Emoji have been with us barely 20 years and gained popularity in the 2010’s, when more and more communication systems starting introducing them in their keyboard choice. Remarkably, they caught on in all cultures, even if they originated in Japan, and became an integral part of our everyday communication – to the extent that in 2015, Oxford dictionaries named the face with tears of joy emoji (😂) the Word of the Year!
So what are emoji? Well, to understand it better, let’s look at the etymology of the word, which, of course, is Japanese – emoji (Japanese: 絵文字) is a word that really has nothing to do with emotions – they are pictograms (絵 is a drawing, while 文字 is a symbol). So they are images that stand in for words, a thing that is not dissimilar to the use of Chinese characters, where some still remind us of the original ‘form’ of the concept they describe (for example you can easily remember that 川 is a river, 山 is a mountain, or 森 is a forest). In the same way, you can easily remember that 🐣 is a hatching chick, or that 💄 is a bar of lipstick. But, unlike Chinese characters, they can gain new meanings, depending on how the users interpret them. The hatching chick can be used when seeing the truth with clarity for the first time, just like a chick that’s just been hatched, while the bar of lipstick can be used to express one keeping their cool in difficult situations.
As tomorrow is the World Emoji Day (Jul-17), I thought we’d look at the presence of emoji on stamps (which is rapidly growing, and making emoji one of the cutest topical interests there is). Why Jul-17? Well, the calendar emoji (📅) displays that date!
Continue reading “Emoji on Stamps”