This article examines the initial exchanges in calls to the Swedish emergency services, focusing on callers’ responses to the standardised opening phrase SOS one one two, what has occurred?. Comparisons across three age groups – children, teenagers, and adults – revealed significant differences in caller behaviour. Whereas teenagers and adults offered reports of the incident, child callers were more prone to request dispatch of specific assistance units. This pattern was only observable when children were accompanied by an adult relative, which leads us to propose that child callers may be operating under prior adult instruction concerning how to request help. The second part of the analysis examines the local organisation of participants’ actions, showing how turn-design and sequencing manifest the local concerns of the two parties. The analysis thus combines quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the ways through which the parties jointly produce an early sense of emergency incidents. These results are discussed in terms of children’s agency and competence as informants granted to them by emergency operators, and how such competence ascriptions run against commonsense conceptualisations of children as less-than-full-fledged members of society.
In several recent discussions of different forms of ‘news interview’, some principles, previously thought to be fundamental to this genre, have been called into question. In particular, the concept of ‘neutralism’, central to the analysis of interviewer (IR) strategies in the UK and USA, has been found to be both internationally variable and not necessarily adhered to in some contemporary political interviews. On occasion IRs have been found to use strategies of ‘assertion’ in which they state their own opinions and argue with interviewees, and it is further suggested that these practices are becoming increasingly prevalent. To investigate these questions, this article presents a survey of IR strategies in a particular sub-species of news interview, the ‘set-piece’ election interviews with party leaders that have been a feature of British broadcasting since 1983. In this context it is found that adversarial interviewing has always involved some use of IR assertion and that this practice did indeed increase in the late 1990s, but it is also suggested that IRs might have felt justified in these departures from ‘neutralism’ by changing definitions of their role as ‘tribune of the people’.
In the last ten years, a highly productive space of metaphor analysis has been established in the discourse studies of media, politics, business, education etc. In the theoretical framework of Conceptual Metaphor Theory and CDA, the established metaphorical patterns are viewed as a significant conceptualisation realized linguistically for their implied ideological value. By using this analytical framework and procedurally employing Pragglejaz group's MIP, this study aims at analysing the implied ideological value of the US–RUSSIA FOREIGN POLICY IS COMMERCIAL TRANSACTION/ CT metaphor. In this article, I propose that media positively evaluate the CT metaphor. This metaphorical construal associates the US–Russia spy swap of 2010 with rational politics which enables both countries to cooperate and seek partnership, despite their primary pragmatic intentions and underlying competitiveness towards each other.
Academic weblogs are sometimes used by scholars and interested public to engage in discussion about discipline-specific topics. The nature of the blog and its technological affordances affect the interaction taking place and the strategies used by the participants in the blog to negotiate interpersonal relations. The purpose of this paper is to examine conflict in academic blog discussions (i.e. discussions in the comments sections), to analyze whether the medium features of weblog discourse influence the strategies used to construe conflict and to determine how conflict is used for the construction of online identity. The data for the study consisted in discussions taken from 9 academic weblogs. I analyzed the corpus to get data on the following aspects: (i) the frequency of conflictual acts in each academic weblog; (ii) the strategies used to construe conflict; (iii) the target of the conflictual act. The analysis revealed a high incidence of conflictual acts in academic blog discussions, ranging from mild criticism and disagreement to more severe expressions of conflict, like bold criticism, challenging questions or insults. These results can be related to the participants' desire to construct their online identity by using conflict to defend their values and beliefs and show their allegiance to a particular group.
The transformational potential of using social networking sites (SNS) for activism is a highly researched topic in various academic disciplines, but the topic of ‘success’ has been largely avoided by scholars, much to the detriment of activists themselves, for whom effective use of SNS has become action critical. In this paper, we triangulate findings (incorporating data from surveys, focus groups, and tweets from activists, and combining qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, chiefly through corpus-based critical discourse analysis) to gain a better understanding of how activists perceive and construct activism on SNS, to describe some features of successful and unsuccessful activist tweets, and to provide some recommendations for heightened impact of activist activities on SNS. To this aim, we describe to what extent certain actions leverage the affordances of digital media and distinguish between categories of action along two dimensions: individualistic vs. collectivistic and persuasive vs. confrontational. We find that activists describe goals that involve individualized, persuasive (and therefore low-risk) activities to be most effectively achieved using Twitter, likely due to fear of police intervention. Activist tweets are found to be retweeted at a dramatically lower rate than a reference corpus of general tweets, and are characterized by lack of original content. We conclude by discussing the various ways in which activists could improve these circumstances and optimize their engagement with SNS by radically increasing their leveraging of the affordances of digital media.
