Spanish Research Paper

“❤️ is in the air”: la expansión de la imagen del corazón en el paisaje urbano y digital contemporáneo

Tonos Digital, 42, 2022 |


The image of the heart regularly appears in our daily lives: it decorates multiple everyday objects, such as clothing, logos, shop windows, and it appears on graffiti. Additionally, it is ubiquitous in the digital world, as the “like” button is often in the shape of a heart. The aim of this paper is to identify the reasons why the image of the heart is so widespread, and the functions performed by its representation. In order to do so, we carried out a linguistic and semiotic landscape study, by analysing a large corpus of images of hearts, collected in the urban landscape and on the Internet. The results show that the hearts found in the two corpora perform all language functions identified by Jakobson (1984); the main contexts of use of the
heart are the expression of love, appreciation, and gratitude. Finally, we comment on the “transfer” of functions of the heart from street to screen and vice versa.