How to Do Things with Emojis: The Pragmatic Functions of Emojis in Teacher-Student Interaction through Wechat

Yang Kun, Mao Yansheng


As efficient tools in online interaction, Emojis have attracted ample attention from
researchers in diverse fields, stressing that its pragmatic values deserve further systemic exploration.
Against this background, this paper investigates the pragmatic functions of emojis through retrieving
interactive data between teachers and students in Wechat rooms. A total of 5 volunteers (4 teachers
and 1 student) were invited to collect data from their teacher-student Wechat groups respectively.
Forty-eight types of emoji in the corpus were described and analyzed, finally classified into 3 pragmatic
functions: illocutionary function, interpersonal function and textual function. Specifically, emojis can:
i) work as indicators of literal force (secondary illocutionary act) or indirect force (primary illocutionary
act). ii) work as rapport management strategies to maintain or enhance the relationship between/among
interlocutors. iii) work as structural constituents, which will contribute to the opening, continuing or
closing of a conversation. Accordingly, these findings would contribute to the enrichment of theoretical
studies of emojis, and the understanding of online discourse in mediated forms.


emojis; online interaction; pragmatic function; Wechat.



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Sinología hispánica. Revisión de estudios de China

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ISSN 2444-832X (Ed. Impresa)

eI.SSN 2531-2219

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