Pass inside Khaleeji joke with new Arab emoji app
dubai — Ever get the feeling that a lot of important details get lost in translation? Or that there aren’t enough emojis to properly convey an inside joke in your culture?
With the launch of Halla Walla, users will soon be able to use special stickers that will allow them to portray the Khaleeji culture in their conversations. The new keyboard emoji and sticker app was created by Yasmine Rasool and Eriko Varkey to specifically capture the conversation of the Arab and Khaleeji lifestyle.
“Halla Walla was created as a natural extension of our day-today communication,” the cofounders said.
“We wanted a slick tool to express ourselves and to capture the cultural colloquialism that we felt was lacking on pre-existing apps. We hope we are off to a good start on this — we engage daily and look for feedback and suggestions on what media needs to be added. We’re aiming to make it into a digital tool that makes it easier for people to communicate — say it with Halla Walla!”
Derived from the saying which roughly translates to ‘what’s up’, the app pursues the many glimpses of Arab culture, translating them into the tech age through relatable characters, nostalgic themes and playful GIFs.
As the region’s first comprehensive digital communication kit, Halla Walla’s stickers and emojis allow users to express themselves in Arabic or English, spice up photos and chat with stickers on iMessage, as well as send GIFs to friends and family, both on Android and iOS handsets.
“We wanted to create something that we know well and give the Khaleeji culture a boost through our creativity. When it came to representing the modern Middle Eastern voice, we felt there was a real gap in social messaging platforms. From our loud families, endless cousin gatherings and shared meals, to signature phrases, fashion statements, football, shisha and late night shawarma runs — our
Arabs have such a rich culture, but no emoticon to express online Eriko Varkey, Co-founder of Halla Walla
lives are brimming with inside jokes and over the top emotions that needed a platform to be expressed,” said Rasool.
Varkey further highlighted why Halla Walla was created, adding: “Arabs have such a rich culture, but no emoticon to express online. In any situation — we use hand gestures, which are laden with emotion. So, to express that stress to hurry up when you are waiting hours for your friend to meet you at the coffee shop — what better way than by screaming yalla! Hence the reason why Halla Walla was born.”
The app lets you use less words and more emoticons; and there are several emojis, GIFs and stickers expressing every emotion, from angry to happy to heavily in love. The app also features four Khaleeji characters named Ahmed, Shaikha, Lulu and Waleed to better portray the Khaleeji lifestyle icons.
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Users will be able to use special stickers that portray the Khaleeji culture in their conversations. —