Berlin. Little faces, colorful hearts, cute animals and hand gestures: emoji are ubiquitous. They happen when people text each other in messenger services like WhatsApp, Telegram or Threema, post vacation photos on Instagram or exchange ideas on Facebook and Twitter. We express our feelings with small faces. One of the biggest advantages of emoji: Everyone understands them, whether young or old, or where you come from. Well, you can think so. But is it really so?
Some, like the classic happy emoji or the very popular “laughing tears” face, everyone recognizes – with some others the meaning is a little confusing.
service worker indifference
Some examples: A cat with a wide open muzzle is not afraid of the dog, but is actually tired. A face with big eyes and red cheeks should not be surprising, but should be an expression of shame. A person with folded hands is a truly service person who loves to help. Instead, the picture is mostly used for the expression “I don’t care”. And the crimson, wicked-looking face looks angry, but is believed to represent pats.
But who really determines the meaning? The non-profit Unicode Consortium, which is responsible for the development and standardization of emoji, also provides advice on how images should be used correctly.
Emoji have different meanings around the world
And yet: “There are many emoji that can cause conflict. You can put your foot down too quickly,” says linguist Stephen Papert of the University of Duisburg. Take, for example, the emoji in which the index finger and thumb form a circle “To us, it’s an ‘ok sign’, but in other countries it has the same meaning as a finger,” explains the expert. Practical: If you’re unsure about the use of certain emoji, you can mention it. can”emojipedia.org“Read (in English).
Even though “emoji” as well as “emoticon” (words for combining letters, punctuation marks, and special characters that make up faces) have the prefix “emo”, the Japanese words “emotion” and emotion have nothing to do with it. have to. Translated it simply means “picture character”. Since the small pictograms originally came from Japan, misunderstandings can arise, mainly due to cultural differences.
Manure pile with face: a sign of good luck in Japan
Bloated face, small clouds of steam coming out of the nose, looks rough. “In Japanese it is understood quite differently, namely as victory or victory, but with us it is more like anger or a bad mood,” says Papert. Even small dog poop with a smiling face is not interpreted the same way everywhere. “In Japan you wish someone good luck, like a clover leaf here you send this emoji,” says linguist Krista Durschied of the University of Zurich.
But not only the cultural but also the personal use of certain emoji varies greatly. To make matters worse, you may also see images from Google, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and more depending on the operating system of the smartphone used. Different outside. So if someone sends an emoji with an iPhone, the recipient with a Samsung smartphone might give a slightly different impression than what the sender intended.
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