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Emoticons and non-verbal communications across Arabic, English, and Korean Tweets

Jung Ran Park (College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Houda El Mimouni (College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 8 June 2020

Issue publication date: 20 October 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how tweeters drawn from three different languages and cultural boundaries manage the lack of contextual cues through an analysis of Arabic, English and Korean tweets.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this study is drawn from a corpus of tweets (n = 1,200) streamed using Python through Twitter API. Using the language information, the authors limited the number of tweets to 400 randomly selected tweets from each language, totaling 1,200 tweets. Final coding taxonomy was derived through interactive processes preceded by literature and a preliminary analysis based on a small subset (n = 150) by isolating nonverbal communication devices and emoticons.

Findings

The results of the study present that there is great commonality across these tweets in terms of strategies and creativity in compensating for the constraints imposed by the tweet platform. The language-specific characteristics are also shown in the form of different usage of devices.

Research limitations/implications

Emoticon usage indicates that the communication mode influences online social interaction; the restriction of 140 maximum characters seems to engender a frequent usage of emoticons across tweets regardless of language differences. The results of the study bring forth implications into the design of social media technologies that reflect affective aspects of communication and language-/culture-specific traits and characteristics.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there are no qualitative studies examining paralinguistic nonverbal communication cues in the Twitter platform across language boundaries.

Keywords

Citation

Park, J.R. and El Mimouni, H. (2020), "Emoticons and non-verbal communications across Arabic, English, and Korean Tweets", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. 69 No. 8/9, pp. 579-595. https://doi.org/10.1108/GKMC-02-2020-0021

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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