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Perceptual resemblance and the communication of emotion in digital contexts: a case of emoji and reaction GIFs

Sasamoto, Ryoko orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-1644-6897 (2022) Perceptual resemblance and the communication of emotion in digital contexts: a case of emoji and reaction GIFs. Pragmatics, 33 (3). pp. 393-417. ISSN 1018-2101

Online communication has created new ways to express emotions, including emoji and reaction GIFs. Emoji are often discussed as signs for meaning-making, adding emotional tone to communication. Reaction GIFs express emotions and attitudes in a playful manner. This study shows that through the lens of cognitive pragmatics, these phenomena are not distinct. Both are cases of non-verbal communication pointing to the communicator’s emotional state. Drawing on relevance-theoretic notions of the showing-meaning continuum and perceptual resemblance, along with relevance-theoretic analyses of metaphor and irony, I argue that emoji and reaction GIFs provide clues to ostension and communicate emotions by virtue of perceptual resemblance between what they represent and the communicator’s emotional state. I will also argue that both emoji and GIFs can involve echoic use of language, enabling the communicator to convey their attitude.
Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pragmatics; Relevance; perceptual resemblance; the showing-meaning continuum; metaphor; irony; communication of emotion; communication of emotion; relevance; the showing-meaning continuum
Subjects:Humanities > Language
Humanities > Linguistics
Humanities > Semantics
Social Sciences > Communication
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Research Institutes and Centres > Centre for Translation and Textual Studies (CTTS)
Publisher:John Benjamins
Official URL:https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.21058.sas
Copyright Information:© 2022 International Pragmatics Association.
Funders:DCU Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
ID Code:27660
Deposited On:07 Sep 2022 18:16 by Ryoko Sasamoto . Last Modified 07 Dec 2023 13:05

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