Would you like to study the world of emojis?

Collins English Dictionary defines an emoji as “a small image used in electronic mail and text messaging to express an idea, such as a smiling face to express happiness” (Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers). The word “emoji” originates from the Japanese “e” (picture) and “moji” (letter).


With the growing use of emojis, it might not be surprising to read about opportunities to study and understand them. So, here is my translation of an article which recently appeared on Der Postillon, a satirical German website.



Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Emojiology: First university offers degree course on interpreting emojis

Emoji lecture

Munich (dpo) – Emojis are playing an increasingly important role in our lives, but often when trying to interpret the ideograms correctly we feel like this: 😳. That’s why the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich has created Germany’s first Institute of Emojiology where you can study Emojiology at graduate, master’s, bachelor’s and PhD level from the forthcoming winter semester.

LMU managed to recruit the prominent Brazilian emojiologist Professor Adriano Madruga as its institute director; he is internationally renowned for his fundamental research in the field of comparative animal emojiology.

“The world of emojis is as fascinating as it is complex,” explains Madruga, who is affectionately named Prof. 😜 by his students. “Most emojis have different display variants as far as skin colour and gender are concerned. Together with regional indicators, there are roughly 97 billion different combinations and numerous new symbols are being added each year.”

The relevant seminar materials are sent to students via WhatsApp.


This is increasingly leading to misunderstandings in digital correspondence, he says. “Just take this emoji which shows its teeth: 😁,” Madruga says. “Some think it’s grinning; others reckon it’s baring its teeth angrily. Such a misunderstanding can destroy entire relationships.”

Emojiological research is therefore necessary, he says, in order to set academic standards and investigate the impacts of emojis on society. The Institute is soon to create professorships in Emoji Linguistics (abbreviation: 💬), Emoji History (🏰🎌), Comparative Emojiology (😘↔😚) and Business Emojiology (💰📈).

There are courses on offer for budding emojiologists as early as this winter semester with titles such as “Advanced seminar: Why is the police officer 👮 male? – Gender stereotyping in emojis”, “Tutorial: Emoji Android/Apple Translation Course”, “Introductory seminar: The three wise monkeys 🙈🙊🙉 – Emojis and Philosophy”, “The Hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians”, “Revision course: Rain, sweat, tears: 💦 and its potential applications” and “Lecture: Why the hell are there lots of emojis in the form of cats’ faces as well? 😺😹😽🙀 One approach”.

In just a few years’ time, the first graduate emojiologists, teachers (Emoji Studies and Sport) and Emoji therapists will then be launching their careers.

pfg, ssi, dan; Photos: Shutterstock; First published on: 5.7.16



The original article can be found here:


This story is completely false of course. I did think the study of emojis could form a module on a linguistics course rather than being an entire degree course or combined course. Mind you, some people do study languages (!)

Have a great summer! Sunshine


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