Горошко Е.И.

Internet linguistics: from metaphor to discipline?

 National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytecnic Institute”

Internet linguistics: from metaphor to discipline?

Goroshko О.І., Doctor of Sociological Sciences,
Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor


internet linguistic communicative keyboard
The article enlightens the development of Internet linguistics linked with the rapid development of Internet technology and traces all shifts from scarce research in the late 80sof the last century within traditional linguistics to a separate subject area in the XXI century. For descriptions of all these innovative processes taking place in the communicative space on the basis of these technologies, one can recommend to use an umbrella term keyboard (voice) to-screen (voice) communication, covering all these types of communication To describe the linguistic constitute in this communication realized with the help of web 2.0 platforms and gadgets we propose to use the term linguistics 2.0 that emphasizes the linguistic research component in this process within modem internet-linguistics.
Key words: internet-linguistics, computer-mediated communication, keyboard (voice) to-screen (voice) communication, linguistics 2.0.


Горошко О. І. Інтернет-лінгвістика: від метафори до дисципліни?
У статті висвітлено розвиток інтернет-лінгвістики, який пов’язаний зі швидким розвитком інтернет-технологій, та простежено усі зрушення від невеликих досліджень наприкінці 80-х років останнього століття в межах традиційної лінгвістики до окремої галузі знань у XXI столітті. Для опису всіх зазначених інноваційних процесів, що відбуваються у комунікативному просторі на основі указаних технологій, рекомендується використовувати збірний термін «клавіатурно-екранна (голосова) комунікація», що містить усі види комунікації. Для того, щоб описати лінгвістичну складову частину в зазначеній комунікації, реалізовану за допомогою платформ та гаджетів Веб 2.0, пропонуємо використовувати термін «лінгвістика 2.0», який наголошує на компоненті лінгвістичних досліджень у межах сучасної інтернет-лінгвістики.
Ключові слова: інтернет-лінгвістика, комп’ютерно-опосередкована комунікація, клавіатурно-екранна (голосова) комунікація, лінгвістика 2.0.


Горошко Е. И. Интернет-лингвистика: от метафоры к дисциплине?
В статье освещено развитие интернет-лингвистики, связанное с быстрым развитием интернет-технологий, и прослежены все сдвиги от небольших исследований в конце 80-х годов последнего столетия в рамках традиционной лингвистики к отдельной отрасли знаний в XXI веке. Для описания всех указанных инновационных процессов, происходящих в коммуникативном пространстве на основе обозначенных технологий, рекомендуется использовать собирательный термин «клавиатурно-экранная (голосовая) коммуникация», содержащий все указанные виды коммуникации. Для того, чтобы описать лингвистическую составляющую в коммуникации, реализованную с помощью платформ и гаджетов Веб 2.0, предлагаем использовать термин «лингвистика 2.0», что делает акцент на компоненте лингвистических исследований в пределах современной интернет-лингвистики.
Ключевые слона: интернет-лингвистика, компьютерно-опосредованная коммуникация, клавиатурно-экранная (голосовая) коммуникация, лингвистика.

