Berlin. Emoji are everywhere: small faces, colorful hearts, cute animals and hand signals. They occur in messenger services such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Trima where people write to each other, post holiday pictures on Instagram or exchange ideas on Facebook and Twitter. We express our feelings with small faces. One of the biggest benefits of emojis: Everyone understands them, young or old, or wherever you come from. Well, you might think so. But is it really like that?
Some, like the classic happy emoji or the more famous “smiling teardrop” face, everyone recognizes – with some the material is a little misleading.
Service staff instead of negligence
Some examples: The cat with the wide open nose is not afraid of a dog, but is really tired. The face with big eyes and red cheeks should not express surprise, but shame. The bent arm holder is a service person who really wants to help. Instead, the image is often used for the expression “I don’t care”. Crimson, the evil-looking face looks angry, but indicates a beating.
But who really determines the meaning? The non-profit Unicode Association, which is responsible for the development and standardization of emojis, also offers advice on how to use images properly.
Emoji meanings vary around the world
Still: “There are a lot of emojis that lead to conflicts. You can put your foot down very quickly, ”says Stephen Poppart, a linguist at the University of Duisburg. For example, emoji that create a circle between the index finger and thumb. “For us, this is a ‘OK sign’, but in other countries it has the same meaning of the finger,” the expert explains. Procedure: If you do not know the use of certain emojis, you can specify “Emojipedia.org“Read (in English).
Although “emoji” and “emoticon” (a combination of letters, punctuation and special characters that make up faces) have the prefix “emo”, the Japanese word “emotion” has nothing to do with emotion. Translated it means “image characters”. Misunderstandings may arise because small pictograms originally came from Japan, mainly due to cultural differences.
Compost pile with a face: a sign of good luck in Japan
The face, which exits with small clouds of steam from the nose, resists. “In Japanese it is understood very differently, meaning success or success, but with us it is like anger or bad mood,” says Poppert. Even the little dog boob with the smiling face is not uniformly described everywhere. “In Japan you send this emoji if you want luck to someone like the clover leaf here,” says Christa Dorsheid, a linguist at the University of Zurich.
But not only the culture but also the personal use of some emojis vary greatly. To make matters worse, Google, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and even the pictures depending on the operating system of the smartphone used can be viewed Different Out. So if someone sends an emoji with an iPhone, the recipient with the Samsung smartphone may look a little different than the sender.
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