Handbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication: Language Structures and Social Interaction (2 Volumes)

Handbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication: Language Structures and Social Interaction (2 Volumes)

Rotimi Taiwo (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria)
Indexed In: PsycINFO®, SCOPUS View 1 More Indices
Release Date: May, 2010|Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 889
ISBN13: 9781615207732|ISBN10: 1615207732|EISBN13: 9781615207749|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-773-2


With the growth and advancement of digital communication technology over the past decade and the advent of modern telecommunications and the Internet, the structure of human behavior and social interaction has been redesigned.

The Handbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication: Language Structures and Social Interaction is a compendium of over 50 scholarly works on discourse behavior in digital communication. The diverse, but related disciplinary perspectives presented in this handbook further establishes how modern communication technologies are shaping discourse and social interaction all over the world; providing a comprehensive overview of empirical, as well as theoretical issues on digital communication from various regions of the world.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • E-Collaboration
  • E-mail
  • Meta-modal Discourse
  • Mobile Identity
  • Multimodal Communication
  • Online Parenting Communities
  • Social Computing
  • Social Interaction Technology
  • Social Networking
  • Video conferencing

Reviews and Testimonials

"There are two major strengths to this text: the authors' global perspective and the various kinds of CMC analyzed. Having a global perspective from scholars located across the world on five different continents provides an interesting take on the English language especially as English as a lingua franca. Also, not only are various theoretical perspectives and research methods used but the authors investigate a variety of CMC to include email, instant message, chat, discussion forum, blog, video conferencing, YouTube, Web-based learning, and SMS, as well as issues regarding online discourse such as flaming, scamming, trolling, cyberbullying, language mixing, repelling, and creativity." [...] "A great handbook for academics."

– Dr. J.A. Dawson, East Carolina University, Technical Communication, Vol. 59, No. 2, May 2012

Truly impressive [...] "will no doubt be appreciated by a broad readership inside and outside the field of linguistics."

– Dr. Bernd Kortmann, Freiburg, Germany

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Digital communication in the last decade has attracted a growing body of researchers, especially those who study human social interaction and behavior, such as linguists, sociologists, psychologists, and communication and information science expert. Scholarly perspectives on digital communication have revealed how the Internet and modern telecommunications have been shaping human behavior in real time synchronous and asynchronous modes.

The Handbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication: language Structures and Social Interaction is a compendium of 56 scholarly chapters on discourse behavior in digital communication. The chapters were written by 82 top researchers from 48 institutions spread across America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Oceanic. These chapters cover different aspects of computer-mediated communication, such as electronic mail, instant message, chat, discussion forum, blog, video conferencing, You Tube, web-based learning and SMS, as well as aspects of behavior typically associated with online discourse like flaming, scamming, trolling, cyberbullying, language mixing, repelling and creativity. Approaches of these scholars vary as well as their backgrounds. However, the approaches blend in their descriptions of the different linguistic behavior and forms used in socialising through digital discourse. Some of the aspects of discourse behavior covered in the book are identity construction, politeness and face works, rhetorical strategies humor and language play, gender, power and ideology construction, and so forth.

This book is divided into five sections, each covering thematically-related issues. The first section contains fourteen chapters that address discourse behavior and social interaction. These chapters describe discourse behavior in mobile telephony, email, social networking, parenting websites, SMS, discussion forum, video conferencing and dating website.

In Chapter One, Clare Lloyd and Patricia Gillard examine the emerging discourse practice that surround the use of mobile phones as a lifestyle accessory in Australia. Using the perspective and methods of discourse analysis, she demonstrates how people form and express their personal identities through the kinds of phones they chose to use, their wallpaper and their ring tones. These features of mobile phone use have been so socially constructed that they contribute to the building of virile mobile phone cultures in the society.

Charley Rowe in the second chapter investigates how users construct transactional and relations emails in selected workplaces in Hong Kong. The author shows how workers in the selected organizations use email as a record keeping device, a time saver as well as an outlet for play and humor within the organizations. Despite its being individual-based, the workplace cultures and the community of practice plays a prominent role in the construction of workplace emails. Workplace emails are therefore affected by a range of personal, interpersonal and group discourse norms in the organizations where they are used.

