English Research Paper

Emoji Grammar as Beat Gestures

Emoji 2018 - Workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media |


Emoji are popularly characterized as a “language”, but languages have grammar. What does an emoji grammar look like? Drawing from sequences of the most common two, three, and four emoji in a large corpus of real emoji use, we find that top emoji sequences have a high level of repetition (∼50%), whereas the equivalent top sequences of words from a large corpus have zero repetition. We argue that emoji are best analogized to “beat” gestures, a well-established type of co-speech gesture characterized by its high level of repetition.