6 linguistic functions of emoji

  1. Substitution: a 🖼 is worth a thousand words, so why not prefer it to 📰?
  2. Reinforcement: the use of repetition to indicate strength of feeling 💯 💯 💯
  3. Contradiction: undermining what has been written through irony or sarcasm 🤔 🙃
  4. Meta-comment: the use of emoji to clarify the writer’s emotional state or attitude to what they are writing 🤷‍♀️
  5. Emphasis: underlining or emboldening, e.g. the word ‘weekend’ next to 🍷 or 🍻
  6. Discourse management: 🆒 the way emoji are used as punctuation in a conversation, usually appearing at the beginning or end of a statement 🔚

(adapted from Vyvyan Evans’ book The Emoji Code.)

Author: Matthew Culnane

Sometime social and UX person working in education. Interested in food, books, music, others. Working out how it all works.