Emoji and Emoticon Management

Natural Language Processing has diverse applications. It encompasses sentiment analysis for understanding emotions in text, chatbots and virtual assistants that interact with users, text classification and categorization for organizing information, named entity recognition to extract specific entities, machine translation for language conversion, text summarization for condensing content, question answering systems for providing relevant answers, and information extraction to retrieve structured data.

Text preprocessing is a crucial initial step in working with text data for above applications. It involves transforming raw text into a cleaner and more manageable format to facilitate subsequent analysis. Some common preprocessing techniques include tokenization, which splits text into individual words or tokens; lowercasing, which converts all text to lowercase; removing punctuation and special characters; handling stop words (common words like "the" and "and" that provide little information); stemming or lemmatization to reduce words to their base form; and handling emojis and emoticons. Effective text preprocessing ensures that the text data is normalized, standardized, and ready for further analysis and modeling in NLP applications.

This article primarily focuses on the handling of emojis and emoticons in text preprocessing.

Photo by Scotsman.com

What is an emoji? 

An emoji is a small graphical symbol or icon used in digital communication to express emotions, convey ideas, or add visual context to written messages. 

Some of the emojis and their meaning 

😀Grinning face Faces with open mouths

😂LOL (Laughing Out Loud)

😅Grinning sweating face

😘Blowing a kiss

😤Steam from nose 

🤮Vomiting face

What is an Emoticon?

An emoticon is a representation of facial expressions or emotions using punctuation marks, numbers, and letters. Emoticons are typically used in text-based communication to convey emotions, attitudes, or intentions. 

Some of the emoticons and their meaning 

:-) Smile :-( Sad :'- (Crying :-* A kiss :-o Wow!

Handling of emojis and emoticons:

Removing emojis/emoticons from text for analysis may not be advisable. They can convey strong emotional information, especially in sentiment analysis. Retaining them preserves valuable contextual cues, enhancing the accuracy and understanding of the text analysis process.

Converting emojis to their corresponding word format is a preferable approach for text analysis techniques.

Installation & Import Library:

Replacing emoji with text:


Python codes for converting emoticons into word format

Replacing emoticons with text: 



Effectively handling emojis and emoticons is crucial in text processing and analysis. These visual elements play a significant role in modern communication, conveying emotions and adding nuance to messages. While it may be tempting to remove them during text analysis, doing so can result in the loss of valuable information, particularly in sentiment analysis. Instead, adopting techniques such as mapping emojis to their textual representations can help preserve their meaning. Additionally, considering context and cultural variations is important when interpreting emojis and emoticons. By understanding and properly handling these expressive elements, researchers and practitioners can enhance the accuracy and insights gained from text analysis tasks.

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  1. https://medium.com/geekculture/text-preprocessing-how-to-handle-emoji-emoticon-641bbfa6e9e7
  2. https://github.com/NeelShah18/emot

Written by - Manohar Pali