Emoji in Chinese

Recently I read an article about emoji on different platforms. The author says “But different platforms display the same emoji specification in different ways…That can lead to all kinds of misunderstanding.” This makes me think it’s not only a problem caused by different devices, it might cause more misunderstanding due to different cultures. One example is

prayThis emoji is always used as “pray” in China because it looks like a “pray” sign in Buddhism while it’s “high five” in Western. So I try to find some emoji on QQ (the most popular IME in China) and see how it’s different from the version you are familiar with.


QQ version: 吓吓(xià) – appalled

什么鬼(shénme guǐ)!What the hell is it?

QQ version: 奋斗奋斗(fèndòu) – try the best!!!!

我绝不放弃(wǒ jué bù fàngqì)! I will never give up!

QQ version: 闭嘴闭嘴(bìzuǐ) – shut your mouth

Although 闭嘴(bìzuǐ) literally used to ask others to shut up, this emoji is always used to express oneself won’t say a word.

QQ version: 困困(kùn) – so tired, sleepy.

我困死了(wǒ kùn sǐ le). I am tired to death.

QQ version: 惊恐惊恐(jīngkǒng) – so scared

I can’t find “scream”. Maybe we are too scared to scream.

QQ version: 抓狂抓狂(zhuākuáng) – freak out

我要抓狂了(wǒ yào zhuākuáng le)。I freak out!

QQ version: 发怒发怒(fānù) – rage

Nothing to say. I am just on fire.

QQ version: 流汗流汗(liúhàn) – sweat screaming

This is quite similar as others.

QQ version: 色色(sè) – lustful.

It’s interesting that although most Chinese use this one to express “like, love, fond of”, the official specification is pretty negative.

There is one that isn’t mentioned in the article but I have to show you. 无语无语(wúyǔ) – don’t know what to say. I think it’s more like “翻白眼(fānbáiyǎn) – roll one’s eye”.

我室友说我很喜欢翻白眼(wǒ shìyǒu shuō wǒ hěn xǐhuan fānbáiyǎn)。

My roommate says that I like to roll my eyes.


Come on, who cares.