A Study into Emoji Use in a Multi-Party Chat Open Access

Zhong, Chaojie (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/4q77fs26d?locale=en


As Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) grows, Emoji has seen a large increase in popularity in recent years, which culminated in the selection of the Face with Tears of Joy as the first ever pictograph Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year in 2015. Although there is a plethora of folk opinions on this social sensation, academic research on emoji in use is lacking, and the existing corpora do not place an emphasis on emoji. How do people use emoji? Is it simply a transparent and intuitive way of communicating emotion? As the inventory of emoji continues to grow and people continue to send it to each other in multi-party chat (MPC), investigation into the nature and usage of emoji is warranted. This study aims to answer two questions: whether there is a consensus on the meaning of emoji, and how individuals adapt to a potentially unclear system in daily communications without much confusion. A survey was administered to find out if there was any agreement on emoji, and an existing online chat group was followed and observed to explore how emoji was used in reality with the support of earlier research on emoticon, a predecessor of emoji, and speech acts theory. The results show that emoji is interpreted differently by individuals, but the sentiment perception of emoji is highly consistent. The partially conventionalized emoji is also used mostly in sentence final position similar to punctuation, suggesting the importance of context in meaning making of emoji.

Table of Contents

Introduction: 1

A Brief History of Emoticon and Emoji 1

Development in Computer Mediated Communication and Multi-Party Chat. 3

CMC Trend and Early Studies on Emoticon. 4

Speech Acts and Emoticon. 8

Emoticon vs. Emoji 10

Emoji as an Open System.. 11

The Present Study:. 13

Method: 14

Results. 17

Survey Result:. 17

Corpus Result:. 20

General Description: 20

Emoji Position: 21

Emoji and Punctuation Distribution: 21

Emoji-only Messages: 22

Emoji Symbol Usage and Distribution: 22

User Emoji Profile: 24

Follow-up Survey Result:. 25

Discussion. 26

Limitations. 30

Future Directions. 33

Appendix. 35

Survey Forms:. 35

First Survey. 35

Follow Up Survey. 38

Figures and Tables:. 40

Table 1. 40

Table 2. 41

Table 3. 41

Figure 1. 42

Figure 2. 43

Figure 3. 43

Figure 4. 44

IRB.. 44

Bilingual Consent Form.. 44

Works cited. 49

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files