Revolutionizing Conversations One Emoji at A Time

By: Cheryl

By: Ashley Tulio, Communication Specialist

Today emojis have become an integral part of our everyday communication. Who knew that a little graphic on a phone screen can help us convey and enhance our messages to others? Emojis give meaning and add emotion to an otherwise ambiguous statement. Many emojis have a few different purposes, and various combinations of emojis can potentially mean something entirely different than what the original emojis signify. Over the past 20 years, emojis have transcended language barriers and are easy to understand and adopt.

Where did Emojis Originate?

The first emoticons date back to 1999 and originate from early chatrooms. Emoticons were combinations of symbols that would help one express their emotion through text. For example, the first two emojis were “: – )”, expressing happiness and “: – (“ which represented sadness.

A Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita saw these basic emoticons and decided to improve upon them. His vision was to develop an entire interface to convey information visually. For example, to communicate “it’s sunny outside,” you would just send a tiny image of the sun.

Kurita developed the original 176 emoji, which are now part of the permanent collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His emojis prioritized symbols, concepts and objects over faces because he felt they would be more informative and niche.

Google saw the potential that emojis had, and in 2007 they requested that the Unicode Consortium recognize and create universal standards around emojis, a universal character encoding scheme.

The text you are reading right now is composed of Unicode characters. The universal standard for each character allows them to be displayed on any computer and browser worldwide. So, when you type the letter “x”, it will still be “x” on every other computer or program that complies with universal character encoding.

Two years later, in 2009, two Apple engineers, Yasuo Kida and Peter Edberg, submitted an official proposal to the Unicode Consortium to adopt 625 new emoji characters into the Unicode Standard. This proposal was accepted in 2010, recognizing emojis as a legitimate form of communication. Finally, in 2011, Apple added an emoji keyboard to all their devices through an iOS update with Android following their emoji keyboard and emoji interface soon after.

Importance of expression

Emojis are an integral part of digital communication. With the internet being all about speed and expression efficiency, nothing comes close to emojis. Emojis stand out on blank internet pages and comment sections and are instantly recognizable. They provide instant access to other people’s emotions, which helps everyone understand each other better. In addition, at times, it may be challenging to understand the tone of the language in a message, whether it is serious or sarcastic; however, emojis can distinguish this as they add a more positive and fun aspect. Emojis can also make your comment universally understandable. It’s a language that is only 20 years old, and yet no other form of communication is recognized all over the world. Even if both users speak different languages or have cultural barriers, they can still recognize what is being said by just interpreting the emojis.

Emoji meanings

Overtime with the growth of pop-culture the meaning and representation of emoji has changed drastically. Some emoji’s that mean completely different from what they look like are –

Fire emoji 🔥

This emoji isn’t used to refer to something that is literally on fire but instead something cool, awesome, exciting, or, more colloquially, “on fire.”

Upside-Down Face 🙃

This emoji can have several meanings, which genuinely depends on the context in which it is being used and the user’s personality. The emoji can be used to express silliness, sarcasm, irony, and passive aggression.

Eyes 👀

This emoji is used when someone wants to highlight something they are talking about and would have their eyes pointed at such a statement or post. It can also mean something is suspicious or conspicuous.

Example of a Conversation only with emojis

Nowadays, emojis convey significant meaning where you can have entire conversations using only emojis! Emojis started as small, pixelated images and now have developed into a form of language that is understood by the majority of people worldwide.

MCIS’ Interpretation Services

When interpreting facial expressions and body language plays a large part when truly understanding one’s message.

MCIS interpretation services include telephone interpretation, face-to-face, message relay, conference interpretation, remote simultaneous interpretation, and video interpretation with live intake 24/7/365! To learn more about interpretation services that MCIS offers, quality control measures to ensure consistent and reliable interpretation, or to request a service, click here!

 

References:

https://summalinguae.com/language-culture/emergence-of-emoji-as-a-universal-language/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/books/review/because-internet-gretchen-mcculloch.html