Non-verbal signalling in digital discourse: the case of letter repetition

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Abstract

This study focuses on the interactional functions of non-standard spelling, in particular letter repetition, used in text-based computer-mediated communication as a means of non-verbal signalling. The aim of this paper is to assess the current state of non-verbal cue research in computer-mediated discourse and demonstrate the need for a more comprehensive and methodologically rigorous exploration of written non-verbal signalling. The study proposes a contextual and usage-centered view of written paralanguage. Through illustrative, close linguistic analyses the study proves that previous approaches to non-standard spelling based on their relation to the spoken word might not account for the complexities of this CMC cue, and in order to further our understanding of their interactional functions it is more fruitful to describe the role they play during the contextualisation of the verbal messages. The interactional sociolinguistic approach taken in the analysis demonstrates the range of interactional functions letter repetition can achieve, including contribution to the inscription of socio-emotional information into writing, to the evoking of auditory cues or to a display of informality through using a relaxed writing style.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalDiscourse, Context & Media
Volume2
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jul 2013
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

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