People flared when the Oxford English Dictionary named (face with tears of joy emoji) the word of the year in 2015. But whether grammar nitpickers like it it or not, emojis are a major complement to modern language, and they’re not going away any time soon. There’s been some debate about what the heck they even mean, especially when you’re texting someone whose emojis don’t look like yours. Hence the recent debate about the interpretation of the grimace emoji. Depending on what app or device you use, the same emoji can appear very different.
Yeah, we find them pretty strange too. Since Whatsapp uses them, Apple Emojis are most common. Even if you’re not an iPhone person, who isn’t on Whatsapp? But what’s really going on with the naming logic for the emojis below?
Some of them seem to make sense. But we find others…a little bit strange.
The above angry looking emojis are a good example. Why would a redder face that seems maybe…”very angry”, translate to pouting? And how do you punctuate emojis anyway? See the full key of emoji’s here if you are having serious doubts about your original assumptions of what your favourite emojis actually mean.
Part of the problem with naming the emotions appropriately could be that many of us aren’t so sensitive to nuanced differences in facial expressions. Can you decode the emotions displayed by the girl in this test posted by the Guardian?
Despite all this emoji confusion, their creators have expanded the way they let us express and represent ourselves. Emojis now include more dynamic activities and varied skin tones instead of a continuous representation of people as smiley yellow.
Of course, sometimes the eye and/or hair colour combinations are a little whack. But, baby steps.
Emojis help us express ourselves by adding meaning and humour to conversations. But they can’t replace language entirely, though that would be an interesting challenge to take on! As long as we’re on the same page as the people we’re communicating with , we’ve achieved what we set out to do.