DOI: 10.36190/2020.05

Published: 2020-06-05
Do Emoji Sequences Have a Preferred Word Order?
Susan C. Herring, Jing Ge

We systematically analyze the ordering of elements in emoji sequences, or uninterrupted strings of two or more different emoji, on Sina Weibo, a prominent Chinese microblogging site. We find that 83% of the sequences can be analyzed as displaying a linear constituent order, with variants of Object-Verb-Subject (OVS) order occurring most frequently. This evidence supports the view that emoji sequences on Sina Weibo have an emergent syntax. Their syntactic properties are not universal, however, since OVS order differs from the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order previously reported for emoji sequences in English-language contexts.