Laughing face with tears of joy : a study of the production and interpretation of emojis among Swedish University Students

University essay from Lunds universitet/Allmän språkvetenskap

Abstract: Emojis are an increasingly popular addition to written smartphone communication. Since emojis are a rather new phenomena, there is a lot that we do not know about the usage and interpretation of emojis in written communication. This bachelor thesis focuses on the production and interpretation of emojis among Swedish university students, and through a focus group interview, possible functions, interpretations, and usages of emojis are explored. The aim is to find out what functions that the informants report, how these affect interpretation, and what the reported usage of emojis is. The theoretical background consists of previous studies in CMC, particularly that of Hård af Segerstad (2002) and Sugiyama (2015) in combination with studies of the relation between speech and writing (Chafe & Tannen, 1987). The results show that emojis are used as a divider between clauses, that they compensate for the lack of non-verbal cues in written communication, and that they are efficient emotional enhancers. In addition to this, the results also show that emojis can help manage the conversation climate. Furthermore, emojis are primarily used in settings that are hybrids of spoken and written language, and younger people use more emojis than older people. In conclusion, it can be said that emojis have an important part in the everyday written communication among contemporary people. The emojis are needed to convey additional information in messages, and helps prevent misunderstandings.

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