The high uptake of mobile phones in the developing world has instigated studies on the impact of the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in poverty reduction programs and other programs that would benefit the poorest and most excluded sections of the global population. It has created new hopes as to how mobile phones would be able to close the so-called global digital gap that exists between the developed and the developing world and transform the fortunes of the poor. As ICTs are always embedded in social and economic realities and practices which deeply influence, define, and restrict people’s mobile phone use, one should however be cautious in transporting and applying findings and studies focusing on the created opportunities of mobile phone use from one continent, country or even community to another.This article focuses on the mobile phone use of middle-aged women living in Wesbank, a post-apartheid township in Cape Town. By highlighting the main characteristics of the community (poverty, unemployment, crime, migration, multilingualism and illiteracy) I discuss the influences of these characteristics on mobile phone use. In this way, this article looks at the sociolinguistic aspects of discourse. By scrutinizing the availability and accessibility of certain resources and the unequal distribution of others, this ethnographic research looks at the conditions for discourse, or, in a lot of cases, conditions for ‘non-discourse'. Although the adoption of a mobile phone creates diverse opportunities with regards to connectivity, safety, and literacy acquisition, poverty, crime and illiteracy are major constraints on the full realization of the potential.
In this study, a particular development in language behavior, the use of the -ed suffix from English in both participle and non-participle contexts, is investigated in the domain of the German hip hop community. This morphological-orthographic feature is analyzed from a linguistic and distributional standpoint in a 12.5 million word corpus of German hip hop discussion, revealing its patterns of use over a decade in both contexts within this community, along with supplemental examples from YouTube videos. This corpus analysis is paired with a case study of a discourse event between two forum participants negotiating the use of this form, revealing a surprising streak of linguistic conservatism in the German hip hop community as well as the contested nature of the form's usage. The results of this study demonstrate the need for closer attention to morphological forms in sociolinguistic studies of computer-mediated communication, as such forms can reveal linguistic behavior that would not be evident in spoken language, but which are nevertheless contested and negotiated as linguistic features.
In this article we explore the discursive construal of news values across the modalities of written language and image, with a focus on attitude/evaluation/stance. From this perspective, news values are not beliefs that journalist hold or criteria that they apply, they are values that are constructed by choices in language and image. We argue that attention needs to be paid to the contribution of both modalities to this construction to gain a fuller understanding of how events are retold and made ‘newsworthy’. We illustrate our ‘discursive’ approach to news values through close analysis of online reporting of the 2011 Queensland floods on smh.com.au (the website of The Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian metropolitan broadsheet newspaper). As will be seen, a discursive perspective on news values provides a framework that allows for systematic analysis of how such values are constructed in both words and images. It allows researchers to systematically examine how particular events are construed as newsworthy, what values are emphasised in news stories, and how language and image establish events as more or less newsworthy.
Quality journalism is expected to adhere to norms of objectivity and neutrality whereby the authorial reporting voice avoids expressing any emotive reaction to the events reported. Research (Martin and White, 2005, Bednarek, 2008 and Pounds, 2010) has shown that authorial affect is virtually absent in quality British print-media news reporting. In the case of television news reporting, however, the nature and distribution of authorial affect have not yet been investigated in any detail. This paper shows how the appraisal framework (Martin and White, 2005) and Montgomery's classification of authorial voices in television news reporting (2007) may be used as a basis for such an investigation. The analysis is applied to an episode of the British news programme BBC News at Ten. The findings show that, as might be expected, some authorial affect is, to some extent, always conveyed through the audio-visual and dialogic dimensions. It is further shown, however, how affective expression still appears to be subject to some constraints in relation to the nature of the authorial voices represented in the programme, even though the distinction is often blurred.
This paper focuses on the affiliation of imagined communities (Anderson, 1983) around bonds that are created in 40 letters from the opinions pages of the Daily Sun, a tabloid, and The Times, a mainstream national newspaper. Bonds consist of couplings of interpersonal and ideational meaning that are revealed by an appraisal analysis of the letters, and show how the identity of the readership community is co-constructed by the letter writers. Ideational meaning is identified by generating frequency and keyword lists with a concordancer. The appraisal information provides an empirical base from which to compare the natures of the two newspapers’ readership communities in terms of how they view agency and group cohesion. This is done to explore whether the communities of readership are as different as they are perceived to be (by those who reject tabloids). Main findings show how both communities affiliate around the value of education, but The Times’ readers are more individualistic than the Daily Sun’s, who concentrate primarily on the behaviour of the group.
The purpose of this paper is to present a descriptive analysis of Amazon.com product reviews that have been rated as “most helpful” by the Amazon.com discourse community in an attempt to discover if the shared values of the community are reflected in this specific genre. Drawing on genre theory and corpus-based discourse analysis, I detail the rhetorical patterns that exist in these reviews by analyzing a corpus of 142 “most helpful positive” and “most helpful critical” product reviews. A comparison of the results indicates that differences exist in the rhetorical patterning of positive and critical reviews. To reconcile this difference, I put forward a general argument that these differences still work towards the same overall communicative purpose of the genre, which is in turn a reflection of the shared values and goals of the Amazon.com discourse community. Product reviews that contain new or “experience” type information, as opposed to old or “search” (Mudambi and Schuff, 2010) type information are preferred by the Amazon.com discourse community. Concurrently, reviews that are similar to the “soft selling” form of advertisements (Cook, 1992), or reviews that are reminiscent of elements of “synthetic personalization” (Fairclough, 1989), are considered less helpful than reviews that focus on the author or product of the review.
