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Electronic discourse
Book Item (Buchkapitel, Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden)
ID 2434588
Author(s) Locher, Miriam A.
Author(s) at UniBasel Locher, Miriam
Year 2014
Title Electronic discourse
Editor(s) Schneider, Klaus P.; Barron, Anne
Book title Pragmatics of discourse
Publisher De Gruyter
Place of publication Berlin
Pages S. 555-581
ISSN/ISBN 978-3-11-021439-0 (print hb)
Series title Handbooks of pragmatics
Number Vol. 3
Keywords CMC; web 2.0; Facebook
Abstract 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.
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