Chapter three demonstrates how participants in online networking construct identities, lifestyle and social relations. The author, Mariza Georgealou, through interview and quantitative pilot survey of Pathfinder, a Greek social networking site, reveals that social networking sites are being used by participants to generate, reinforce and disseminate aspects of their social and personal identities.

Anupam Das investigates the process of social interaction in Orkut - a social networking site for Bengalis in the Diaspora. Combining the methods of extensive online orthography and face-to-face interviews with participants on this network, Das submits that the networkers‘ frequency of meeting offline influences the dynamics of their interaction and their utterances are consist of positive socioemotional content. He also noted that dyads who exchange more than global average number of utterances also produce more task content than those who exchange less than global average number of utterances per week. He then argues that frequency of face-to-face exchange among the networkers impacts on their expression of positive socioemotional support.

Sarah Pedersen the Chair of the UK Association for Publishing Education and Janet Smithson, a research fellow examine discursive behavior of mothers in a large British online parenting forum. The authors, through an online survey and discourse analysis of interactions in Mumsnet, report on the dynamics of power play and relations among the women. They observe that despite the non-existence of official experts on Mumsnet, a hierarchy in expertise is admitted by members on the basis of length of posting, popularity of poster and expertise in some particular areas like breast-feeding and childbirth. The author also discovered that though the participants had mixed reactions on the exact nature of online activities, they generally believe in their supportive nature.

Muhammad Shaban Rafi in an applied linguistic study shows how the various linguistic short forms typically associated with SMS impacts on gender construction. The author concludes that the discursive act of texting identifies some gender boundaries. For instance, he observes that female texters use more abbreviations, acronyms, compressions to achieve brevity than the male. He also noticed a significant relationship between gender and the usage of standard grammatical structure, punctuation and mother tongue.

In chapter seven, Innocent Chiluwa examines how discursive practice in emails is used to construct the Nigerian identity in emails. Chiluwa demonstrates how Nigerians use greetings, address modes and religious sentiments prominently in emails to construct Nigerian identity. The data also demonstrates several instances of Nigerianisms which are typically found in the domesticated form of English popularly used in the country.

Eric Anchimbe describes how Cameroonians in the Diaspora construct their identity as Anglophones in forums generated from a Cameroonian online newspaper. According to Anchimbe Cameroonians in constructing a distinct identity from their fellow Francophones draw from their colonial history and heritage to emphasize certain traits such as moral uprightness, the ability to stand for their rights. The author concludes by drawing a strong similarity between the strategies for identity construction in online and face-to-face interactions.

In chapter nine Kristy Fagersten, Elim Holmsten and Una Cunningham examine the use of multiple modes of video conferencing in workplaces and their roles in constructing meaning. They observe that communicating through multiple modes can be technologically demanding and consequently affect usability, potentially necessitating the use of meta-modal language among video-conference participants. The analysis reveals a unique, recurring feature of communication in video conferencing environment, in which participants can cope with technical challenges or address pragmatic moves by specifically naming or making allusions to what their sense of auditory and sight through microphone, speaker, video, whiteboard, or text chat.

Martin Paviour-Smith investigates the discursive practice in a dating website - NormalGay.com. He discussed how some profile writers imagine the community they belong and deploy the rhetorical strategy of the enthymeme to covertly define the identity term normal with respect to heterosexual norms as opposed to the definition against the backdrop of the gay social world. The premise for the definition is connected with the dominant understanding of masculinity in the “real world”.

Language mixing is one of the commonest features of bilingual communities in both online and offline. Rotimi Taiwo in the eleventh chapter discusses the dynamics of this practice by Nigerians in two text-based asynchronous modes – SMS and internet forum. He observes that while the phenomenon is motivated by cultural practices, such as greetings and prayers in SMS, in internet forums, it is largely motivated by an apparent mutual linguistic influence that English and the Nigerian languages have on each other and the unlimited space available expression, which is similar to face –to-face interaction. Language mixing in both media is conscious and deliberate and reflects most prominently the need by participants for identity construction in their discourse.

Najma Al Zidjaly examines the discursive construction of the Islamic religious identity in a synchronous chatroom conversation between a physically-challenged Muslim and other participants from diverse religious backgrounds and nationalities. The author explains how this physically-challenged Muslim constructs two distinct religious identities of a liberal, enlightener and a traditional Muslim, thereby making discourse on Islam less authoritative, but persuasive and open for debate, in the cyberspace context.

