Electronic discourse

Locher, Miriam A.. (2014) Electronic discourse. In: Pragmatics of discourse. Berlin, pp. 555-581.

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This chapter deals with electronic discourse by discussing the pragmatics of language use in computer-mediated settings. In many so-called first world countries, accessing the Internet by means of a computer or a smartphone, etc. has become an everyday activity for many people. In only little more than twenty years of publicly accessible Internet access, the use of computer-mediated forms of communication has developed from primarily information websites and email exchanges to highly interactive and social forms of Internet use. In Crystal’s (2011: 149) words, “[t]he Internet is the largest area of language development we have seen in our lifetimes. Only two things are certain: it is not going to go away, and it is going to get larger”. While the 2000s have seen an increase in multi-modal uses of computer-mediated communication (CMC) in that video messaging (e.g., in YouTube), the exchange of pictures (e.g., flickr) or three-dimensional virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life) are popular, written “language” is still the primary means by which communication is achieved (Wilbur 1996, in Crystal 2006: 9). In Yus’ (2011: 28) words, “[i]n the past, Internet-mediated communication was basically text-based, and even nowadays the text typed by users is essential in virtual interactions”. As such, linguists started to study language use and by now we can look back on research from two decades. In the continuation of Crystal’s (2011: 149) quotation above, he rightly points out that “[t]he challenges facing linguists are considerable, as they move towards the goal of formulating a sophisticated theoretical and applied Internet linguistics. But that, of course, is the basis of its appeal”. In this spirit, this chapter attempts to first address the object of study by looking at the names given for the research domain (Section 2), before discussing electronic discourse as a moving target, and highlighting that offline and online communication are more often than not intertwined (Section 3). Section 4 is dedicated to identifying research approaches to electronic discourse, before discussing Facebook as an example of a Web 2.0 practice, i.e. multi-modal interactive CMC, in Section 5.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > English Linguistics (Locher)
UniBasel Contributors:Locher, Miriam A.
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISBN:978-3-11-021439-0 (print hb)
Series Name:Handbooks of pragmatics
Issue Number:Vol. 3
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:31 Dec 2015 10:56
Deposited On:18 Jul 2014 09:10

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