Drawing on eleven television/radio celebrity interviews (316 min), broadcast in American English and Mandarin Chinese in the US and in China, the current study is a comparative discourse analysis of an indirect questioning strategy in media interview discourse, i.e., the interviewers’ deployments of statements that effectuate turn-transfer and function as information-soliciting questions. The findings show parallels between the two datasets regarding the types of statement-questions prevalent, such as formulations of the interviewee's experiences (Heritage and Roth, 1995), appraisals of the interviewee-associated events, and third-party attributed/descriptive statements. Differences in the two datasets lie in the particular discursive formulations and subsequent functions of these similar types of statement-questions. For instance, the American English interviewers' third-party attributed/descriptive statements focus on public controversies, while the same types, in the Mandarin interviews, may evoke others' (hypothetical) perceptions of the guest as a person, effectuating a normative ideology. Overall, the study contributes to a broader understanding of the universality of indirect speech acts and the potential cultural specificity of indirect speech acts. The findings also expand the literature of media interviews by illustrating the types of statement-questions arguably particular to the celebrity interview genre, including use of positive addressee-assessments to organize topics and support the interviewee's public persona.
The paper uses appraisal theory to map some of the richly complex visual and verbal resources for making evaluative meanings in political cartoons, and to capture how distinctive patterns of those resources create different interpersonal styles, or evaluative keys. It thereby addresses a gap in the cartoon literature, where claims about point of view, persuasive effects and style are often intuitive, rather than based on systematic analysis. The tools of verbal and visual appraisal analysis and the concept of evaluative key are explained. Some proposals are offered concerning the specific contribution of visual–verbal interaction to evaluation. Detailed appraisal analyses and discussion of three cartoons illustrate the different configurations of appraisal resources realising the evaluative key of each, and how evaluative meanings and viewer alignment depend on multiple interactions between visual and verbal appraisal and ideation. Three types of evaluative key are proposed: observer voice, jester voice and indicter voice.
This paper argues for an expansion of the traditional notion of journalistic stance as defined by Martin and White (2005). Its main plea is that appraisal resources, metaphors or agency expressions in a newspaper article are not the only traces of a journalist’s line of vision: a journalist’s assessment as to whether particular information is worth mentioning in the article and whether or not the information will be covered in substantial detail are also – be it less explicit and hence more difficult to pin down – expressions of evaluation.News production is in essence a delicate game of choice-making at various levels, not only between including overt or implicit evaluative expressions in the text, but also between providing more or less relevant information, and between giving a detailed or vague description of that information: choices which are at all times governed and constrained by the specific socio-economic and professional context in which the journalist operates. For that reason this paper argues that future research on journalistic stance should try to expand the notion of evaluation to all discursive levels at which choice-making is at stake.In order to support our claim, the paper presents a case study cross-comparing 48 news articles reporting on one and the same news event: the resignation of the Belgian federal government in April 2010. The articles were written by 16 different foreign correspondents attached to broadsheet newspapers from four neighbouring countries of Belgium. The majority of the news articles are characterized by a low frequency of explicit evaluative language (reporter voice). Relying on systematic cross-comparison of appraisal resources and triangulation with ethnographic data, the paper uncovers manifestations of journalistic stance across multiple levels of discourse in order to demonstrate how the intricate puzzle of choice-making affects coverage of the news event.
This article explores why and how organizations use the personal experiences of ostensibly real employees as a persuasive strategy in image management. It analyzes the verbal and visual discourse of the corporate genre of employee testimonial to understand how the production of meanings is distributed between organization and employee, and how this distribution influences the effect that they are authentic employee stories. I argue that the personalization of the narratives, particularly through verbal and visual evaluation, is a strategy which shifts the voice of organizations to employees, and in doing so illustrates the precarious balance between narrative interest and authenticity in promotional texts.
This paper addresses the talk of the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, when he spoke on the BBC following a surge in electoral success for the party. Inclusion in these programmes demonstrated political progress for the BNP, yet ironically facilitated breadth of criticism for the party, as his appearances were met with widespread hostility and accusations of extremism. Reactive rhetoric to these criticisms is central to Griffin rebranding the party and becoming part of mainstream UK politics. Discourse analysis is used to explore how Griffin responds to such criticism during two radio programmes and one television programme between 2009 and 2010. The analysis shows how Griffin uses two interconnected strategies of (1) presenting British people as the victims, rather than the perpetrators, of racism, and (2) blaming this racism not on outside groups, but on an ill-defined ‘ruling elite’. These strategies are not independent of one another and function in response to criticism to present Griffin and the BNP as not racist aggressors but respondents to anti-white racism. The implications of this strategy for the presentation and attempted rebranding of the BNP, alongside other far right and mainstream parties, are discussed.
