Prof. Dr. Patrick Georg Grosz
University of Oslo
Patrick Georg Grosz is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Oslo. He obtained a Mag.phil. in Linguistics from the University of Vienna (2005) and a PhD in Linguistics from MIT (2011). His interests include semantics, syntax, pragmatics, and their interfaces; he has worked on topics such as optatives, imperatives, discourse particles, pronouns, agreement, and the diachrony of ‘dunno’ indefinites. In his current research, he is focusing on the application of linguistic methodology beyond natural language, to objects such as emojis and gestures, with a particular emphasis on face emojis.
- Grosz, Patrick G. (submitted): Expressivity and Emojis. Submitted for The Oxford Handbook of Expressivity edited by Daniel Gutzmann.
- Grosz, Patrick G., Gabriel Greenberg, Christian De Leon, and Elsi Kaiser (accepted): A semantics of face emoji in discourse. To appear in Linguistics and Philosophy. [https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/005981]
- Grosz, Patrick G. (2022): Emojis and conditionals: Exploring the super linguistic interplay of pictorial modifiers and conditional meaning. Linguistics Vanguard. [https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2021-0123]
- Grosz, Patrick G., Elsi Kaiser, and Francesco Pierini (2021): Discourse anaphoricity and first-person indexicality in emoji resolution. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 25, 340-357. [https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2021.v25i0.941]
- Kaiser, Elsi, and Patrick G. Grosz (2021): Anaphoricity in emoji: An experimental investigation of face and non-face emoji. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 6, 1009-1023. [https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v6i1.5067]
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Tatjana Scheffler
University of Bochum
Tatjana Scheffler analyses communication practices in digital media, using corpus linguistic and computational methods. Current research topics include both theoretical analyses of phenomena in informal digital language (such as intensifiers, question tags, or emojis), as well as applied issues like the detection of hate speech and disinformation. She is a PI on several externally funded research projects on topics covering the variability of language in social media, the computational analysis of metaphors in online forums, disinformation detection, and the semantics and pragmatics of emojis. Tatjana received her PhD in 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania (USA), before working at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Berlin, as well as at the universities of Potsdam and Konstanz. In 2020, Tatjana Scheffler was appointed Assistant Professor (TT) of Digital Forensic Linguistics at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
- Tatjana Scheffler, Hannah Seemann, Lesley-Ann Kern. The medium is not the message: Individual level register variation in blogs vs. tweets. Register Studies, Special Issue: Register and Social Media. 2022. https://doi.org/10.1075/rs.22009.sch
- Tatjana Scheffler, Lasse Brandt, Marie de la Fuente, and Ivan Nenchev. The processing of emoji-word substitutions: A self-paced-reading study. Computers and Human Behavior 127. 2022. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.107076 Repository location: https://osf.io/d34y5/
- Tatjana Scheffler, Veronika Solopova, and Mihaela Popa-Wyatt. The Telegram chronicles of online harm. Journal of Open Humanities Data, 7, p.8. 2021. doi: http://doi.org/10.5334/johd.31
- Tatjana Scheffler. Conversations on Twitter. In: D. Fišer/M. Beißwenger (eds.), Investigating Computer-Mediated Communication: Corpus-Based Approaches To Language In The Digital World, Ljubljana: University Press. ISBN 978-961-237-950-6. 2017
- Scheffler, Tatjana. Two-dimensional Semantics. Clausal Adjuncts and Complements. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2013.
University of Bochum
Lea Fricke’s research interests lie in the area of semantics, pragmatics and empirical linguistics. She has worked on embedded questions, the German prefield-es, scalar implicatures and experimental methodology. In November 2022, Lea joined the Ruhr-University Bochum to work in the ViCom project “Semantics and Pragmatics of Emojis in Digital Communication”. Before that, she worked as a university assistant at the University of Graz and was part of the XPrag.de project “Exhaustiveness in embedded questions across languages“.
- Cremers, Alexandre, Lea Fricke, Edgar Onea. Accepted. The importance of being earnest: How truth and evidence affect participants’ judgments. Glossa Psycholinguistics.
- Cortez Espinoza, Maya, Lea Fricke. To appear. On the interpretation of German einige. The effect of tense and cardinality. Proceedings of ELM 2.
- Zimmermann, Malte, Lea Fricke, Edgar Onea. 2022. Embedded questions are exhaustive alright, but… In A. Özgün, Y. Zinova (eds.) Proceedings of TbiLLC 2019, 173–194. Cham: Springer.
- Fricke, Lea. 2020. A southern German use of prefield-es: Evidence from the corpus and an experimental study. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 39(1), 41–77.
- Tönnis, Swantje, Lea M. Fricke, Alexander Schreiber. 2018. Methodological Considerations on Testing Argument Asymmetry in German Cleft Sentences. In E. Fuß, M. Konopka, B. Trawiński, U. H. Waßner (eds.). Grammar and Corpora 2016, 231–240. Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing.
This project studies emojis (pictographs that can be used as Unicode characters) as a prime example of an emerging tool of visual communication. While emojis are a recent human artifact, their shape, use and very nature is clearly codetermined by human cognition, an idea that is corroborated by the speed with which they have found broad acceptance across cultures and age groups within the two decades since their introduction. The most frequently used type of emojis in digital communication are face emojis (😊, 😠, 😔, 🤢), which represent stylized representations of human facial expressions, and thus correspond to important communicative devices both in sign languages and to the speech-accompanying facial expressions of non-signers. This project will focus on the formal semantics and pragmatics of face emojis as our object of study, and addresses the question whether face emojis are best analyzed as stylized pictures of the author’s face or as conventionalized (para-)linguistic entities that have meanings stored in the mental lexicon of their users. This difference has important theoretical implications, e.g. for the division of labor between semantics and pragmatics. A picture-based approach assumes a minimal semantics, under which face emojis are nothing more than pictures, which is coupled with an independently motivated pragmatic machinery that derives the more fine-grained and rich patterns that have been observed for the interpretation of emojis. By contrast, a convention-based (lexicalist) approach treats emojis as a variant of emotive expressions, which also include interjections (‘yay’), exclamative intonation, swear words (‘damn’) and evaluative adverbials (‘unfortunately’). A particularly important question in this regard is the role of resemblance-based (iconic) vs. convention-based (symbolic) semantics. We expect that neither extreme approach (iconic or symbolic) can account for all kinds of emojis and emoji uses. While certain face emojis can easily be mapped to faces that they look like, such as the ‘beaming face with smiling eyes’ 😁, there are also face emojis that lack counterparts in actual facial expressions, such as the ‘zipper-mouth face’ 🤐.
In this project, we investigate the explanatory power of iconic and symbolic approaches to emoji semantics via corpus analysis and a set of experiments that explores the continuum between pictorial and symbolic emojis. Starting from the hypothesis that face emojis are composed of (iconic or symbolic) minimal units, we study how existing and novel emojis are processed semantically. This empirical basis will allow us to differentiate between the proposed iconic and lexical approaches to emoji meaning and develop a hybrid semantics. The project will closely interact with a range of proposed ViCom projects, including projects on facial expressions, gestures, sign languages, online communication, multimodal literacy, visual emotion expression, iconicity, and multimodal pragmatics.