A Multimodal Social Semiotic Analysis of Emoji's Use with Reference to COVID-19

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Marwah Firas Abdullah, Hazim Hakkush Al Dilaimy, Firas Abdullah Hammood Alqayssi


Emojis pose significant challenges for researchers in the various platforms of social media. Their meanings are sometimes far-fetched and difficult to grasp. In spite of their assumed universality, the sense of an emoji may change from one language to another and from culture to culture. This paper investigates the use of emojis in everyday language via a multimodal social-semiotic analysis investigating the collaboration of different semiotic modes with the context of situation to generate the intended meaning out of the multimodal features of emojis.  It tries to adopt aquantitative research methodology relying on two questionnaires to understand the meaning potentials of these significantfactors of social media.60 participants have been collected, 30 students (15 male and 15 female students) and 30 academics (15 male and 15 female academics) of Al-Maarif University College. The test is designed to find out the extent of awareness and recognition between students and academics in terms of meanings of emojis during Covid-19 pandemic and whether or not misunderstanding of their meanings may affect their intended messages to achieve successful communication. The study tries to find out any possible variations between the two parties understudy. The questionnairesare designed to find out how the participants apply their knowledge of emoji meanings in their communication. The Findings have revealed that there are many variations in the way emojis are handled by each group and an increase in using covid-19 special emojis other than the rest of emojis as a context-based usage.

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