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12-14 October 2023
Universität Klagenfurt
Europe/Vienna timezone

Michele Zappavigna & her ADDA4 talk

Michele ZappavignaMichele Zappavigna

Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales.

Major research interests: exploring ambient affiliation in the discourse of social media using social semiotic, multimodal, and corpus-based methods.

Co-editor of the journal Visual Communication.

Key books: Searchable Talk: Hashtags and Social Media Metadiscourse (2018) & Discourse of Twitter and Social Media (2012).

Recent, co-authored books: Researching the Language of Social Media (2014; 2022), Modelling Paralanguage Using Systemic Functional Semiotics (2021), & Emoji and Social Media Paralanguages (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).



Emoji as paralanguage: Modelling emoji-text relations and exploring ambient affiliation in social media discourse

This presentation introduces a social semiotic framework for exploring the intermodal functions of emoji in digital discourse. The framework models emoji as a form of paralanguage, and as such, highly dependent on their linguistic co-text for making meaning. Developed via corpus-based studies of digital messaging and social media discourse (Logi & Zappavigna, 2021; Zappavigna & Logi, 2021), the framework is soon to be encapsulated as Zappavigna and Logi (forthcoming), and draws on emerging social semiotic work on paralanguage (Ngo et al., 2021). It adopts a metafunctional approach to three kinds of emoji-text convergence whereby emoji make meaning with their co-text: ideational concurrence, interpersonal resonance, and textual synchronicity. The presentation will provide an overview of the systems that have been created to encapsulate each of these three patterns of relations. It will also explore how the framework can be used to understand ambient affiliation practices in social media discourse, drawing on Twitter and TikTok comment corpora.


Logi, L., & Zappavigna, M. (2021). A social semiotic perspective on emoji: How emoji and language interact to make meaning in digital messages. New Media & Society. doi:

Ngo, T., Hood, S., Martin, J. R., Painter, C., Smith, B., & Zappavigna, M. (2021). Modelling Paralanguage Using Systemic Functional Semiotics: Theory and Application. London: Bloomsbury.

Zappavigna, M., & Logi, L. (2021). Emoji in social media discourse about working from home. Discourse, Context & Media, 44, 100543. doi:

Zappavigna, M., & Logi, L. (forthcoming). Emoji and Social Media Paralanguages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.