Chapter thirteen is a presentation of how gender consciousness is constructed in online discussions by Nigerians. In the chapter, Tunde Onadeko noted that online discussions by Nigerians do not reflect any form of sex-consciousness, which is typical of some interactions in offline contexts. He see more participation by women in online activities as a major way of ensuring gender equity in discourse in Nigeria.

Virtual communication in design activity among the team is the focus of chapter fourteen. The authors examine design teams operations and discuss how communication among virtual team members leads to trust-building, collaboration, problem solving and conflict resolution in design. The authors also suggest that training of members of construction design teams should focus more on strategies for interpersonal communication which facilitate collaboration and efficiency in construction design.

Section 2 is a collection of ten chapters that describe formal and structural language use in online discourse. These include predicator-argument structure of frequently used lexical verbs, prosodies and spelling forms, first person pronoun usage, orthographic forms, stylistic features and information structure.

In the Chapter fifteen, Illona Vandergriff, a professor of German explores the growing body of research work on the use of humor in CMC. She focused on studies on interrelated disciplines of applied linguistics and language acquisition and psychology. She observes that while absence non-verbal cues in CMC may encourage humor and play, the may as well obscure them. She concludes that since the nature of humor and play in context of CMC is becoming increasingly complex as the modes encourage creativity and play, researchers have greater challenges in investigating humor in CMC.

Susana Sotillo in chapter sixteen analyzed the predicate-argument structure of frequently used lexical verbs in the text messages and observes that activity verbs were most frequently used in all five SMS networks analyzed, followed closely by mental verbs and communication verbs. She also observed that despite violations of the criterion in the text messages analyzed the recipient of the text message or addressee promptly recovers the implicit thematic roles assigned to the verb’s underlying arguments. Therefore, the senders‘ pragmatic strategies that result from constraining message meaning to 160 characters are successful with the addressee’s ability to accurately interpret the implicit thematic roles and meanings. She concluded by asserting that shortening devices used in SMS may cause potential language change over time, and this may in turn affect the learning of standard varieties of a natural language, especially among second- and foreign-language learners.

Claudia Silva looks at the language of real time chats and asserts that the general deviations form the standard norms observed in the language do not necessarily indicate the evolution of new linguistic forms, but the unconscious recreation of pre-existing features both from early writing systems and learning to spell. She therefore recommends that these deviations should be studied in order to have an access to intuitive linguistic knowledge.

John Newman, a professor of Linguistics and Laura Teddiman in chapter eighteen describe the less well understood style of writing online diaries. They focus on the role of first person pronouns in that style in selected UK and US. They found that contrary to earlier presentations of first person pronouns as one large set without differentiation, these forms differ and can be used as the basis for distinguishing online diary style from other genres like literary and conversational genres. Findings from this study can help linguists to generate a more complete description of language use across genres, and in turn, increase our understanding of language use in a digital communicative world.

Christine Ofulue presents a structural analysis of the language of Advance Fee Fraud mails or scam mails, popularly known as 419. She observes that the language of these spam mails have similar linguistic features in terms of their address, message, content construction, domesticated English features and common ESL errors. The author submits that a forensic analysis like this will assist in developing more effective anti-spam guards.

In chapter twenty, Christina Themistocleous examines how the use of ASCII character set had presented a problem for users of languages written in non-Roman scripts in the early days of CMC when they had to represent their languages in online discourse. This author presents a insight into how recent developments in technology has helped users of non-Roman alphabets, such as Arabic, Greek, East Asian languages and African languages to manipulate orthography in order to present their languages in online contexts.

Yasemin Kirkgoz discusses the discourse features of emails used in Turkey by English native speakers and Turkish in an international business context. The author’s analysis of the functions of email reveals that they are used to disseminate information for a variety of work-related purposes to inform, to request, to direct, and to praise. In addition, stylistically, emails reflect features of spoken discourse and the level of formality varies. The author underscores the importance of email in international business English and suggests the incorporation of strategies for email construction in the curriculum of Business English.

Akinmade Akande and Olayiwola Akinwale investigate the linguistic strategies used by students in Nigeria in the composition of SMS. The authors focus on spelling practices and report that phonetic spelling consitute majority of the short forms. They identify three types of phonetic spellings, namely: purely phonetic spellings, letter homophones and number homophones. In the light of the spread in use of SMS lingo, the authors advocate the standardization and teaching of SMS language in Nigerian schools.

