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The Communicative Functions of Emoticons in Workplace E-Mails: ;-)

The Communicative Functions of Emoticons in Workplace E-Mails:Ā šŸ˜‰
Source: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

CMC research presents emoticons as visual representations of writersā€™ emotions. We argue that the emoticons in authentic workplace e-mails do not primarily indicateĀ writersā€™ emotions. Rather, they provideĀ information about how an utterance is supposedĀ to beĀ interpreted. We show that emoticons function as contextualizationĀ cues, which serve to organize interpersonal relations in written interaction. They serve 3 communicative functions. First, when following signatures, emoticons function as markers of a positive attitude. Second, when following utterances that are intendedĀ to beĀ interpreted as humorous, they are joke/irony markers. Third, they are hedges: when following expressive speech acts (such as thanks, greetings, etc.) they function as strengtheners and when following directives (such as requests, corrections, etc.) they function as softeners.

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