Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Hi there!
It is a real pleasure to be part of sociocmc blog. Thanks to Lauren for letting me participate in this intellectually exciting blog. By the way, for those who do not have any idea who I am (not that it matters a lot ;)), let me just introuduce myself to them. I am Anupam Das- a doctoral student in Linguistics at Indiana University, Bloomington with a minor in Information Science. My primary research interests include sociolinguistics and pragmatic approaches to computer-mediated communication, especially computer-mediated discourse analysis and social network analysis. Currently, I am working on my pilot study for my dissertation. I am looking at the the relationship of social closeness of bilingual Bengalis on orkut and codeswitching. This paper examines linguistic variation among bilingual Bengalis on orkut with respect to the hypothesis, based on the model of Milroy and Milroy (1992), that standard variants tend to be associated with weak social network ties, while vernacular variants are associated with strong network ties. In the case of this study, the standard variant is English, and the vernacular variant is Bengali. Specifically, the study examines whether the strength of ties (i.e. weak vs. strong) of users’ social network has any relation to their choice of language in their ‘scrapbook,’ which is a public interface in which orkut members can leave messages, or ‘scraps’, for their friends. The study also examines what Bengalis talk about on orkut (i.e., topic of their scraps) and how interlocutors achieve their communicative goals (i.e. functional aspects of their scraps).

I would appreciate any constructive suggestions/feedback for my research. Does anyone know if there are any studies that looked at social network sites from sociolinguistic point of view?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

turn units and emoticons.

i thought the thread below about turns at talk was interesting enough to make into its own post, so here it is. quoting susan herring:

I appreciate the discussion about emoticons as turn units, by the way. When I teach speech acts in my computer-mediated discourse analysis course, there is always much discussion as to whether an emoticon can function as a proposition (i.e., a speech-act bearing unit). I adopt the view that if the emoticon constitutes the entire message (in chat) or appears on a separate line (in, say, email), it is a proposition, but if it appears on the same line as text, it (usually) inflects a textual proposition. This is theoretically not a very coherent treatment of emoticons, but it reflects my intuitions. Any ideas as to why it should work this way?

comments to follow.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Textspeak the new AAVE?

OK, maybe not. After spending a wonderful but exhausting weekend at the New Ways of Analyzing Variation conference, where Raclaw's and my paper was shockingly the ONLY one about CMC (other than using the internet as a source for data), I'm a little too weary still to talk about this:
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- New Zealand's high school students will be able to use "text-speak" -- the mobile phone text message language beloved of teenagers -- in national exams this year, officials said.

Text-speak, a second language for thousands of teens, uses abbreviated words and phrases such as "txt" for "text", "lol" for "laughing out loud" or "lots of love," and "CU" for "see you."

The move has already divided students and educators who fear it could damage the English language.

New Zealand's Qualifications Authority said Friday that it still strongly discourages students from using anything other than full English, but that credit will be given if the answer "clearly shows the required understanding," even if it contains text-speak.
Nevermind that I just spent a weekend trying to explain to people why I don't think names like "text-speak" or "netspeak" are very useful, and also that much of the stuff we attribute to "teenagers" is also heavily used by other groups. I'm interested in this last quote. After reading it, I immediately thought (and this is perhaps because AAVE is on my mind because it's SUCH a hot topic at NWAV), "It sounds like the way people used to talk about AAVE." Well, Black English or Ebonics, really; I don't think people who would make this statement would know to call it AAVE. But the similarity: that it's not a "full" language, but that you can somehow discern someone's understanding despite the halfsies language they're using, but the language could potentially get in the way. And that there's a debate about whether it's appropriate for use in contexts where some kind of Standard English is generally expected. And this similarity is not perhaps limited to AAVE, but it's the most well-known and well-studied dialect (here in the States) for a point of reference, with a large population of speakers and lots of debates and controversy surrounding its use.

I don't have much more of a point than that - I gotta go catch up on my schoolwork I didn't do over the weekend. CU!

ps - Our paper went well, but I might talk about it tomorrow or Wednesday instead of today. Y'all understand.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

MultiMeDialectTranslation (how do you remember THAT?)

This is way cool and surprisingly relevant, methinks. Anyone have any involvement with the multimedia translation scene? I'd love to hear more about it.
MultiMeDialecTranslation 2007 - Third International Conference of Dialects and

The conference is directed at academics from various disciplines as well as
translators and students who are interested in the translation of dialects in
multimedia contexts. The conference will concentrate on a complex,
interdisciplinary subject area involving linguistics, communication studies,
film studies and translation studies as well as other areas of cultural studies,
sociology and other disciplines. The main topics to be covered at the conference
include dubbing, subtitling films in dialect and linguistic varieties; theatre
translation; cultural transfer processes in the characteristics of dialects;
archaisms, regionalisms, varieties in the continuum between dialect and standard
language; diglossia (national language and regional or local language;
''official'' and ''non official'' language); the use of new technologies in the
translation of dialect.

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