Ways of non-verbal communication on the internet: emoticons vs. reaction gifs (abstract)
2015. augusztus 31. hétfő, 20:51

The texts of digital communication lie on the frontiers of traditional orality and literacy (cf. Koch and Oesterreicher's notions of conceptual and medial orality and literacy), and visuality plays a far more important role in ICT than it played in earlier text transmission techniques. These two basic characteristics result in novel ways of expressing emotions: in addition to the explicit verbal description of emotions and the use of interjections customary in traditional written texts, digital texts also feature verbal smileys (e.g.: facepalm, headdesk), stem-like "inflectives" inserted between asterisks (borrowing the German term Inflektiv which means a verb-form without inflection, mainly in the language of comics, German example: *daumendrück*), and visual elements: emoticons and reaction gifs. While emoticons may take the form of keyboard characters or image files and can be static or dynamic, reaction gifs always represent an animated series of images. Reaction gifs are short motion picture files that can be sent as response in different conversational situations in digital communication to express
emotions, but in a more intensive way than emoticons; they also present scenes extracted from mostly well-known movies, and one of their main components is humor. The paper is an attempt to identify the communication-related characteristics of reaction gifs, as a form of expressing emotion unifying visuality and the time aspect. After an overview of fundamental assumptions of linguistic research on digital communication, the author presents the results of an empirical research on reaction gifs.


Keywords: digital communication, orality, visuality, literacy, smiley, inflective, emoticon,reaction gif