The studies of Internet impact on our language and speech began in the late 90th or at the beginning of XXI century when the number of Internet users increased dramatically and it became clear that more then 3 731 973 423 or nearly about 50% of people on the Earth already heard about the Global Net [17].
Firstly it was namely the English-speaking Internet as the most researched area [2]. The Russian-speaking Internet has been investigated since 2006-2007 and the Ukrainian segment of net started to be researched not more than 5-6 years ago [1; 2]. The main topics cover firstly peculiarities in vocabulary use, oral-written format of speech, gender and genre aspects, word-building, etc [8, p. 15-16].
The area of these studies from the very beginning was called as Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC). The term CMC was coined by Nancy Baron and used in her paper Computer-Mediated Communication as a Force of Language Change (1984) [4]. It wasn’t connected firstly at all with the use of the language on the Net.
However, as the Internet evolves and more and more people start using the Net the focus of linguistic research shifts from the linguistic peculiarities mediated by a computer channel of transmitting text-information to the peculiarities of language use within the communicative environment provided by the global Net.
S.C. Herring the pioneer in this field of research argues: “When I began studying computer-mediated communication (CMC) in 1991, it was a novel topic of research in most academic disciplines and by no means generally recognized as legitimate. CMC back then consisted mainly of email and asynchronous discussion groups newsgroups, mailing lists and privately hosted bulletin board systems. Internet relay chat (IRC), invented a few years before, had not yet attracted much attention; there was no World Wide Web; and blogs, wikis, instant messaging, text messaging, virtual worlds, social network sites and audio and video chat had yet to be introduced. Impoverished as this state of affairs may seem to present generations of digital media users, to early adopters and researchers CMC appeared rich with possibilities. In attempting to come to grips with a profoundly new set of technologies, some of my contemporaries focused on the positive and others on the negative aspects, but few of us remained unmoved. The potential of CMC to bring about social, organizational and linguistic change attracted passionate speculation and debate and stimulated empirical studies across the disciplinary spectrum” [12]. In 1996 Herring introduced a new field of research speaking about text-based computer-mediated communication [16].
Thus, CMC presents a type of communication that takes place between human beings via the instrumentality of computers. The first notion of CMC was concentrated on the text-based CMC, in which users communicate with the means of written text, e.g., by typing a message on the keyboard of one computer which is read by others on their computer screens, either immediately (synchronous CMC) or with delay in time (asynchronous CMC).
Scholars that researched the language of CMC argue that it is typed, and hence like writing, but exchanges are often rapid and informal, and hence more resemble spoken conversation. Moreover, the computer-mediated register has unique features of its own, such as the use of “emoticons” (smiley faces composed of ascii characters) and other graphics, as well as special lexis (“lurking”, “flaming”, “trolling”, “spamming”) and acronyms (FAQ, IMHO, LOL). They also enlighten that CMC is not homogeneous, but like any communicative modality, manifests itself in different styles and genres, some determined by the available technologies (e.g., real-time “messenger” modes, as opposed to asynchronous e-mail), others by human factors such as communicative purpose, speaking virtual community which can be defined as community of speech practice and group membership. Andreas Jucker and Christa Durscheid declare that this separation of the contributions in the medium from those of human users presents an important prerequisite to further CMC research development [18]. It is also important for further CMC research that its structural components and variants must be accurately defined and described. Namely this description expands our knowledge of the typological diversity of human communication.
Nowadays all results obtained in CMC research can be classified into such areas as:
- CMC as data in which they analyze lexical and grammatical features of a large corpus of computer-mediated messages. It allows scholars for building CMC resources which are interoperable with text and speech corpora that are already represented in TEI and thus shape the way for corpus-based research on language use across different types of corpora (= comparative analysis of the language use in CMC, in edited text and in spoken language) [9; 10];
- CMC research across languages and cultures that would allow building interoperable CMC corpora for different languages and thus enhance the empirical basis for doing CMC research;
- CMC across different modalities including models for the description of not only verbal but also of non-verbal communication. It is of high topicality currently concerning the widespread of social media with social networking sites (SNSs) with a lot number of possibilities to converge different semiotic systems into one platform (audio, video, text, cartoons, etc.) [3; 4, p. 7].
However, in 2008 Herring suggested slightly different approach towards CMC research taking in mind more “inner linguistic component” [11; 12]. She proposed to shape five major areas:
Classification research targeted at relationship of Internet language with modalities of speech/writing, different genres, synchronicity, participant structure, topics, etc;
Investigation research describing structural features of Internet language as typography, orthography, Net-speak (new words formation and use, emoticon, emodji, etc);