One case of derogatory speech that originated from an episode of the BBC television show, Top Gear, is examined as a prototypical example of the interplay among national stereotypes, humor, and mass media. The authors use Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to examine the global controversy that erupted in response to the single episode in which the show's hosts invoked demeaning stereotypes of Mexico. Martin and White's appraisal framework was applied to a series of texts taken from this global discourse in order to identify the textual means by which humor—in the episode itself as well as the emotionally-charged discourse that emanates from it—serves to reinforce nationalist ideology as the prevailing commonsense. Drawing on multiple fields, this CDA exploration draws a conceptual bridge to the established work on racialized humor in that both benefit from controversial episodes that are played out in mass media because people take the central ideological premise as a given in order to participate in the discourse, thus perpetuating the ideology's central positioning as an unchallenged commonsense. It is worthwhile to study the relationship between nationalized humor and the mass media because it serves as a valuable complement to the existing literature on racialized humor, and it also contributes to broader questions about the role of mass media in reinforcing ideologies.
This paper examines how transcultural flows related to the conspiracy theory of Illuminati are encountered and appropriated through YouTube by a group of Copenhagen adolescents. I find that the adolescents engagement with the Illuminati society is not limited to new media practices but on the contrary spread to other everyday practices as well. In examining how the adolescents relate to and use such transcultural flows I look at how they align and dis-align with Illuminati imagery and how they engage with the conspiracy theory in different everyday situations and on Facebook. In this way I discuss how Illuminati imagery is used as a resource in the young people's everyday social practices. Such insights clarify the way in which transcultural phenomena that are circulated by the Internet and new media become elements of cultural diversity in so-called “super-diverse” societies.
This article demonstrates a practical strategy for facilitating critical perspective on public sphere arguments. One issue for readers of an argument may be unfamiliarity with its topic. If this is the case, they may be unaware of the ‘other side’ of the argument. In the strategy that I put forward, the reader finds this out, gaining knowledge of key concerns across related groups which oppose the stance of the argument. This is achieved through corpus linguistic analysis of collections of texts from opposition websites. The results of these analyses allow the reader to judge the extent to which the argument addresses common oppositional concerns. As I show, this not only affords critical perspective on the argument but potentially problematising of it relative to these concerns. To assist me in developing this approach, I engage with some key ideas of the philosopher, Gilles Deleuze, and his collaborator, the psychoanalyst, Félix Guattari. To illustrate the critical strategy, I analyze an argument which is in favor of GM agriculture by drawing on corpora of texts from websites which oppose this form of agriculture.
The novel use of intra-lingual subtitles other than as an aid for the hard-of-hearing population originated from Japanese TV in the 1990s. This innovative use, also known as impact captions, is now seen as a feature of Japanese (and other Asian) TV but has also spread into Western broadcasts (c.f. the drama series Sherlock on BBC and the film Night Watch) in recent years. However, there is little research on the interpretive mechanism or viewer experience of such use and hence industries continue to use impact captions in an ad hoc manner. Working within Sperber and Wilson's (1995) relevance theory, this paper is an attempt to explain the way viewers interpret the content of programmes with impact captions and the role these captions play in the interpretation process. I claim that impact captioning is a device the creators can use to manipulate the viewers' interpretation by highlighting certain elements.
This paper seeks to contribute to the scholarship which is interested in the rhetorical, axiological workings of what are sometimes termed ‘hard news’ or ‘objective’ news stories—a style of news journalism typically associated with the ‘quality’ or ‘broadsheet’ news media and involving a regime of ‘strategic ‘impersonalisation’. It is interested in the communicative mechanisms by which such texts are often able to advance or favour particular value positions while employing a relatively impersonal style in which attitudinal evaluations and other potentially contentious meanings are largely confined to material attributed to quoted sources. It reviews previous research on the evaluative qualities of these texts, with special reference to the literature on attribution and so-called ‘evidentiality’ in news discourse. It is proposed that understandings of the axiological workings of these text can be enhanced by referencing some of the key insights emerging from what is termed the ‘Appraisal ‘framework’, an approach to the analysis of evaluative language developed within the Systemic Functional Linguistic paradigm of Michael Halliday and his associates. In particular it is proposed that understandings of the workings of these texts can be enhanced by referencing proposals in the Appraisal literature with respect to implicit or ‘invoked’ attitude and by reference to an account of attribution and so-called ‘evidentiality’ which is grounded in Bakhtinian notions of dialogism, rather than in notions of truth functionality and certainty-of-knowledge claims.
This paper examines strategies of language choice in social networking interactions among multilingual young people on Facebook. In media studies the term ‘context collapse’ describes the process by which online social networks bring together people from various social contexts, thereby creating a diverse networked audience. In online social networks that involve participants from different countries and language communities, language choice becomes a pertinent issue. This paper draws on empirical data from social networks among young multilingual people on Facebook to examine strategies of language choice and negotiation. Drawing on the sociolinguistic framework of audience design, the sociolinguistics of multilingualism and computer-mediated discourse analysis, the analysis examines language choice in initiating and responding contributions, metapragmatic negotiations of language style and the role of English as a resource among networked writers.
