The Misuse of Emojis in Social Media: The Case of Kurdish Facebook Users

1Chovin A. Abdullah, 2Assistant Lecturer Karwan K. Abdalrahman

ELT Department, Faculty of Education, Tishk International University

[email protected]

[email protected]


Writing in online platforms does not have the animate qualities of face-to-face interactions. In a real context, people use body language, gestures, and facial expressions. They show different thoughts and emotions of the speaker to the listener. This lack of body animation has resulted in creating an anonymous and a vague social situation in digital communication. The invention of kaomoji, emoticon, and emoji was a unique step toward solving the issues in online writing. It was a step to make digital writing animate and alive. As there are different gestures, body language movements, and facial expressions, the same is true about having different emojis. There are thousands of emojis and a lot of Kurdish users do not know where, when and how to use them. The misuse of emojis create misunderstandings on the level of language and socialization. This study tries to understand the factors behind misusing emojis among Kurdish Facebook users. In this regard, there are a selected number of emojis used by Kurdish users to express their modes of feelings and thoughts in all circumstances. In most cases, the misused emoji does not fit the topic of the sender or vice versa. To tackle the current issue under consideration, ten visual documents are taken from the posts of Kurdish Facebook users in the year 2021 in Erbil and Sulaimani in Iraq. These posts express different social situations. The researchers used Microsoft Excel to analyze the collected data. To explain the misuse of emojis, they used C. S. Pierce’s theory of signs. The results of the current study demonstrate that almost all users fail to select a right emoji for the situation under consideration. Mostly, their use of emojis is not accurate and relevant. Of course, this misuse creates problems for both sides, the addresser and the addressee. The researchers recommend the Kurdish users to know the reasons behind their emoji selection, otherwise they should not use them. The same scenario is true in educational settings. Finally, the researchers present their recommendations for the educational institutions to avoid these issues of miscommunication in their academia.  

Keywords: Electronic medium, Language and internet, Online communication, Misuse of emojis

Doi: 10.23918/vesal2022a25