Friday, October 8, 2010

^.^, -'.'-, ^^, and TT: Explained

When I first came to Korea, I noticed that a bunch of my Korean and (Korean ex-pat) friends would always put^^ at the ends of their texts/facebook status updates. I could not figure out what the hell^^ meant--was it some sort of strange new punctuation that people had started adopting in Korea? Was^^ their exclamation point, or question mark, or period? Was is some kind of secret Korean code, something that I would have to be initiated to--perhaps the bizarre trademark of a Super Secret Korean Society?

After nearly a month of confusion, I finally asked my co-worker Krystafre, who told me that people in East Asia use an entirely different set of emoticons than the ones we use in the West. WHO'D A THUNK, right?

Our emoticons at home are usually turned on their side:
:) = happy
:( = sad
;) = sassy wink
:X = whoops, sealed lips, embarrassment
:-/ = skeptical
:-o = shocked

But here, emoticons face upright, and are generally focused on eyes:
^^ = happy eyes
>_< = frustrated
^3^ = kiss
(T_T) = crying
0?0 = what!?
:__: = dissapointment
*_* = love
@.@ = surprise
^_^ = content
and on and on and on. There are sooooo many emoticons here--way more than in the U.S.! My cell phone has over three dozen pre-saved as symbols.

There are also a lot of Korea-specific emoticons which use Korean Hangul characters:
ㅇㅅㅇ = shock
ㅠㅠ = sad
ㅎ_ㅎ = indifference
ㅋ ㅋㅋ is used for laughter--"kee kee kee" is the Korean version of "hee hee hee".

Related: these ads have been all over the subway recently...for a plastic surgery clinic. They offer "before" and "after" emoticons for various body parts (breasts, stomach, face, and eyes, if you look closely). GAG

I scream on the inside whenever I see this >_<

Anyways, now you'll know I'm not making weird typos whenever you see TT in my posts here^^

1 comment:

  1. I use these emoticons as well, and I live in Europe. People around me often get confused by that, except for the community interested in Asia xD I used to try to not send them to people who don't know them, but I failed so many times that I don't care anymore.
    I remember that at school, I used to draw the frustrated one by the hard questions in tests. Teacher never understood what was that for xD