This paper considers the relationship between topic avoidance, talk, and class in reality television. I analyze interactions in reunion shows of The Real Housewives, a reality television show that since 2006 has followed casts of women in metropolitan locales around America, focusing on their affluent lifestyles. Reunion shows bring cast members together to discuss the previous season’s episodes, providing space to talk about what happened and confront each other over unresolved issues. Because disclosure is normative in the reunion context, the casting of topics as “taboo” for discussion is interactionally salient and, I argue, productive. My analysis shows that avoidance is triggered not by a set of categorically taboo topics, but rather by topics that momentarily threaten Housewives’ enactment of culturally elite identities. Avoidance serves to protect their public images as both materially endowed—having status—and well-behaved—having class. I identify and illustrate three types of avoidance stance, which differ in the role alignments through which participants are positioned. These stances can function to limit the discussion of information threatening to one’s own material status, to preserve one’s own image as “classy,” and to introduce threatening information about another’s status or class. Ultimately, avoidance stances are a way for Housewives to negotiate the tension between being on a reality television show, which requires openness and disclosure, and being evaluated as culturally elite, which requires behavioral restraint regarding talk about self and others.
This paper presents an analysis of the ongoing processes of constructing and deconstructing sexualised and exoticized othering in Brazilian-Portuguese mediatised cultural (mis)encounters and (mis)constructions of the female body against the background of changing geopolitical and socio-economic superdiversifying relations in the postcolonial Lusophone world. Methodologically it tries to respond to a call, by several authors, for more empirically grounded research as a means of addressing the complexities involved in contemporary national-transnational dialogues and identity construction processes. The analysis, while resting on a larger cultural and postcolonial studies frame of reference, brings this kind of translocal conversation home with an in-depth analysis of digital encounters detected in text trajectories on blogs and social media. The data, approached through the lenses of competing orders of indexicality, indicate that “cultural identity” (as enacted through the exchanges of a handful of Portuguese and Brazilian nationals) is a minefield that has to be understood as interlacing discrepant indexical values: it simultaneously articulates historic rivalries and their rejection. From this point of view, the voices of several of the focused interlocutors seemed to cry out for new meaning-making processes while still orienting to Colonial totalizing dichotomies and hierarchies. This kind of dovetailing adds more nuanced contours to the notion of superdiversity being explored in this special volume, reconstructing it in terms of a permanent and necessary diversity-sameness dialectics – a kind of friction that has been exacerbated in digital contexts. Put otherwise, “colonial empires” are still around as orienting references but, in superdiverse times, not only do they write back but also blog back in multi-territorial discursive trajectories.
In this paper, I examine how the program ¡Vaya Semanita! (“What a week!”), a sketch-comedy program produced in Spain, illustrates the positions taken by different speakers toward the process of “Basquization” or Euskaldunization. More concretely, I focus on the figures of the “euskaldunberri” (the new-Basque speaker) who has learned Basque through instruction as opposed to the “euskaldunzaharra” (the old Basque speaker), whose native tongue is Basque. I argue that by way of social and political satire, the program represents stances and postures that do not tend to enter the public discourse on revitalization in the Basque Country. It is also through humor that Vaya Semanita helps viewers reflect on the social fields contributing to ethnolinguistic processes by cultivating a space where divergent identity orientations may be proposed, interpreted, contested, and consumed.
In computer-mediated communication, social categories such as race and ethnicity have to be actively performed and constructed by participants in order to gain visibility; it can be argued that new forms of super-diversity and their sociolinguistic implications become particularly tangible here. As a consequence, such racialized discourse provides ideal material for a sociolinguistic analysis of CMC. Based on these assumptions, this study focuses on how race and ethnicity are performed on the web forum Nairaland, a digital community and place of interaction for Nigerian locals, first- and secondgeneration Nigerian emigrants, as well as participants with other ethnic backgrounds. A large-scale corpus (17 million token, time span of 4 years) was analyzed in terms of racial and ethnic identity construction of the community members; in particular, the use of Nigerian Pidgin as an ethnolinguistic repertoire within the community was taken into account. The analysis includes visualizations of the globalized community structure, a quantitative assessment of the distribution of racial and ethnic labels, and a qualitative close reading of diasporic narratives of belonging. The results of this study illustrate how the use and (often conscious) selection of ethnolinguistic repertoires contribute to the complex and varied racial/ethnical identities on display in the forum data. In this sense, this paper makes a contribution to our understanding of the sociolinguistic implications of super-diversity, and the essential role that digital mediation plays in its emergence.
For many metal music groups, the music and sounds play a more important role than language and the lyrics do. In the Christian metal (CM) genre, however, the verbal dimension has a significant status. Drawing on the concept of entextualization, the process of producing texts through extraction and relocation, this paper describes how CM groups craft their discourse (song lyrics plus textual contents on their websites) by drawing on pre-existing biblical texts while connecting them with the resources provided by the metal music culture. Entextualization is a fruitful way of looking into how the Bible is used on CM band websites for mediating between Christianity and metal music culture. The analysis shows how the Bible is used in different ways for the purposes of identification and acknowledging spiritual inspiration and of making the Bible relevant for today's audiences.