Discourse research manifesting in investigation of variety of discourse patterns in CMC. It covers such pragmatic issues as politeness, violations of relevance, and the performance of various speech acts, register phenomena (including style, gender, dialects, community of practice, analysis of language through contexts and cultures).
Through linkage with human interaction research that covers politics, learning, marketing, interpersonal communication. It deals with such theoretically-rich notions as: collaboration, community, democracy, identity, power, reputation, trust, promotion and some others;
Language ecologies and multi-cultural issues in language use on the net have increasingly attracted attention by scholars as Herring argues while the Internet expands its global scope [10].
One separate area in CMC research is dealt with its methodology. Thus, in order to enlighten namely the methodological approach Herring starts to speak about Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis (CMDA), that presents an approach to the analysis of computer-mediated communication (CMC) focused on language and language use; it is also a set of methods (a “toolkit”) grounded in linguistic discourse analysis for mining networked communication for patterns of structure and meaning, broadly construed [13; 14].
In addition Internet language offers a number of advantages for research, including an abundance of naturally-occurring (i.e., non-experimental) data that, unlike speech, does not require transcription and that can be readily analyzed using computational means and various software.
The ability of researchers to “lurk” in online environments without their presence being visible or salient to participants is another advantage, especially for studies of social interaction, albeit one that raises ethical issues.
An ongoing challenge associated with language and the Internet is namely the rate at which new technologies continue to be introduced.
All these studies in the field of CMC provoked the situation in modern linguistics that one started speaking about this subject area as a separate field in this discipline. In 2011 David Crystal began to use the term Internet linguistics that became more appropriate for description of this subject area on post-soviet linguistic discourse [8]. Also Crystal discusses the appropriate terminology for the study of language used on the Net and reflects on different concepts, such as “computer mediated communication” (CMC), “electronically mediated communication” (EMC) or “digitally mediated communication” (DMC), “internet-based communication” (IBC) used, for instance, by Michael Bei-Bwenger (2007) or “internet-mediated communication” used by Francisco Yus (2011) [6, p. 19]. Up to now the term CMC has been the most popular and the most traditional one among these terms in English-speaking research.
Later to enlighten the new trends in Internet linguistics associated with the rapid development of Internet technology and to delineate all these innovative processes taking place in the communicative space on the basis of these technologies, the umbrella term keyboard (voice) to-screen (voice) communication, appeared to cover all these types of communication that may be depicted through a number of specific dichotomies: asynchronous synchronous; written spoken; monologue dialogic; text utterance; private public; mobile stationary, monomodal multimodal and voice keyboard (screen) (realized through Telegram or WhatsUp Messengers). To specify the linguistic constitute in this communication on the base of web 2.0 technologies Andreas Jucker and Christa Durscheid in their paper “New Trends in Internet Linguistics or Keyboard (Voice) to-Screen (Voice) Communication” (2012) propose to use the term linguistics 2.0 that emphasizes the linguistic research construal in this process [18].
Therefore the Internet and social media have given rise to a broad range of new communicative genres which are collected under the term Computer-Mediated Communication in Social Media (CMC SM). One can mention such genres as-chats, forums, text messaging (SMS, WhatsApp), interaction on wiki talk pages and in blog comments, via Twitter, on social network sites (like Facebook or Pinterest), and in multimodal 3D environments. Thus in linguistics 2.0 the objects for research cover text comments on photo-sharing sites; text, audio, and video responses to YouTube videos; text (and voice) chat during multiplayer online games; and text messages from mobile phones posted to interactive TV programs, etc. Due to the strong convergence processes in this field because it involves the convergence of text with text, text with another mode, video or audio and vice versa, comments on news stories; “talk” pages associated with Wikipedia articles; status updates and comments convergence of different layers in texts, time overlaps, the senders and receivers of the messages we can trace the trend of increasing convergence, provoked even a special term Computer-Mediated Communication in Social Media [Ibid].
Thus enlightening the new trends in Internet linguistics associated with the rapid development of Internet technology for the formalization of all these innovative processes one can recommend to use an umbrella term keyboard (voice) to-screen (voice) communication, covering all these types of communication through the Net.
To describe the linguistic component in this communication realized with the help of web 2.0 platforms and gadgets we propose to use the term linguistics 2.0 that emphasizes the linguistic research component in this process and being a part of a wide anew approach in linguistics calling Internet linguistics. Namely this discipline can be rendered as a new area of linguistics with its proper methodology and research objects.
And from a metaphor in late 80s we can speak about separate subject area in the Modern Linguistics currently with a huge flow of papers and research areas due to a rapid development both Internet and software technologies.


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