The language of emojis

Languages are different around the world and somehow reflect different ways of understanding the reality around us. Some say that music is the universal language and these days many people would say that emojis are too…but do we all use them in the same way?

Swiftkey, -a software company that makes keyboards for iOS and Android phones- has recently published a report about global emoji usage. They analyzed more than one billion emojis over a period of four months in 16 languages and studied trends and preferences according to country and language. Their results reveal very interesting information about how culture, climate and even geography can influence our choice of emojis.

Most popular emoji categories

How true are national stereotypes?

Canadians are the biggest users of emojis that are considered more “American” (money, erotic, violence, sports) while Australians double the average use of alcohol emojis, using 65% more drug emojis. Australians are also the leaders for junk food and holiday emojis.

Alcohol emojis percentage

Americans double the average use of meaty (What do you mean here?) emojis and LGTB too.

Junk food emoji use in English speaking countries

What country do you think is the biggest user of love and wedding emojis?

Yes, you’re right, it’s France. The French use heart emojis four times more than the average! Interestingly, Russians use three times more romantic emojis (kiss marks, love letter, couple kissing) than the average. Brazilians on the other hand use religious emojis more than twice the average and are also the biggest music emoji users. And yes, Spanish users use the “party time” emoji 72% more often than the average.

Emoji sentiment faces and percentages

Weather is also an important influence on emoji usage. Plants, flowers, fruits, insects, stars and hot weather emojis are most popular in Arabic countries, while cold weather symbols (snow, rain, etc) are used twice as often as the average in Russia while Brazil – oh, surprise!- uses these emojis the least.

Weather emoji percentages in different cultures

Finally, the question you must be asking yourself: who are the greatest fart and poop users? Well, the answer is Malaysians, who shockingly double the average. They score similar results for sleepy emojis.

Possibly the most remarkable piece of data on this report is the fact that “positive” emojis (for example happy faces) are the most popular globally, with an overwhelming 70%, while “negative” ones are only used 15% of the time. The happiest people on Earth are the French (86%), while Malaysians are “less happy”, with a usage of only 60%. US Spanish speakers are the population that uses negative emojis more often (22%), while the global average is 14%. I guess that a smile always works and that is something that we all have in common, even in the digital world!

Emoji happy face types and global percentages

Interested? You can have a look at the original report here, which includes lots of tables and graphs that might change your mind about the world of emojis…

Vocabulary

  • Usage (noun): Use, something done by custom
  • Report (n): a detailed account of a study, event, situation, etc., usually based on what one has observed or asked questions about.
  • Trend (n): the way or direction things tend to go; style; vogue, especially in the context of fashion.
  • Average (adj): used in statistics, the number that results from adding several quantities together and then dividing that total by the number of quantities that were added.

Do you agree with the results of the study? Did you find anything particularly shocking or interesting?

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