Contending that media users are more than self-interested consumers and that the public sphere media can achieve more in the public sphere than simply meet market demand, our mission in this paper is to show how some public sphere media–specifically such fora as weblogs or blogs—may in fact be able to fulfil democratic public sphere responsibilities of enabling deliberative exchange. More specifically, through a consideration of three Australian politically—focused blogs—Larvatus Prodeo (group-authored blog), Andrew Bolt (sole-authored blog by a conservative commentator), and Andrew Bartlett (sole-authored blog by a former Australian Democrats Senator)—we argue that such fora can indeed inform and enable the public sphere deliberation important for democracy. We found that although blog participants might not evidently come to rational and consensual agreements, they are debating issues of public concern, and can take part in exchanges that facilitate deliberation. In our conception, deliberation is not necessarily invalidated by either the lack of any tangible outcome, or the fact that any outcomes reached are only partial and contingent, open to revision. What is rather important is the practice and procedure of deliberation performed without stringent regulation by pre-set endpoints other than that of deliberation itself.
Imprisonment changes the rules of interactive engagement. The balance of duties and rights is tipped as incarcerated persons bear a diminished amount of control over their interaction with others, especially those on the outside. Based on the blogs of five prisoners, we ask how the internet is used to change the rules of engagement with the outside world, especially in terms of redefining the moral space of rights and duties within which persons position themselves and others. A third party, who we call “positioning mediators”, succors the prisoners to re-negotiate their positioning in this mediated interaction. We examine the mediators' meta-positioning and the prisoners' re-negotiation of self-positioning in the cyberspace and cybertime within the interactive discourse of prisoners' blogging. Our conclusion shows how this blogging ultimately allows for the resumption of authors' agency and subjectivity.
This paper presents hegemonic masculinity as it is achieved during interactions between television host Jim Cramer and his callers in the “Lightening Round” segment on the CNBC television show “Mad Money”. Cramer's persona and interactions adhere to a hegemonic masculinity dominant in American culture, and they create a sphere in which it is the only normative identity possible. This hegemonic masculinity is created by the use of specific phrases (e.g. the “booyah” salutation), actions (e.g. compliments to the host), by the insertion of sports as a topic of discussion, and by Cramer's dominant positioning as an expert. After presenting these features we demonstrate how this arena creates problems for the very few female callers participating in it. We therefore conclude that the “Lightening Round” helps to construct and reproduce masculinist authority in this mass-mediated window into the world of finance.
This article focuses on journalistic self-presentations within political television talk. While previous studies have explored quite extensively how journalists manage to achieve a “neutralistic” posture within news interviews and other forms of political broadcast talk, they have been cautious about incorporating reflections on the role of programme formats. This study raises questions about how televisual formats (can) play a role in the formulation of a professional, distancing journalistic self in political television programmes. The analysis draws on transcriptions of 19 pre-election debates broadcast on Flemish public service television (VRT) in 2009. Inspired by a conversation analytic framework and building on , ,  and  findings on the use of footing shifts in news interviews, the analysis shows that the presence of pre-produced, format-related components, such as public surveys, reportages and expert commentaries, enlarges the journalist-presenters' “pool” of strategic resources to reach, defend and legitimise a neutralistic stance.
In this paper we examine contemporary news presentation, noting some of the discursive and textual features as broadcasters endeavour to capture and hold target audiences in an intensely competitive and connected environment. Drawing on Bolter and Grusin’s (1999) notion of ‘remediation’ we examine how the news studio and presentation style has begun to borrow artefacts and language styles that resemble the domestic sphere in layout and discourse. We begin by noting the increasing use of domestic furniture from which news is presented before then examining how the presenters in a particular news program present a newspaper review section during the program. What is notable here is the way the presenters do not stick to the topical news stories of the day but use the stories to touch off further personal stories about themselves, and which take up most of the allocated time slot. In the final section we examine how this level of informality is utilised in integrating viewer comments and feedback into the going interaction maintaining a level of synchronicity of topical comment.
This paper examines the way the host of a UK daytime television talk show, The Jeremy Kyle Show, generates entertainment through framing guests' stories using membership categories and category-based moral evaluations. The analysis draws upon Membership Categorisation Analysis, and in particular Sacks's (1995) discussion of categorial inferencing and category norms, to examine the way the host overlays individuals with membership categories and category-based actions. Moreover, this category work then provides for subsequent normative reasoning and moral judgements to be made for the overhearing audience. In summary the analysis demonstrates the way the show operates through making individuals and their actions morally accountable for the overhearing audience through routine categorisation work and related norms of behavior.
This paper analyses discourse, power and context on social media. Through a theoretical discussion of the 'Twitter Joke Trial', we highlight the growing importance of understanding 'individual communicative nuance' (ICN) and complex power relations in the production and interpretation of online texts. But ICN is not the only problematic practice of online communications; there are other social and environmental factors that impact upon the production, consumption and interpretation of social media. Whilst adopting previous understandings of discourse, context and social practice we refine and apply models of panoptic and synoptic power that are applicable to the communicative complexities of the social media. These dimensions of power, we argue, are unfixed and shift according to the contextual environments in which they are produced and consumed. Hence, we show that Critical Discourse Studies (CDS) can incorporate theoretical frameworks that provide the investigative and analytical approaches necessary for exploring power relations in digital media technologies. By developing this theoretical approach we propose the concept of synoptic resistance, which mobilizes oppositional power against authoritative surveillance. Whilst we do not deny that broader social structures maintain top-down power, we argue that 'omnioptic' media environments complicate these power relations in the 'countercurrents' they provide against authority.
