Article published in:Pragmatics, Humour and the Internet
Edited by Francisco Yus
[Internet Pragmatics 4:1] 2021
► pp. 87–110
Emojis and the performance of humour in everyday electronically-mediated conversation
A corpus study of WhatsApp chats
Emojis are little pictographs commonly added to electronic messages on several social media platforms. Besides being considered as a way to express emotions in electronically-mediated communication (EMC), similarly to ASCII emoticons, emojis are strictly involved in the performance of humour in everyday digital conversation. Drawing on a corpus of casual WhatsApp dyadic chats, this paper analyses the contribution of emojis to humour in conversation. Results show that these pictographs not only help to signal the opening and closing of the play frame, but also to respond to humour, graphically reproducing laughter. For these purposes, the most common emojis employed by WhatsApp users are the popular yellow smiling and laughing faces. Nevertheless, other pictographs are also involved in electronic humour, as less common emojis can be used in playful ways by themselves.
Keywords: emoticons, emojis, WhatsApp, electronically-mediated communication, humour, laughter
Published online: 05 August 2020
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