the emoji under consideration for next year.

Candidates for new emoji next year now include a service dog, every possible combination of couples holding hands, and a deaf person. In total, there are 179 new emoji characters short-listed for inclusion in Emoji 12.0, a new version of our favorite tiny pictures that will be released in the first half of next year.

There are 61 unique emoji characters being considered for inclusion, and when you take into account variants of the same character (for example, changes to skin or hair color) the total number of different characters is 179. According to Emojipedia, the 61 unique characters are:

The vote on approval of the new characters will happen in September, with the changes rolling out in Unicode 12.0, which will be published in the first quarter of 2019. From there, it’s up to software manufacturers to include the new characters in their updates, so don’t expect to see the new emoji on your device until the middle of 2019 at the earliest.

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