Article published in:Formality and Informality in Online Performances
Edited by Sofia Rüdiger and Susanne Mühleisen
[Internet Pragmatics 5:1] 2022
► pp. 143–164
Multimodal strategies for balancing formality and informality
The role of kaomoji in online comment-reply interactions
This paper investigates multimodal strategies for balancing formality and informality online. The analysis of 300 comment-reply interactions on a recipe sharing site in Japan demonstrates that writers tend to avoid being overly formal or informal in their messages. For example, most comments and replies are written in polite forms but many incorporate some plain forms and colloquial expressions. Linguistic features, however, are not the only way through which the writers manage an appropriate level of formality and informality. The study examines the role of kaomoji or Japanese-style emoticons for socio-relational work online. Some kaomoji function locally as cues for interpreting the sentences featuring kaomoji. All kaomoji, including those with local functions, work to enhance the social presence of the writers on the screen via pictographic gaze and gestures, which increases the perception of intimate rapport. The findings underscore the importance of a multimodal perspective in examining how people handle social relationships online.
Keywords: multimodal analysis, formality-informality, kaomoji , emoticon, social presence, human agency, politeness, Japanese language
- 2.Linguistic and multimodal politeness and intimacy in face-to-face interaction
- 3.Data and method
- 4.The role of kaomoji in online comment-reply interaction
- 4.1Types of kaomoji
- 4.2 Kaomoji and linguistic politeness
- 4.3Local and global functions of kaomoji
- 4.3.1Functions of in comments
- 4.3.2Global function of kaomoji in replies
- 4.4Non-kaomoji users’ comments and replies
Published online: 17 March 2021
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