You Tell Me in Emojis

You Tell Me in Emojis

Tüge T. Gülşen (Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0432-0.ch014


As communication is predominantly realized on digital platforms, both the language used and the way actors of communicative events create and perceive messages have changed and taken new forms and functions. Emoticons, which have been transformed into emojis, have become a new language phenomenon that promise new research areas in various fields from linguistics to media studies, cognitive science to narrative studies. This chapter aims at exploring how computer users have integrated emojis in their daily narrative practices not only as emotive devices but also as conceptual tools and create a new mode of language to communicate their stories on digital platforms.
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The growing interest in communication brought the query about how messages are constructed and people interpret and make meaning out of messages. Towards the second half of the 20th century, scholars with the interest to understand how the process of communication between different agents is realized proposed communication models. They in fact aim at “identifying the elements of a process and then suggesting how, through connection, they work in a generalized way” (Hill, 2007, p.6). In the course of time, as new paradigms in communication practices emerged, these models evolved, and the language constructed and reconstructed by the participants of communicative processes has gone through major transformations in the course of time. With the emergence of digital technologies both the communication models together with the participants and the language and certainly the discursive features of communicative events that they utilize have taken new forms and meanings. In daily communicative practices, people started constructing and comprehending messages in different forms on different digital platforms. With the spread of digital messaging platforms that enable users to send synchronous and asynchronous messages, users have transformed their everyday literacy practices and adapted their multimodal literacy experiences to messaging systems. Today, it is certainly common that users construct linguistic texts that are accompanied by visual or rather iconic and even pictorial texts to communicate both emotive and conceptual messages. It is evident that in majority of digital communities, emojis have become an indispensable language unit utilized to communicate meanings.

This paper is going to focus on the language or coding system utilized in messaging systems that has evolved into multi-modal systems and the participants’ attachment to such systems, one of which is the emojis that almost every user spontaneously and voluntarily use while messaging during their encounters through digital media. Today, emojis, the new icons that refer to various meanings in the digital context, have become one of the means of digital narratives, and emojis have gone further than being merely emotive elements in the construction of digital narrative and started function as semantic units in the language evolving on digital platforms.

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