Do you know what I mean > :(

by Caroline Kelly

Institution: Högskolan i Halmstad
Year: 2015
Keywords: interpreter; implicature; text message; emoticon; emoji; symbols; Relevance Theory; sign; inference; Humanities; Languages and Literature; General Literature Studies; Humaniora; Språk och litteratur; Litteraturvetenskap; Engelska; English
Record ID: 1353990
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-27611


This study investigates the understanding of emoticons and emojis used in text messages. Theaim of this study is to determine whether there is a universal understanding of emoticons andemojis, which is important considering the number of people using them every day whensending text messages. Many studies have been made of communication via text messagesand the usage of emoticons and emojis, but no study has focused on the interpretation of thesymbols and the importance of the context.For the purposes of this study, a questionnaire was completed in an uppersecondary school (Swedish gymnasium) in Stockholm, during normal school hours inNovember 2014, by 90 16-19 year old students. The result was then analysed through a‘Relevance Theory’ perspective, and in the light of the works of, amongst others, Saussure,Peirce and Thomas.The result revealed that, for the interpreter of a text message, it is important thata textual context is established, in order for the interpreter to be able to understand what theemoticons or emojis used in text messages mean. The result also showed that the emoticonsand emojis do not have a meaning in themselves and that they can have different meaningsdepending on the situation, and the mood or the person for whom the message is intended.