June 17, 2024

Emojis are often used incorrectly

Emojis are often used incorrectly


Huge selection of emojis. Photo: Jörg Carstensen / dpa / dpa-tmn


(Photo: dpa)

» With little faces, we express our feelings. One of the biggest advantages of emojis: everyone understands them, whether young or old or where you come from. Well, you might think so. But is it really so?

Some, like the classic happy emoji or the very common “tears of laughter” face, everyone recognizes – but with others the meaning is a bit misleading.

Tired cat and helpful service staff

Some examples: A cat with an open snout is not afraid of a dog, but it is really tired. A face with big eyes and red cheeks should not express astonishment but rather shame. A person with a bowed hand is actually a service person who loves to help. Instead, the image is mostly used for the expression “I don’t care”. And the evil scarlet face looks angry, but it’s supposed to represent a frown. If you are not sure about using some emoji, you can refer to Emoji Copy Pasta or Emojipedia.org

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But who really defines the meaning? The non-profit Unicode Consortium, which is responsible for developing and standardizing emojis, also gives advice on how to use images properly.

However: “There are a number of emojis that can lead to conflicts. You can put your foot down very quickly,” says linguist Stephen Papert of the University of Duisburg-Essen. For example, an emoji in which the index finger and thumb form a circle. The expert explains: “For us, this is a ‘fine sign’, but in other countries it has the same meaning as a finger.”

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Even if “emoji” as well as “emoticon” (a term referring to the combinations of characters, punctuation, and special characters that make up faces) contain the prefix “emo”, the Japanese word for “emotion” and feeling has nothing to do with it. Its translation simply means “figurative figures”. Since the small pictograms originally come from Japan, misunderstandings may arise, mainly due to cultural differences.

With us in the challenge, he won in other cultures

The swollen face, with a small steam pull from the nose, looks defiant. “In Japanese it is understood completely differently, victorious or victory, but for us it is more like anger or bad mood,” Papert says. Even the poop of a small dog with a smiley face is not interpreted the same way everywhere. “In Japan you send this emoji when you wish him luck, like a clover leaf here,” says linguist Christa Dorscheid of the University of Zurich.

But not only the cultural use, but also the individual use of some emojis varies greatly. To make matters worse, you can also view the images on Google, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter depending on the smartphone operating system used Different Outside. So if someone sends an emoji using an iPhone, it may be because the recipient with a Samsung smartphone is giving a slightly different impression than what the sender is meant to do.

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Unicode Consortium: Background on Emoji Meaning

Unicode Consortium: Complete Emoji List