Emoticon and Text Production in First and Second Languages in Informal Text Communication

  • Cecilia R. Aragon
  • Nan-Chen Chen
  • Judith F. Kroll
  • Laurie Beth Feldman
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8393)


Most of the recent research on online text communication has been conducted in social contexts with diverse groups of users. Here we examine a stable group of adult scientists as they chat about their work. Some scientists communicated in their first language (L1) and others communicated either in their L1 or in a second (L2) language. We analyze the production in English of emoticons and of lines of text and compare measures in L1 and L2 speakers. L1 and L2 speakers differed significantly along multiple measures. English L1 speakers used more lines of text per message. English L2 (French L1) speakers used more emoticons per message. Patterns suggest compensatory emoticon/text productivity. In future analyses we will undertake a more fine-grained analysis of how emoticon use varies across social and linguistic settings. Computer-mediated communication is often viewed as impoverished, but even our initial research provides hints that users repurpose the technology according to social dynamics previously associated only with face-to-face communication.


informal text communication emoticons bilingualism 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia R. Aragon
    • 1
  • Nan-Chen Chen
    • 1
  • Judith F. Kroll
    • 2
  • Laurie Beth Feldman
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Human Centered Design & Engineering Dept.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology & Center for Language SciencePennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe University at Albany-SUNYAlbanyUSA
  4. 4.Haskins LaboratoriesNew HavenUSA

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