Yes I do speak Emoji

The emoji with steam coming out of its nose is the triumph emoji?

Wait, what? I always thought it was an angry emoji showing its rage. At least that is how I’ve been using it for the past 3 years or so. The reason I’m on this today is one of the student workers here is looking online at emoji translations, what are they supposed to mean? It’s actually really funny because he is a very literal person who started dating a girl and is trying to decipher what she is saying to him when she uses them. I always thought I was pretty fluent in emoji, but to me using emoji’s is like reading a poem, or hearing a song, you attach the meaning to it and different emoji’s can mean different things to different people. On top of communicating via text where there is no tone, no inflection of voice we now are dealing with pictures that could mean, and all the different ways they can be interpreted (or mis-interpreted). I’m still a fan despite this. Sometimes I feel like they describe the way I’m feeling more quickly and efficiently than words can, but I guess that depends on how well the person that you are sending it to knows you and your communication style.

Emoji’s are used today in America now due to their popularity with the iPhone. But they have been around since the 90’s in Japan used on mobile devices and web based messengers and pages. You may also hear the term emoticon but I think that this is used to represent the actual typography of a face for example :- ) would be an emoticon, whereas the actual picture is an emoji. Emoji’s themselves have evolved over the years in look and number of available ones for use, and they are regulated by something called Unicode. So what is Unicode?

About the Unicode Consortium

The Unicode Consortium was founded to develop, extend and promote use of the Unicode Standard, which specifies the representation of text in modern software products and standards. The Consortium is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The membership of the Consortium represents a broad spectrum of corporations and organizations in the computer and information processing industry. The Consortium is supported financially through membership dues and donations. Membership in the Unicode Consortium is open to organizations and individuals anywhere in the world who support the Unicode Standard and wish to assist in its extension and implementation. All are invited to contribute to the support of the Consortium’s important work by making a donation. (Unicode, 2016) Retrieved from:

So basically it’s an effort to bring standards to characters and symbols processed by computers. And they have this really cool table of what each emoji represents and how it appears across different platforms.

Unicode table v 4.0

My favorite part about this, you guessed it… The keywords on the right hand side. Click on one and you will get an expanded table in which each emoji for a particular keyword pops up. This is amazing. The organization, the clarity, the relationship between emoji’s. Wow, I’m going a little deep on this one, but really if you are going to be texting these days, or corresponding with anybody via text you need to know what they really mean. So, for anybody who isn’t sure what the hell their friend, lover, mom, or whoever is saying with these, check it out. It even explains the Japanese symbols that I know you know nothing about and have never used. So read up, use them right and impress somebody with your emoji literacy.


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