The conflicting needs of emoji

Asmus Freytag asmusf at
Thu Oct 20 10:38:30 CDT 2022

On 10/20/2022 2:07 AM, Dominikus Dittes Scherkl via Unicode wrote:
> Am 20.10.22 um 00:26 schrieb Marius Spix via Unicode:
>> There is actually a sequence of Unicode characters to clearly describe
>> a “Physics Teacher” without the downsides you have mentioned:
>> U+0050 U+0068 U+0079 U+0073 U+0069 U+0063 U+0073 U+0020 U+0054 U+0065
>> U+0061 U+0063 U+0068 U+0065 U+0072
> This has a different downside: You need to speak english to understand
> it. This is especially what emoji try to circumvent.
> -- 

No. Emoji weren't and aren't used primarily to be language independent. 
In fact, I bet there's much use of emoji that is based on puns and 
similar mechanisms: where the emoji is used to stand for a word in an 
expression in some language where another language (or culture) would 
employ a different word or expression, so that even translating the 
nominal meaning of the emoji wouldn't help you.

Emoji, as opposed to emoticons, were first used widely in Japan, where 
they were used by Japanese communicating with other Japanese thinking in 
Japanese. So, no, that wasn't about circumventing having a shared 
language. More, perhaps, about having a shorthand, or also, perhaps a 
way to express yourself without the directness of using words 
explicitly. The combination of that with a certain cuteness factor, 
would seem sufficient to explain their explosive success in Japan.

You must be thinking about different sets of symbols, like those used on 
laundry tags, or those that appear on car and other equipment controls; 
some have even made the jump to other user interfaces (like, Play, Pause 
and Stop symbols). For those you would be correct in saying that they 
try to be language independent.


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