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such ✨language change✨: the growing nuances of the sparkle emoji

​​According to Emojipedia (2021), almost one in every 100 tweets now contains the sparkle emoji. It has continued to steadily grow in popularity, but how and why exactly has it beat out the smiley face? Why have three stars become so popular? And what exactly does the sparkle emoji mean? In this research, I analyse the sparkle emoji through a historical and sociolinguistics lens, and explore its differing meanings and how they came to be across various social media. The sparkle emoji is in its prime as a focus marker while still allowing straightforward positive-oriented communication due to its lack of association with physical paralinguistic features, many reasons for which are rooted in its past in Japanese anime and manga, and religious connotations attached to stars and sparkles.

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