This study examines the phenomenon of silence and face-work in Chinese TV talk shows. In general, TV talk shows aim at entertaining the audience by interviewing celebrities either about their work or their personal life, subjects that will interest the audience. Since air time is limited, silence in such TV talk shows is not preferred. However, our study shows that there are many instances of silences in these talk shows. Silences are seen as meaningful turns in the conversations. The data is taken from two Chinese TV talk shows: Lu Yu You Yue (A Date with Lu Yu, henceforth LY) which is a popular information talk show in China and Kang Xi Lai Le (Here Comes Kang Xi, henceforth KX) from Taiwan. This study explores how the frame or expectations of the type of a talk show will determine how the silences are used in relation to face-work given the media specificity and cultural expectations.
This study investigates how symbols are used as a sentence closing method in Japanese mobile phone e-mail (Keitai-mail), in order to discuss how this practice has extended to increase the possibility of what can be conveyed via written composition.43,295 mails from 60 Japanese young people are analysed in this study. The results show that, as in other CMC practices, emoticons are mostly used as sentence closure devices in the collected data (about 63%), indicating that writers of Keitai-mail naturally use the end of the sentence as a place to add extra-textual messages such as feelings or implications. Moreover, some standard scripts such as periods (‘。’) are also used as emotional markers in addition to their formal usage as simple sentence closing devices. These texting practices can be interpreted as showing that the sentence closing is the most important method since the messages intended to be expressed in Keitai-mail have become more sensitive in terms of reflecting a subtle meaning or implication through this method. The choice of whether to use standard or picture-based symbols contributes to this practice as well.
Workplace discourse analysis (WDA) has gathered momentum to researching how people interact and manipulate power in face-to-face workplace talk under the Communities of Practice (CofP) framework. However, WDA studies have seldom touched on how colleagues talk after work and outside the workplace; nor have these studies questioned whether the CofP framework can conceptualize such an emergent form of workplace talk. Drawing on empirical data collected from one Hong Kong branch of an Italian restaurant, this study aims to (1) explore how its employees communicate workplace issues and negotiate power in Facebook Status Updates after work and (2) examine use of the CofP framework in their talk which takes place outside the workplace. Adopting methods of discourse analysis, we find that colleagues individualize their talk in Status Updates for highlighting professionality, suggesting administrative changes, managing colleague relationships, and releasing work-oriented tension. In these processes involving Netspeak, institutional authority, official hierarchy and predetermined status are largely fluctuating or collapsing. Simultaneously, there are often ambiguity or invisibility in relation to the indispensable substances in a CofP, namely the strength of joint enterprises, form of mutual engagements and use of shared repertoire. We conclude by arguing that (1) Status Updates can be strategically used after work, usually in a more casual and personal manner, to attain workplace-oriented goals and re/negotiate power among colleagues, and that (2) it remains questionable whether the online workplace talk by a group of colleagues after work can be appropriately conceptualized by the existing use of CofP framework in WDA.
Superdiversity has emerged as an important keyword in the field of sociolinguistics. In this article, I argue that the use of ‘superdiverse’ as a descriptive adjective is a theoretical cul-de-sac, because the complexities brought about by diversity in the social world ultimately defy numerical measurement (as it would require infinitely more fine-grained categories of difference). Consequently, superdiversity is best used as a conceptual device, that is, as a theoretical perspective on language and social life (e.g. Blommaert and Rampton 2011). As a conceptual tool, rather than an empirical fact, superdiversity is part of a broader concern in contemporary sociolinguistics to develop a new theoretical vocabulary. The articles collected in this special issue respond to this call and illustrate the diversities of digital engagement. However, while superdiversity directs our attention towards complexity and unpredicability, the papers collected also draw attention to a counter-movement: a persistent desire for normativity and predictability. In the final section of the article, I suggest that it would be fruitful to bring together on-going work on superdiversity with equally on-going work on creativity, as both share a focus on the unexpected and creative uses of language. Both thus provide a counter-narrative to the desire for normativity and predictability, and allow us to develop a theoretical perspective which moves beyond statistical patterns and conventions, and recognizes language as a fundamentally open system.
In the written English variety used in a community of World of Warcraft players, two iconic lexical items created from symbols have undergone semantic change. The words analyzed are ∧and <--, which have shifted from iconic deictic items used for discourse reference to non-iconic epistemic meanings. ∧ shifted from a discourse deictic to an affirmative of a previous utterance, and <-- shifted to a self-identifying meaning similar to a pronoun. The existence and evolution of these lexical items are related to the medium in which they were created, as their meanings are associated with a visual-spatial environment created by textual chat in the virtual world. The different meanings of ∧and <-- currently exist in polysemy in the community, and the continuum of meanings are documented using data from natural language use spanning three years. A statistical analysis is performed on the data, and a diachronic change in meaning is found; furthermore, the observed change follows the path of semantic shift processes previously documented in spoken language.
