Emoticons are an important part of text messages and emails in Korea. People use them to soften their words, express emotion, and generally find polite and indirect ways of asking/saying something respectfully. We’ve covered some of the Korea ones-see examples below. These can be written using Korean or English letters.

Korean emoticons
TT โ€“ eyes crying (describing a sad situation)
^^ – eyes up (making something seem light or expressing happiness-useful for asking someone to do something for you)-similar to ๐Ÿ™‚
OTL-from the left side, the O is a head touching the floor, T is the body with hands to the floor, and L is the legs kneeling. Means you are banging your head on the ground when you feel frustrated or disappointed.
hh or hhh โ€“ Soft laugh (joking together with someone but not directed at either person)
Kk or kkk โ€“ When you make a joke at someoneโ€™s expense (about them) (k is supposed to be the sound of laughter)

For many Western adults, emoticons are considered childish or too cute, and except for the smile/frown/sly faces, they’re infrequently used. Check out this link. Itโ€™s supposed to be humorous, but I can honestly see a use for some of these in Western emails and messages.^^

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