Arlette Dumittan, a researcher on online journalism presents a text linguistic study of how the Internet has affected journalistc publications, looking at the fairly recent webzine genre. Webzine is a hybrid activity combining pure journalistic practice with the practice of online communication. Arlette observes that the trends in webzine lean in the direction of personalization and community-building features. Despite the ample opportunities motivated readers to respond to published articles and take part in shaping content, hypertext does not vanquish the journalist's influence on the reader since it remains the (hyper) text producer who sets the links and therewith gives the reader the array of opportunities to choose from. Linguistic research challenges exist in the area of the need of a fool-proof methodology for saving digital hypertext content for analysis.

In the last chapter section two, Foluke Unuabonah presents an analysis of the thematic organization of instruction to authors’ sections of selected online academic journals. The analysis of thematic structure shows that marked theme realized by adverbials and grammatical subjects were frequently used and most of the journals favor the use of simple theme. The most popular thematic progression patterns were the derived and constant theme patterns. The use of these structural patterns and information organization helps gives texture to the presentation of instructions to prospective authors.

The third section contains twelve chapters that approach the study of discourse from the perspectives of semantics and pragmatics. The chapters focus on themes such as politeness, relevance, inference, beliefs, as well as other aspects of lexical, contextual and visual meaning of different kinds of computer-mediated discourse.

In chapter twenty five, Asha Kaul and Vaibhvi Kulkarni examine how gender and politeness are constructed in emails in Indian business contexts. The authors report that while emails analyzed were task oriented, they varied in their use of politeness indicators and markers. Findings show that adherence to politeness maxims is higher in women than men. Also, while men attempted bonding through the use of Approbation, women did so by making “inane talk.” This is closely linked with the cultural practice in India, where men typically play the role of the head in a patriarchic society, praising and motivating, and women indulge more in ‘relationship building.’

Francisco Yus analyzes from cognitive pragmatics point of view and relevance theory approach how online participants maximize their search for optimally relevant interpretive outcomes. The author presents a relevance grid which shows that there are many possible combinations when measuring the relevance of content on web pages and these rely on mental effort required and quality of resulting relevance. The author stresses that fact that predictions of web pages designers on users’ needs and relevance-seeking actions when surfing the web can never be fully accurate given the vast variability of cognitive environments and levels of relevance satisfaction that can arise among users. The web designers can however predict how types of information and presentation will probably yield the expected results in terms of usability and loyalty to the web page in the future.

Moji Olateju and Olubunmi Adeleke examine how readers’ inferences aid their comprehension of emails. Readers infer by interacting with the textual and contextual elements of the text. This interaction helps them to adequately supply the missing information. The authors assert that code-switching aids in language contact environments like Nigeria, the base of the study, aids inferencing, since it signals the sociolinguistic background information on the context of discourse. The authors also stress the implications of the spread in the use emails for teaching and acquisition of materials for instructions in communication strategies.

Adrian Tien in chapter twenty eight investigates the semantics of Chinese online interaction. The author’s findings reveal that sentences were found to be not only short but also often had grammatical mistakes and appeared fragmented or incomplete. Despite this, the linguistic meanings are often concise and logically connected. Chinese CMC shows some departure from conventional socio-cultural norms in contemporary Chinese language and culture. This chapter represents an important step in the direction of using a radical semantic approach to analyzing natural CMC data.

Drawing on insights from contextual beliefs, collaborative theory and implicature, Akin Odebunmi and Moses Alo investigate beliefs that Nigerian academics work with when engaged in sending SMS. The authors reveal through their findings that language-based beliefs and subject matter-based beliefs were exploited. Messages based on research and academic activities exhibit a wide variety of short hands, context-driven indices of assumptions and flouts of quantity and manner maxims. In addition, the high level of assumptions made, aided by various linguistic tools may be an indication of an in-group practice.

Hadina Habil investigates patterns of email communication in a public higher education institution in Malaysia. The style in terms of the salutations, openings and closing in the emails vary according to the context, the people involved and according to the subject matter. Most of the emails were used to fulfil the speech act function of Representative. While most of the mails were written in English, the few written in Bahasa Malaysia were announcements. The author also identifies the incursion of socio-cultural factors such as religious practices and beliefs, as some emails writers prefer the use of Arabic salutation and closing as a means of constructing their identities as Muslims.

