[Multimodality Talks Series] Emoji as paralanguage: Modelling emoji-text relations and exploring ambient affiliation in social media discourse

Date:  3rd February 2023

Time: 12.00 -1.30 pm GMT

Place: online via Zoom

Speaker: Dr. Michele Zappavigna, University of New South Wales, Australia

To attend the talk please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/michele-zappavigna-multimodality-talk-series-tickets-468295453307 

To watch the recorded talk, please see here https://universityofleeds.zoom.us/rec/share/ecS1-NDZ7MhoSA8BcJ1_5hqi8pi7qGaMt6BsSWMhUZ7K3mdolMwQhCskPI-nBzs.gUEKS83JPYywDPrP


This presentation introduces a social semiotic framework for exploring the intermodal functions of emoji in digital discourse. The framework models emoji as a form of paralanguage, and as such, highly dependent on their linguistic co-text for making meaning. Developed via corpus-based studies of digital messaging and social media discourse (Logi & Zappavigna, 2021; Zappavigna & Logi, 2021), the framework is soon to be encapsulated as Zappavigna and Logi (forthcoming), and draws on emerging social semiotic work on paralanguage (Ngo et al., 2021). It adopts a metafunctional approach to three kinds of emoji-text convergence whereby emoji make meaning with their co-text: ideational concurrence, interpersonal resonance, and textual synchronicity. The presentation will provide an overview of the systems that have been created to encapsulate each of these three patterns of relations. It will also explore how the framework can be used to understand ambient affiliation practices in social media discourse, drawing on Twitter and TikTok comment corpora.


Logi, L., & Zappavigna, M. (2021). A social semiotic perspective on emoji: How emoji and language interact to make meaning in digital messages. New Media & Society. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211032965

Ngo, T., Hood, S., Martin, J. R., Painter, C., Smith, B., & Zappavigna, M. (2021). Modelling Paralanguage Using Systemic Functional Semiotics: Theory and Application. London: Bloomsbury.

Zappavigna, M., & Logi, L. (2021). Emoji in social media discourse about working from home. Discourse, Context & Media, 44, 100543. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2021.100543

Zappavigna, M., & Logi, L. (forthcoming). Emoji and Social Media Paralanguages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Michele Zappavigna is Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales. Her major research interest is in exploring ambient affiliation in the discourse of social media using social semiotic, multimodal, and corpus-based methods. She is a co-editor of the journal Visual Communication. Key books include Searchable Talk: Hashtags and Social Media Metadiscourse (2018) and Discourse of Twitter and Social Media (2012). Recent co-authored books include Researching the Language of Social Media (2014; 2022), Modelling Paralanguage Using Systemic Functional Semiotics (2021), and Emoji and Social Media Paralanguages (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).


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