Canadians Love Poop, Americans Love Pizza: How Emojis Fare Worldwide
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
There are universal languages, like love and music and math. And in the era of the smartphone, you can add emojis to that list.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Yes, emojis. Those are those colorful, little icons - the happy face many people know - that have become essential for text messaging.
INSKEEP: Well, not quite essential. I get away without them.
INSKEEP: But anyway, a new study by the British company SwiftKey analyzed how 800 different emojis are used in various languages across the globe.
JOE BRAIDWOOD: The overall thing we noticed is that 70 percent of all emojis sent are positive, and so that's probably a good thing that we're talking to each other positively and using emoji to enhance that.
INSKEEP: Smiley face.
MONTAGNE: That would be Joe Braidwood's opinion, SwiftKey's chief marketing officer. He says that no matter where you are, people mostly use happy faces. But that's not the whole story.
BRAIDWOOD: Where it gets really interesting is if you look at the quarter of emoji used by people that aren't happy faces or hearts or sad faces.
INSKEEP: For example, in Canada.
BRAIDWOOD: Canadians lead the charge in their use of money, violence, sports-related, raunchy and even the poop emoji.
INSKEEP: He just said that. Canadians love the smiling poop icon.
MONTAGNE: Americans are a close second to their northern neighbors in their use of the gun emoji. And down under, well, it's a party.
BRAIDWOOD: In Australia, we found that emojis that reference drugs, alcohol, junk food and holidays were used much more than any other nation.
INSKEEP: Right. Arabic speakers use the rose emoji 10 times more than any other group.
BRAIDWOOD: On a slightly less positive note, one of the really fascinating things that we found out is U.S. Spanish speakers were the most negative.
INSKEEP: Now, Braidwood says Spanish-speaking Americans are the heaviest users of the sad face.
MONTAGNE: Then there's the entire category of food emojis.
BRAIDWOOD: Pizza was one of the most frequently used in the U.S. as well as the chicken drumstick, and it sort of, I think, shows you that, versus other nations, you guys have particular food habits.
INSKEEP: Particular, which is one way of saying that Americans love greasy junk food. Maybe he said that with a winky face. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.