Ibrahim Olaosun in chapter thirty one argues that some of the visual codes used in mobile phone directories are not necessarily new, rather, they draw from familiar resources, which are appropriated into the novel digital space to give them semantic value. He also proposes the exploration of both the primary and secondary levels of signification in mobile phone directories in order to provide maximal benefit to those who can only read non-linguistic signs.

Chapter thirty two is an investigation of the use of three icons within a location-aware social network service. Using the Systemic Functional Linguistic approach, Anders Kofod-Petersen and Rebekah Wegener present a better understanding of how social networkers interact, using location information. The author suggests that this understanding will provide designers with more insights to design systems that can be utilized maximally to the benefits of online interactants.

Oladele Balogun looks at how communication in the digital media has been transforming human understanding and use of language The author argues that the advent of digital communication in Nigeria has unconsciously brought more linguistic and social challenges to to the psyche of users of these media in the country. He questions the adoption of the philosophical approach of pragmatism to digital communication in the country and asserts that the unsystematized and arbitrary abbreviation of words and expressions in digital communication, which is becoming common among SMS users portend negative effects on communicative performance. The author then proposes Russell's theory of description which he believes can aid linguistic meaningfulness in digital communication.

Tracy LeBlanc discusses the linguistic features of discourse in virtual communities. She addresses the strategies employed by participants in online virtual discourse to create, and sustain a sense of space and identity and strengthen the community. A strong aspect of these strategies is the ability of interlocutors to acquire communicative competence in leet speak, which enables posters to maintain shared interest in the venture of building and maintaining online identity.

In chapter thirty five, Pillar Garces-Conejos Blitvich discusses how deinviduation in relates to impoliteness and how impoliteness relates to polarization online environment. Her qualitative and quantitative study of video clips posted on YouTube and related to the 2008 US primaries and presidential elections. She argues that polarization can be related to an increase in the number of positive impoliteness strategies used. By creating a strong sense of us versus them, impoliteness reinforces the out-in group division, intensifying in-group cohesiveness by making the attributes associated with the out-group undesirable. She raises important questions regarding the applicability of current theories of im-politeness to the study of polyloguic, intergroup communication as most of their tenets were developed to tackle dyadic, interpersonal communication.

Funmi Olubode-Sawe examines how indigenous African languages can be made relevant for digital communication. The author presents a critique of one of the efforts made in finding relevance for the major Nigerian languages in a brand of Nokia phone. In the author’s critique she observes that terminology presentation using the strategies of Terminologization, composition and translingual borrowing are inadequate and she proposes further refinement in subsequent terminology projects which will aim at the possibility of developing one-key symbols to represent the distinctive graphological symbols of indigenous African languages.

Section four addresses discourse behavior in virtual learning. The ten chapters in this section present insights into virtual learning, looking at different aspects of language performance such writing and speech. The chapters also present appraisals on online instruction programs, as well as attitudes of learners to these programs.

Professor boyd Davis and other scholars in chapter thirty seven examine how far online classroom participants’ writings reflect critical thinking skills, fluency improvement and enhanced professionalism in teacher-created prompts. The authors’ findings show that students use academic and technical terminology when engaged in extemporaneous discussions of experience. There is also an indication of fluency and critical thinking. The entries of the students which attract attention and replies from other students were also found to be written at a high level of critical thinking, measured both for group and for individual by two prominent models, SOLO and Critical Presence Theory.

Chapter thrity eight is a corpus-based work on lexico-grammatical features of research processed language. Drawing corpus from three international journals, Amelia Cava argues that relatively simple developments in the currently available technology can assist teachers and learners in this important area of language learning and teaching and supports this proposal by discussing replicable learning and teaching activities which enable learners and teachers to raise their awareness of patterns of phraseology.

Taiwo Soneye in Chapter thirty nine explores how Oral English pedagogy in Nigeria can be effectively practiced in the context of CMC. Her survey reveals that internet browsing and electronic dictionary sourcing on Oral English is having profound influence on learners, as they tend to reflect the American spelling patterns, which they learnt mostly through internet sources in their language performance. In the light of the recent developments, which make it difficult for learners to adhere to the traditional classroom instructions, she therefore suggests an integrative approach to teaching and assessment of learners.

