The conflicting needs of emoji

Garth Wallace gwalla at
Thu Oct 20 19:49:27 CDT 2022

Pretty much every example I’ve seen of using emoji for a text of
significant length or complexity has relied heavily on rebuses.

On Thu, Oct 20, 2022 at 4:48 PM Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode <
unicode at> wrote:

> On 10/20/22 11:38, Asmus Freytag via Unicode wrote:
> > 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.
> >
> A few years ago, I bought The Emoji Haggadah
> (,
> which has essentially the whole text of the Haggadah in emoji.  In
> *English* in emoji, mind you.  So for example I think it tended to use
> 🐇 to mean "rabbi".
> The truly disturbing thing about it was that I found I could read it!!
> Emoji are very definitely culture-centric.  Are they language-centric
> like the string of letters?  Probably not.  I think I have to agree that
> the string of Latin letters is not an acceptable substitute for an
> emoji, but that doesn't mean emoji are a language-free neutral zone of
> graphics.
> ~mark
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