Tuesday, October 31, 2006

speakers 1, punctuation 0

so i'm looking at this fine post for examples of speaker style for a lecture i'm giving tomorrow and had to point out this tiny, minute detail.

the content of the post is awfully long, and the author makes use of sentence-final punctuation pretty regularly throughout except for the very last sentence. i know that some of us have argued that sentence-final punctuation might be seen as unnecessary (some might say redundant) in one-sentence utterances because of the visible line break declaring the end of the sentence, but it's pretty salient when you see punctuation explicitly missing at that point in an otherwise punctuated piece of discourse.

also, the use of ^ is way cool.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I am not sure what to make of this, but I do know that it's interesting. (esp. "the IM language")

Also - does anyone mind if I change the theme on this bad boy?

Monday, October 16, 2006

doppleganger + phonetics = something sinister

i'm taking a speech play and verbal art class this semester and we've been analyzing sound in a number of ways. and i have to do a paper in there so i've been thinking of ways to do this use tools like praat to analyze something cmcish. i'm planning on doing an analysis connected to my attitude research, so this might be interesting for my doppleganger (and perhaps others with similar interestes to my doppleganger) if he's still mulling around on that sweet sweet formalism.

what effect would the adding of an emoticon to the end of a text have on suprasegmental aspects of the speech. you could compare the presence or absence of different emoticons with different pitch patterns, or rates, or pause structure. at that kind of micro level, would anything be different. if they were different, then this would suggest that we had some tool to quantifiably measure of online discourse structure from a slighty psycholinguistic/experimental perspective. it would also suggest something about the relationship between the off and online.

if they're not different, then... i have a feeling they'll be different :) with lots of data, i'll be some kind of patterns emerge, and with the proper statistical analysis, you could marry the descriptive data from praat with quantitative methods.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

chevrolet - teh american revolution

so i just caught this commercial for chevrolet that featured their new line of gas-conserving cars; said commercial prompted me to visit their website for more info.

the site name? reduce ur use dot com.

i'll admit that i've seen my share of advertisements that use language from straight out the chatroom, but never ones that didn't have an explicit connection to internet, computer, or gamer culture. is the environmental awareness angle that chevrolet's going for somehow being tied to a young, hip attitude that they also see as tied into the internet? and if they were going to dip into the pool of online language, why pick a stigmatized feature like ur to take that stance?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Foley followup

This was going to be a comment to Joshua's post, but it got too big. But it's still conversant with his post, so you have to read them both. No lazies around here!
What I'm confused about is whether there were emails AND IMs, whether people knew about SOME of them before others, and whether that matters at all. I saw the headlines first about email, but then all I heard people talk about was IM. I agree with the not-holding-up-in-trial thing, on account of the text files being editable - actually, on NPR the other day (this story), they had this whole, like, "expose" on IMs, which I thought was kind of interesting, because it framed IMing as being a "new" thing. IM is getting so much press out of this whole thing.

Also I just saw on that NPR page that there's a transcript of an IM convo between a reporter and someone at the Electronic Frontier Foundation about IM privacy. Snippet:
Kramer: What are the privacy implications of using AIM as a medium?
Kramer: Like, who can be watching your conversation?
Eckersley: So, there are a few layers of likelihood.
Eckersley: It will very often be the case that the person you are speaking to is recording the conversation.

Kramer: Is there a way to tell that?
Eckersley: No.
Eckersley: Even if the instant messaging software itself isn't logging the conversation,
Eckersley: the other party can copy and paste the text of the conversation to save a copy

Kramer: Can the instant messaging company save your messages too?
Eckersley: The instant messaging companies,
Eckersley: could save a copy of the conversation if they wished to
Eckersley: AOL claims that they do not do this routinely,
Eckersley: and that is believable
Eckersley: they would be recording an awful lot of uninteresting conversations
Eckersley: What is more likely is that they keep a record of who is talking to whom

This seems really strange, actually: the reason we know that Foley is (pardon my slang here, but I have to) a douchebag is because we have these written records of things he said or did, and someone was able to save them and did - in this case it was the teen being waaaay smarter than the (again) douchebag adult. But then they're using this as an opportunity to scare people about how little privacy they have when using IM, to *warn* them that their messages could be saved without their knowledge? Isn't this very function why we were able to CATCH this guy?

I'm not taking a position here on privacy rights, but you must admit these are some mixed messages. The interview talks about being "safer" online, but...do they want pedophiles to be safer? The "victims" in this case weren't the people whose IMs were being unknowingly saved...I'm confused.

One last thing about this: the piece ends with this explainer: "*For privacy reasons, both of our screen names have been replaced with our real names."

Since when were *real* names more private than screen names!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

full of scandal!

so that whole mark foley sex scandal with the email and the IMs?


supposedly abc has 52 separate exchanges between young boys and the ex-congressman, though i've only found a few. i'm a little surprised that the instant message evidence is framed as so condemning by the sites and their commenters, since they're not exactly traceable, right? as far as i know AIM doesn't keep records in the way that an email server might, so i'm assuming these are just rtf files of the conversation the page happened to save. i doubt they could ever hold up in trial, for example.


Relevant funnies

Also, this is really entertaining (via Left Behind at the Fishbowl).

Monday, October 02, 2006

for the linguists in the house

over the next year i'll be conducting a linguistic analysis of a chunk of chatroom or instant message discourse. as per my department's wishes, this analysis will focus much more intensely on the phonetic, phonological, morphosyntactic, and pragmatic aspects than anything particularly sociocultural. we're kind of old school like that.

is anyone familiar with some publications that don't just descriptively list features of online communication, but take a more traditional linguistic approach to the categorization of such features? i know that susanna cumming does similar work, but as far as i know it hasn't been published. i'd like to get a feel for what's been done with this area before setting out on my own.

i should probably mention that, for the record, this is not intended as a solicitation for outside help on this research project.

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