This paper explores and compares American and Chinese travelers' engagement patterns in their online hotel reviews. Overall, the two populations display homogeneity across the engagement resources of monogloss and heterogloss, construing hotel review writing as primarily assertive and drastically constricted against alternative voices. The two populations' homogeneous engagement pattern suggests that their hotel review writing is not determined by their respective national cultures. Rather it has to do with the factors of introspectiveness, impersonality and asynchrony, and beneficial mutualism concerning travelers, potential travelers, hotel owners/managements, and travel websites. This paper thus demonstrates the strength of intercultural rhetoric's proposal of analyzing linguistic/rhetorical behaviors in particular contexts in terms of complexity and changeability.
This article focuses on four methodological issues which raise challenges for sociolinguists working with online data: (1) ethics; (2) multimodality; (3) mixed methodologies and the relationship between online and offline settings; and (4) web corpora and annotation. While there are currently numerous publications dealing with questions of ethics, data and methodology from within communication studies and social scientific research more generally, there are only a handful of publications which specifically focus on empirical linguistic research. In addition to delineating the diversity of computer-mediated data, in the course of the article we review each of these methodological issues in turn, thereby discussing key terminology and reviewing relevant literature.
This paper examines the sharing of an unfolding life event (the remodeling of a new house) on Facebook through small story posts. The fact that someone might also choose to simultaneously share the same life event on a blog (as the poster in this paper does) suggests there is a discursive goal that the blog accomplishes that Facebook cannot; on an event-specific blog, unlike on Facebook, the posts are arranged both chronologically and consecutively, within the frame of the overall event. For this reason, the blog is able to tell a narrative, while Facebook can only suggest one. At the same time, Facebook has its own interactive successes over a blog: it is ideal for audience collection, particularly for linking a narrative with people familiar with the protagonist. This particular type of audience is then able to help create the tellability of the narrative (it is of interest because it is a life event being experienced by someone they care about) and assist in shaping the small stories and connecting them discursively with the larger narrative that exists partially on the blog, and partially yet to be experienced.
This paper focuses on the role of the news media in the (re)definition of contested environmental issues. It analyzes how the media, by means of various discursive strategies, legitimize or delegitimize different stakeholder claims about how to handle environmental issues, i.e. how certain definitions of how to understand and manage them achieve hegemonic positions. Guided by critical discourse analysis, the paper analyzes local and national newspapers' reporting on two insect outbreaks in Sweden: one which resulted in spraying and one which did not. The analysis focuses on the constructions of causes and solutions to the problems and of the consequences of spraying. The paper concludes that the news media's contribution to the production of hegemonic meaning on contested environmental issues is heavily colored by the routines of journalism, as well as by media logic in general and the media's difficulties handling scientific uncertainty in particular.
In this study we investigate the generic structure of hotel responses to customer complaints posted on popular travel website, TripAdvisor. Extending the genre analytic notion of rhetorical moves (Swales, 1981, 2004) to this computer-mediated text type, we analyzed 80 hotel replies that were posted in response to online consumer complaints. Our analysis of the responses of 4- and 5-star hotels located in 4 popular urban tourist destinations in China indicates that ten move types are commonly found in this genre, with eight of these appearing in the majority of reviews. These results suggest that online responses from businesses replying to user-generated reviews tend to be highly formulaic and conventionalized, with thanking and apologizing among the most common moves identified. However, we also found considerable variation with respect to how specific hotels were about addressing the problem(s) discussed in the original customer complaint, as well as the extent to which hotel management indicated having taken actions to correct those problems. Finally, our study found that in this set of responses, hotel personnel tended to emphasize a corporate (rather than personal) identity when constructing responses to complaints. The study's findings provide insights into some of the ways in which businesses are managing consumer dissatisfaction online.
In several studies of English data, researchers have observed a trend of ‘informalization’: a shift of stylistic preferences in public written discourse, such as journalistic texts, towards a more conversational, or oral, style. In this paper, we aim to contribute to this issue by empirically testing this informalization thesis for Dutch. For this purpose we operationalize informalization in terms of linguistic expressions of subjectivity. Subjectivity is considered here as the expression of speakers of themselves and their own ‘private states’, such as attitudes, beliefs, opinions, emotions and evaluations. Our model of subjectivity includes elements such as personal pronouns (first and second person), modal verbs and modal adverbials.Comparing newspapers from 1950/1 and 2002, we are able to show that, based on those parameters, subjectivity in Dutch newspapers has increased. However, it is not primarily journalists who express themselves and their private states more: rather, the increasing subjectivity lies in the citations of words of other speakers embedded in the newspaper articles. The use of direct quotations has almost doubled, and the subjectivity expressed in the quotations has increased dramatically as well.It seems, then, that in this case the subjectivity assumed in the informalization thesis lies primarily in the proportion of quoted speech of characters in the news texts and in the subjective content of that speech. Informalization does not occur primarily through a more oral style in the journalist's text, but through literal citations of conversations of other speakers.