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… particularly in the context of romance, when they are given to texting the … piece of communication or a message from an adult with an emoji.

A new digital divide has popped up, and at its animated heart is a winky face with a tongue sticking out. (Mark Pernice/The New York Times) — NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH STORY SLUGGED MEN EMOJI BY MATT HABER. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED. —

Right now, it’s likely that someone you know is texting a thumbs-up image to confirm a meeting or maybe sending off a friendly ghost emoji to a friend.

Men aren’t comfortable with emoji. Women embrace them, but given their resemblance to the stickers that adorn the notebooks of schoolgirls, not to mention their widespread adoption as the lingua franca of tweens and teens everywhere, emoji strike terror in hearts of many a man.

“Women tend to be more overtly expressive in language,” said John McWhorter, a linguist who teaches at Columbia University.

He would like to see men face their emoji fears head on — or, thumbs on, as the case may be. Emoji, he said, allow for an expressive, human way of translating the spoken word into text, with the goofy symbols providing a texter or tweeter with the means to convey tone.

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