Girl, 12, charged for threatening her school with emojis

Leonardo Boiko leoboiko at
Tue Mar 1 13:44:48 CST 2016

Ah but that is a "majority" by a dictionary/type count.  Due to Zipf's Law,
in language matters we should always distinguish dictionary counts from
actual usage.  E.g. Twitter is very popular in Japan, and I think we'll all
agree that the top used kanji are predominantly modal:

Thomas Dimson's great distributional analysis for Instagram gives us
hashtags that are equivalent to emoji; again, I think it's clear that their
primary use is for modality.

What's more, a lot of emoji which seem to have no "clear emotional
referent" is appropriated for modal purposes.  For example, this thread's
�� �� �� are graphical depictions of objects, but I think you'll all agree
that the girl was expressing a mood; she wasn't saying "gun, knife, bomb".
I'm told that U+1F481, INFORMATION DESK PERSON ��, was taken to be  "sassy
girl" or "hair flick", and from that it became a modality indicator for
sassiness, sarcasm, fabulousness etc.

(I suspect that another major use of emoji, besides modality, is deictic:
"I'm at Tokyo Tower" + Tokyo Tower emoji, "Merry Christmas" +
Christmas-related emoji.  Emotional mood still seems to be to be clearly
the dominant use.)

2016-02-29 21:25 GMT-03:00 Garth Wallace <gwalla at>:

> Some are used to express emotions but many are not: food items,
> animals, landmarks, activities, etc. I think the majority do not have
> clear emotional referents. The original set introduced in Unicode 6.0
> included things like ROASTED SWEET POTATO and TOKYO TOWER.
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 4:04 PM, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at>
> wrote:
> > Today's Japanese emojis are (for most of them) recent inventions; may be
> > there are some earlier tracks in Japanese comics, but you may as well
> find
> > them in comics of America or Europe since the about the 1940's.
> >
> > All these icons were *later* renamed emojis in English and Unicode, but
> > there's a long history of using icons for such emotions Look at the
> little
> > heart drawn near the signature on an handwritten letter or discrete
> > messages, or similar symbols carved by lovers on walls and trees. Or long
> > before as a sign of recognition such as the fish for the first
> Christians in
> > the Roman Empire, or even before in some hieroglyphic inscriptions in
> antic
> > Egyptian, Mayan, and Chinese civilizations since Bronze Age or before.
> >
> > In fact you could also add all the symbols (not necessarily with
> religious
> > meaning) found on graves for expressing that the remaining family of
> friend
> > is missing the defunct.
> > You could also add the similar symbols on jewelry for showing we love
> > someone, or warrior paintings on faces.
> >
> > The modern Japanese Emojis were not the first pictograpic signs to
> express
> > emotions (even if now they have been extended to many other things and
> they
> > are now widespreading the rest of the world with these extensions). Still
> > their main usage remains for emotions ; starting in the 1970's these were
> > ASCII art symbols such as the famous :-)
> >
> >
> >
> > 2016-02-29 23:24 GMT+01:00 Asmus Freytag (t) <asmus-inc at>:
> >>
> >> On 2/29/2016 1:55 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
> >>
> >> . Well emojis were initially designed to track amotions and form a sort
> of
> >> new language,
> >>
> >>
> >> E-moji means "picture-character" in Japanese, has nothing to do (at
> first)
> >> with emotions.
> >>
> >> A./
> >
> >
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