Think you’re fluent in emoji? Well, get ready for your vocabulary to expand in the next couple of months! As of June, 56 new emojis are on the way to our emoji keyboards. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to learn 56 new emoji meanings – especially because some of the new emojis include a giraffe, a fortune cookie, merpeople, and a “shhhh” emoji!
On June 20, The Unicode Consortium released Unicode 10.0. If “Unicode 10.0” and “Emoji 5.0” sounds confusing – allow me to break it down for you.
Unicode is a character encoding system. Emojis, which are pictures, are encoded so that different devices, platforms, and programs display the same emoji. The design may differ, but the emoji is the same. Every emoji has a single corresponding Unicode code. For example, U+1F35F is the code for the french fries emoji 🍟.
Whenever a new emoji is approved by The Unicode Consortium, it is encoded according the current Unicode standard (Unicode 10.0), and added to the current list of emoji (Emoji 5.0). Got it? Great!
Even though emoji may be a native language for some of us, there are some emojis that leave us wondering what they are and why they exist.
I used Emojipedia to research the meaning behind some of these mysterious emojis – so you don’t have to!
While this might make an excellent jellyfish, this emoji is a wind chime – and not the type we may be used to seeing in North America. This emoji resembles Japanese wind bells or “fūrin.” These beautiful wind bells are often hand-painted and made of glass.
So you might be thinking – “Oh I know this one! I use it as a McDonald’s emoji because it looks like the Golden Arches in their logo!” But deep down, you know it must be a symbol for something else. And you’re right. This yellow M-shaped emoji is called a part alternation mark and it is a form of Japanese punctuation. The part alternation mark is a symbol used in music to indicate the beginning of a song or the start of a singer’s part.
3. Animals and Nature
If you use this emoji to represent bamboo, you aren’t too far off. This is the Tanabata Tree emoji. In Japan, Tanabata is the name for the annual Star Festival that happens on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. One of the Tanabata traditions is to write good wishes on tanzaku (small pieces of colour paper) and attach them to a bamboo tree. This is why the Tanabata Tree is also referred to as a Wish Tree.
I had no idea what this emoji was until I looked it up on Emojipedia. And then I had one of those “Oh yeahhhh!” moments. *facepalm* You can find this anger/vein popping symbol most prevalent in manga and anime.
Out of all of the emojis on this list, this Eye in Speech Bubble emoji has the most interesting background. If you were to use the Apple text-to-speech feature, this emoji is read aloud as: “Eye in speech bubble representing anti-bullying campaign.”
That’s because this emoji is a symbol for the I Am A Witness campaign, which is a collaboration between Adobe, Behance, and The Bully Project. The Eye in Speech Bubble acknowledges that many kids and teens witness bullying but are often too afraid to say anything. The symbol is a way to stand up to bullies by saying, “I see this. I am not going to remain passive to bullying. I will speak up about it.” Don’t let anyone tell you that emojis aren’t powerful!
6. Smiley and People
It’s a purple pixelated blob! It’s a floating green Martian! Nope – it’s an alien monster, the kind you might find in arcade video games. Be careful not to confuse the Alien Monster with the Ogre 👹, Extraterrestrial Alien 👽, Imp 👿, Smiling Devil 😈, or Goblin emoji 👺!
Considering that this emoji precedes the telescope and microscope emojis, it’s safe to say it has something to do with science. That’s because it is an alembic and it is used to distill liquids.
At first glance, this emoji looks like a circle bugle. So why isn’t it amongst the other musical instrument emojis? That’s because this is a postal horn. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the postal horn signalled when the mail coach arrived or departed.
If you asked me what this emoji reminds me of, I would say the computer game Bejeweled – one of those puzzle games where you swap jewels to make a match and clear the board (it’s like the parent of Candy Crush Saga). According to Emojipedia, it is a Diamond Shape with a Dot emoji. Okay. But Emojipedia continues to explain that this while this symbol resembles a flower it is a graphic representation of “kawaii” or “the quality of cuteness” in Japan.
There you have it – you’re ready to impress your friends with your emoji proficiency! I learned a lot writing this post about emojis and I hope you learned a lot too! What emoji meaning did you find the most interesting or surprising?
(All emoji images via Emojipedia.)