Emojis as a Language of their Own

art, literature, digital culture studies

Emojis are a product of computer mediated communication. As a means of expressing emotion, indicating the illocutionary force or the intended tone, they are well-researched. However, emojis are rarely seen as a visual language in their own right. The article analyzes the syntax and semantics semantics of emojis and people’s ability to interpret them. The research method for this article was an online survey. An emoji rendering of the title of a literary work was proposed for translation into verbal language. Readers had to attempt an interpretation of its meaning. The survey participants were 450 first-year technical students. 97% of whom regularly use emojis. The range of correctly defined emoji texts ranges from 20 to 92%. Misattribution options are divided into “literal translation”, “combining emoji features into a monosyllabic response”, “defining the meaning emoji”, “name of other literary works”, “analogy of emoji recordings with popular works”. Emojis as iconic signs have many meanings, which in the case of emoji text are selected in relation to each other. Sometimes the reader defines the “main” meaning-forming emoji-sign, which can contribute to correct interpretation or, on the contrary, lead on a wrong path. Also, all emojis can have the same grammatical “level” and be perceived by a person as equivalent objects.