Peaches and eggplants or. . . something else? The role of context in emoji interpretations

Benjamin Weissman

Abstract


This paper presents the results of an experiment designed to measure interpretations of two emojis oft-discussed in popular culture, the eggplant and the peach. The experiment asked people to judge how sexual an emoji-containing text message was. The context surrounding these messages was manipulated across experimental conditions, altering both the preceding discourse and the presence of a sentence-final wink emoji. Unsurprisingly, the baseline interpretation of both the eggplant and peach emoji is euphemism. When one of these emojis is used in a context that strongly biases towards the non-euphemistic interpretation, ratings for sexualness decrease and variability increases. This suggests that participants are still able to access non-euphemistic interpretations of these emojis, but it must be under specific circumstances and will nonetheless come with a high degree of variability. Wink emojis added to messages containing non-euphemistic food emojis were also rated as more highly sexual (albeit still low on the rating scale), indicating an affective role for this emoji.

Keywords


emojis; euphemism; figurative language; pragmatics

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v4i1.4533

Copyright (c) 2019 Benjamin Weissman

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America


Advancing the Scientific Study of Language

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.

The LSA is pleased to announce that Steve Anderson, former LSA President, has offered to match all donations made to the Society’s open access fund, up to $10,000, between now and the end of 2019. more ...