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Hawaii to Unicode: hang loose emoji

Alexander Alexeenko - 22.04.20

Hang loose emoji, goes back to “tovitjo,” in South Africa, is a gesture that shows openness and friendly intentions. It belongs to the subculture of surfing. It consists of extending the thumb and smallest fingers, holding the three middle fingers folded, and in greeting, showing the front or back of the hand; the arm can rotate back and forth for emphasis.


1. What meaning has hang loose emoji

Residents of Hawaii use hang loose emoji to convey the “Spirit of Aloha,” a concept of friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity between the various ethnic cultures living in Hawaii that lack direct semantic and literal translation. Hang loose emoji can also be used for “Thank you, huh?” And "everything is in order!". Drivers often use it on the road to convey distant greetings and thanks.

2. Hang loose emoji in America

In California, the hang loose emoji may be referred to as “hanging loose” or “hanging ten,” both related to the surfer culture. This gesture is widely used in the American culture of hang gliding for both feelings and word games, partly due to the simultaneous growth of surfing and hang gliding in California in the 1960s and 1970s. It is also widely used among triathletes, skydivers, base jumpers, wakeboarders, scuba divers, paragliders, pilots, skateboarders and speed pilots.

Along coastal Brazil, the hang loose emoji sign known as “hangs out” (also obtained from the eponymous apparel brand that uses shaku as a logo) is a common gesture; Ronaldinho usually celebrated the goals he scored, giving the crowd a double goal. In Brazil, on the Atlantic coast, this sign is popular among wrestlers practicing martial arts.

The earliest known use of the first two, with three commas or lowercase letters “m” corresponding to the three middle fingers of the hand, dates back to 2006. The latter, similar to the first, except that it represents a thumb stretched horizontally (as if perpendicular to the wrist) is communicated with the first profile from Brigham Young University in 2016.

Iconography comes with increased interest and sometimes declines. Emoji will grow due to special seasonal holidays, or because it's the engagement season, Christmas, or because it's the holiday season. The images and symbols that we intuitively choose in order to use in the over-e-mail eloquently speak about our condition and mood. They are a reflection of the cultural context.

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