Chapter in:Pragmatic Markers and Peripheries
Edited by Daniël Van Olmen and Jolanta Šinkūnienė
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 325] 2021
Emoji as graphic discourse markers
Functional and positional associations in German WhatsApp® messages
We investigate emoji as graphic discourse markers in German WhatsApp® messages. As comparably novel devices in the rapidly evolving domain of digital messenging, emoji provide an interesting example to observe change in progress. We present a corpus study and an experimental study. Main results are (i) an overall salience of subjective and intersubjective discourse meanings for emoji, with (ii) a general advantage for the former, especially for emoji that iconically include more active elements, while (iii) dominance relations can be modulated by left- vs. right-peripheral positions in favor of subjective vs. intersubjective meanings, respectively. By approaching emoji as discourse markers, the studies contribute to our understanding of their pragmatic contribution and provide novel evidence on positional-functional associations for pragmatic markers.
Keywords: discourse markers, intersubjective function, subjective function, emoji, WhatsApp® messages, messenging, Computer-meditated communication (CMC), right and left periphery