Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238



This paper explores the pragmatics of emojis co-occurring with or embedded in text on Chinese social media with this central research question: what are the patterns and the communicative functions manifested by emojis in co-occurrence with Chinese text? Building on the metafunctional approach of multimodal analysis, popular online posts from Sina Weibo which contain both emoji(s) and text have been collected and analyzed to discover the representational, interactive, and compositional features manifested by emojis co-occurring with text. We have found that these emojis on Weibo appear most frequently at the end of the posts and reflect some unique Chinese cultural and linguistic features. Based on recurring pragmatic and functional patterns of text-emoji co-occurrences, it is proposed that emojis are used to perform speech acts, highlight subjective interpretations, and enhance informality, while substituting, reinforcing, and complementing the meanings conveyed by verbal language.


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