A Pragmatic Study of Emoji in English comments on Instagram


The internet technology and social media are more prevalent nowadays because of the big influence they have brought to social life. These definitely change the way we communicate to the extent that they facilitate the interactions between people. In fact, the use of emoji is important because it changes the writing system of instant messaging in computer mediated communication to compensate for the lack of paralinguistic devices such as gestures, body language and facial expressions. This paper studies the pragmatic function of emoji which is one of the most widespread techniques that is brought up with the new technology. However, misunderstanding which occurs in written communication due to the lack of non-verbal means calls for looking for new device, i.e. emoji. This may help to give the correct interpretation when emojis are associated with written messages on the Instagram. Emojis on Instagram corpus are categorised and analysed within the main structure of Yus‘s (2014) eight-function taxonomy. These can be abbreviated into 'attitude signal' 'attitude intensity enhancer' illocutionary force modifier' 'humor' 'irony' 'emotion signal' 'parallel emotion signal' 'emotion intensity enhancer'. The results show that emojis can be analysed due to this taxonomy. In addition, the participants in different comments use these functions, and each emoji adds a new meaning to the utterance, which helps in showing the feelings and attitudes of the participants.