Sunday, February 03, 2008

OMG! Like, IMers totally use 'like'!

So, a professor sent the department some sort of Discovery report about 'languages bursting forth', and in 'related articles', I noticed this:

I'll see if I can find the actual research this story's about, but for the time being, it looks pretty basic (and more or less unsurprising.)
So, who wants their corpus? I know I do!

Wow, I had no idea that Bambi Schieffelin was working on CMC. I'd be interested definitely to read the full article, because the way they've framed it here is (once again) as "writing is this way" and "speaking is this way" and "IM is somewhere in between," the idea of which has been around for a while and I no longer find particularly compelling. I feel like instead of keeping talking about what writing IS and what speaking IS and how CMC seems like a little of BOTH, we really need to take this opportunity to problematize what we have in the past considered "writing" - e.g., to say that CMC is "more like" speech than it is like FORMAL writing is not to say very much, IMO. What is *awesome* about this study is the longitudinalness and that they could find actual patterns over time - I'll look forward to learning about that for sure. The point about "be like" being more of an evidential than "say" or "think" is also interesting.
Schieffelin, B. 2008. Enquoting voices, accomplishing talk: Uses of be + like in Istant Messaging. Language & Communication. (with G. Jones).

This is the ref on her website. No mention of a volume number--not sure if it's out yet?
I have to say, I agree with Lauren. When I read this, my first thought was "haven't we established this already?" It nice to see another *feature* of text-based conversation (be+like) and get the longitudinal data, but the conclusion is not new. Maybe this is inevitable when language scholars study cmc for the first time?
Tagliamonte and Hudson (1999) did a nice study of "be like" comparing face-to-face use by youth in England and Canada and found that differences could be attributed, amoung other things, to narrative style. They also found that the use of "be like" was increasing over time. As lauren and kris have said, it's not clear exactly how this study (at least as it's reported by the discovery channel :| builds on the tagliamonte work except that it shows "be like" being used in a cmc context. It's interesting that they don't report whether the face to face usage increased from 2003-2006:

"In 2003, speakers used it 75 percent of the time while communicating face-to-face but only 6 percent of the time in IM's. By 2006, usage in IM's had jumped to 50 percent, and is believed to still be increasing."

If it increased porportionally in face-to-face speech, then it seems that the use quotative like is simply increasing as a linguistic resource across the board. In other words, when people adopt a modern storytelling narrative style (a la the tagliamonte paper) they increasingly prefer quotative like to the other options (say, think, etc.). So it might not be the case that the cmc context has anything to do with the increase, but rather there might be a more global trend towards a prefernce for quotative like in this particular narrative style.

It will be interesting to see if the authors coded for narrative style. I'm looking forward to reading the paper.

And the tagliamonte paper is a nice read:

Talgliamonte, S. and Hudson, R. (1999). Be like et al. beyond America: The quotative system in British and Canadian youth. Journal of Sociolinguistics,3(2): 147-172.

There are also a number of articles in American Speech going back to about 1990 that discuss the stylistic and narrative functions of quotative like as well as the syntactic distributions.
Good discussion, guys. I'm glad people are still somewhat active on this blog.
oh, we're active, just not during the fall semester. for me it has to do with the anticipation of the gallons of egg nog that i begin to mentally prepare myself to consume. i'm pretty sure that's squires excuse as well.
Egg nog? What? *laughs aloud*

Hmm, that's pretty long to type. I wish there was, like, some sort of acronym or something I could use. Then I could be all like 'LA' or whatever when I wanted to make it clear to others that I was laughing?
)So, who wants their corpus? I know I do!
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