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Learning English through emojis

Different emoji displayed on a phone screen.
Different emojis displayed on a phone screen.

ABC

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Emojis have become such an important part of our communication in the digital world. July 17 is World Emoji Day and to commemorate the day, we're looking at some of Australia's favourite emojis and what they mean in English.

What are emojis?

An 'emoji' is a two dimensional image used to express an emotion, object or an idea. The plural form is 'emojis'.

"I cannot go without using emojis when I reply to someone."

"The first World Emoji Day was celebrated on 17 July 2014."

Emojis originated from Japan but only gained popularity in recent years as more people started using them on social media.

July 17 is chosen as the day for World Emoji Day because that is the date displayed on the calendar emoji on Apple and Android devices.

Calendar emoji
Calendar emoji used on mobile devices.

Supplied: Emojipedia

Emojis can mean the same thing when you use it in a sentence written in English or any other language. You can use a few emojis together to make a sentence.

Emojis can also help you as a language learner. Here's how:

  • If you are struggling to find the words to say something, symbols can come in handy to help you complete your sentence
  • You can show a symbol to someone and learn the English word from there
  • You can develop your vocabulary and understanding by trying to guess what certain emojis mean and find related words

Let's take a look at some of the most popular emojis in Australia:

Australia's most popular emojis
Australia's most popular emojis.

ABC

The crying smiley emoji is used to express tears of joy or laughter. The phrase 'tears of joy' refers to being so happy that it makes you cry. You say you 'shed' tears.

"She shed tears of joy when she won the competition for the first time."

Note the noun 'smiley' comes from the word 'smile'.

The thumbs up emoji is another one that is popular. When someone gives you a thumbs up, it can mean 'good job' or 'well done'. It can also mean 'ok'.

Also popular in Australia is the clapping hands emoji which can also be used when you want to say 'good job'. You can also use it if you want to say 'congratulations'.

The party popper emoji is used to when you are talking about a celebration or a party.

However, critics argue that the same emoji could take on different meanings depending on the people using it and the context. One thing is for certain though - emojis are here to stay!

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