A Pragma-Semiotic Analysis of Emoticons in Social Media

Ali M. Al- Mjdawi, Saja I. Jabi


Since the early days of the internet, researchers investigate in the peculiar use of language in social media. One distinctive feature is the use of emoticons as a way to express users’ emotions in digital settings. In spite of their popularity, researches on emoticons are still in its infancy. This research identifies the pragmatic and semiotic functions of emoticons in social media following qualitative and quantitative methods for analysing data. The corpus of this study are collected from Twitter and YouTube. The analysis of data follows the Three Levels Pragma-Semiotic Model. Quantitative analysis shows that the usage of emoticons with text appears to improve the expressivity and an overall sentiment scores of positive and negative opinions relatively more than the neutral opinions. It also shows that emoticons are preferably used with text or other emoticons. From the qualitative analysis, the current study has made visible the practices of using emoticons in social media.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/elr.v6i2.17887


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