Forms and Functions of Graphicons in Facebook Private Conversations Among Young Filipino Users

graphicons, emoji, emoticon, image, meme, video, sticker, functions, language use, multimodal communication


  • Dyea Dolot
    Graduate Student, Centro Escolar University, Manila, Philippines
  • Arlene Opina Head, Languages Department, Centro Escolar University, Manila Philippines
June 30, 2021


Understanding the functions of graphicons such as emojis, images, memes, videos, GIFs, emoticons, and stickers has become increasingly relevant as they have become extensively integrated into textual messages on Facebook, especially in group chats. This study aimed to investigate the forms and functions of graphicons used by young Filipino users (ages 18-31) on Facebook group chats. The datasets were extracted from the corpora, ten Facebook group chats, each lasting for three months, and analyzed using or computer-mediated discourse analysis or language-focused content analysis. According to the findings of this study, emoji was the most widely used graphicon by young Filipino users on Facebook, while sticker was the least. Adopting Herring and Dainas’ six functions of graphicons (2017), the researcher discovered additional five functions on Facebook group chats. These functions are identified as mention, reaction, riff, tone modification, action, narrative sequence, response, sharing, replacement, complement, and attention. It was also discovered that a graphicon could serve more than one function in a conversation. Tone modification was the most commonly used function, while the narrative sequence was the least. It was found out that in both emojis and emoticons, ‘tone modification’ was the most used function while ‘sharing’ in both images and videos. Meanwhile, ‘action’ was the most used function in GIFs, ‘attention’ in memes, and ‘mention’ in stickers. Because of the significantly increased use of online communication, this study may provide insight on how people may use these graphicons in their everyday conversations.