Emoji have become a vital part of modern communication. The little colorful icons are being used to write books, sing songs, even itemize the entire U.S. economy. And of course, many of us don't send texts without them.
So are emojis the next frontier in linguistic anthropology? It may be a while before you have to sit through an undergraduate class on emoji, but a newly released study shows that are some amusing differences in the way people who live in different countries and speak different languages use emoji. SwiftKey, a company that creates mobile keyboard apps, analyzed more than a billion emoji used by speakers of 16 languages around the world between October 2014 and January 2015 from both Android and iOS devices.
Without further ado, here are some of the survey's important new findings:
While most of us have access to a huge variety of emoji -- this report looked at more than 800 of them -- happy faces are still the most common emoji by far, accounting for nearly half of all emoji usage. (Of course, no one knows how many of these happy faces were passive aggressive.)
Americans love random emoji, including skulls, birthday cake and fire. Americans also use 30 percent more LGBT emoji -- the rainbow, men holding hands or women holding hands -- than the global average, as well as more female-oriented emoji. We are also twice as likely to use emojis involving meat.
French speakers use four times as many heart emoji as other languages, and it’s the only language for which the smiley face is not number one (très passé).
Russian speakers use three times as many romantic emoji – the kiss mark, the love letter, and the couple kissing -- as the average. Surprise: They also use a lot more snow.
Brazilians use religious emoji – the prayer hands, the church, the star in night sky – at more than double the average rate.
Malaysians use twice as many sleep, fart and poop emojis as average.
Arabic speakers come off as a lot more refined, using more flowers, plants, fruit, and hot weather emoji.
Among other English speakers, Australia uses double the amount of alcohol-themed emoji and 65 percent more drug emoji than average.
The UK over-indexes for wine and the winking face.
Surprisingly, the polite and peace-loving Canadians score highest in what the report calls "raunchy humor" emoji (the banana, the peach, the eggplant, the cherries, a raised fist), violent emoji (the gun, the knife, the punching fist, fire, an explosion, the skull, the bomb), and money-related emoji. Canadians also love the poop emoji. But can you really blame them?