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Twenglish: A New Variety of English? A quantitative analysis of a Twitter based corpus

During the last decades, several studies have been carried out in order to investigate the effect new media have on language. These studies have brought to the conception of a new form of communication: the so-called 'Computer-Mediated Communication' (CMC). Scholars focusing on the relationship between language and CMC have also acknowledged the existence of a new variety of English, which has been called 'Internet English' (IE). This language variety, which has its own word-formation processes, grammar, and syntax, is employed in the context of CMC only.
Nonetheless, few researches have been carried out in order to investigate from a sociolinguistic perspective one of the new media involving CMC: the social networking platforms. Therefore, our essay will point out the main sociolinguistic features of one of these social media, namely Twitter. Similarly to the users of previous CMC technologies who have developed IE, have the users of Twitter developed a particular 'Twenglish' variety, strictly related to Twitter and possibly deriving from IE? Who are its speakers, and what is the habitat in which they act? Can this habitat be analysed using traditional ways of describing World Englishes like, for example, Kachru's 'Three Circles' model?
These issues will be investigated by carrying out a quantitative analysis of a corpus which was built on 3,000 tweets (140-character messages). These messages were collected among all the English-speaking users, and they were later organized and classified according to different social variables. In addition, the creation of sub-corpora reflecting macro-areas based on the variety of English the users are 'supposed' to speak was helpful in order to understand whether similarities between the different varieties could be identified.
Apart from few distinctive features of non-native varieties of English, the research would suggest that there is not a relevant differentiation among speakers. Nevertheless, a 'Twenglish' variety, i.e. a variety of English strictly related to this particular social network, was not identified. What can be found, though, is a way of adapting the language to the medium through the development of contractions, specialized vocabulary, and symbols, which are the same as the ones of IE. Our conclusion is therefore that the language of Twitter is Internet English.

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5 ABSTRACT During the last decades, several studies have been carried out in order to investigate the effect new media have on language. These studies have brought to the conception of a new form of communication: the so-called ‘Computer-Mediated Communication’ (CMC). Scholars focusing on the relationship between language and CMC have also acknowledged the existence of a new variety of English, which has been called ‘Internet English’ (IE). This language variety, which has its own word-formation processes, grammar, and syntax, is employed in the context of CMC only. Nonetheless, few researches have been carried out in order to investigate from a sociolinguistic perspective one of the new media involving CMC: the social networking platforms. Therefore, our essay will point out the main sociolinguistic features of one of these social media, namely Twitter. Similarly to the users of previous CMC technologies who have developed IE, have the users of Twitter developed a particular ‘Twenglish’ variety, strictly related to Twitter and possibly deriving from IE? Who are its speakers, and what is the habitat in which they act? Can this habitat be analysed using traditional ways of describing World Englishes like, for example, Kachru’s ‘Three Circles’ model? These issues will be investigated by carrying out a quantitative analysis of a corpus which was built on 3,000 tweets (140-character messages). These messages were collected among all the English-speaking users, and they were later organized and classified according to different social variables. In addition, the creation of sub-corpora reflecting macro-areas based on the variety of English the users are ‘supposed’ to speak was helpful in order to understand whether similarities between the different varieties could be identified. Apart from few distinctive features of non-native varieties of English, the research would suggest that there is not a relevant differentiation among speakers. Nevertheless, a ‘Twenglish’ variety, i.e. a variety of English strictly related to this particular social network, was not identified. What can be found, though, is a way of adapting the language to the medium through the development of contractions, specialized vocabulary, and symbols, which are the same as the ones of IE. Our conclusion is therefore that the language of Twitter is Internet English.

Laurea liv.I

Facoltà: Lingue e Letterature Straniere

Autore: Enrico Giai Contatta »

Composta da 69 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 485 click dal 08/07/2014.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.