In chapter forty, Chaka Chaka traces the evolution of CMC into social participation technologies. He also argues that that most CMC technologies have evolved into SPTs either as convergent applications or as stand-alone complementary applications. In adition, the author discusses the emergence of new genres, changing discourses, new literacies and online socialized learning. The chapter also establishes that online socialized learning leverages digital lifestyle, friendships, interests and other aspects of relational capital.

Kehinde Ayoola in chapter forty one presents an evaluation of the effectiveness of a computer-assisted program for professional development of English teachers and teacher-trainers in Nigeria. Due to its being excessively loaded for part time participants, absence of internet connectivity, low level of computer literacy, poor power supply and lack of commitment on the parts of both the trainees and the institutions they worked for, the program was not able to achieve its set objectives. The author made suggestions on how these shortcomings can be overcome in order to enhance success of such future computer-assisted programs for professional development.

Caroline Ho focuses on students’ engagement through enactive role play in the Second Life virtual world. Identifying discourse strategies and features realized in students’ enactments of specific roles assigned, the author highlighted how students constructed opinions and exchanged perspectives on issues raised in the context of discussing euthanasia. Evidence of varying students’ recognition of religious and moral or ethical issues related to euthanasia with references to various beliefs and assumptions held by the different participants were established. There were also differences in the extent to which students were open to other interpretations in offering propositions conveyed as contingent and as one out of a range of possible viewpoints. In order to enhance overall power argumentation process, the author suggests sensitization of students and raising of their level of awareness to the linguistic resources needed for impacting argumentation in virtual communication.

Titi Fola-Adebayo reports an exploration of undergraduate students’ evaluation of a MOODLE teaching and learning resource in a university of technology in Nigeria. Despite their encounter of problems using the program, the students’ attitude to it was positive and they were enthusiastic about the novel experience. The author also notes that there was no significant difference in the attitude of male and female to the program. Finally she proposed recommendations that will make students realize maximum benefits from the program the future.

In chapter forty four, Rahma Al-Mahrooqi and Victoria Tuzlukova present issues on the attitudes of Omani undergraduates to their interactions with the Internet as a means of communication and as a source of authentic materials and literatures written in English. The authors provide insights into the socio-cultural views of the students to online communication. They also present the challenges facing those who intend to use the internet in instruction.

Chapter forty five is a report of a research that investigates the attitude of Nigerians to virtual learning. The author Olusola Are observes that despite that majority of the respondents find internet useful for reading and learning, the low competence level of people and the non-availability or irregular availability makes them to view use internet as a technically difficult task. The author traces some of the challenges people face in their attempt to use web-based instructions to low level of preparedness for information literacy and suggests the incorporation of information literacy into the curriculum right from the primary stage of education to the tertiary level.

Alison Nagel and Kai Woodfin present the results of a blended learning course in writing instruction piloted at the University of Freiburg for undergraduate students of English. They also present students‘ feedback and evaluation of the course, which was generally positive. The authors also outline the implications of students‘ attitudes for future integration of blended learning within the instructional program.

The last section presents chapters that address conceptual and theoretical issues bothering on digital discourse. In the ten chapters, the authors review earlier approaches to the study of digital discourse and propose newer ones that will help in the study of relational communication in mediated contexts.

Artemiro Ramirez Jnr. and three other scholars present a research work on cyberbyllying and related behaviors. The authors present a message-based approach to understanding the factors that influence the enactment of and outcomes linked to cyberbullying and its associated messages. They also suggest the need for a systematic approach to examining the message-related mechanisms that underlie cyberbullying.

Victoria Tuzlukova and Irina Rozina in chapter forty eight present a discussion on virtual research community as a socio-cultural phenomenon. The authors also underscore its importance for institutional and individual/personal expressions. They hope the institutionalization and development of Russian Communication Association will help to explore the controversies and problems of local virtual research communities and also assist in better understanding of successful implementation of international patters of virtual communities.

Christina Howell-Richardson presents the development and use of an analytic framework, based on Conversational Analysis and neo-Gricean theories of conversational meaning. This analytic framework was used to examines, code and describe the discourse behaviors and strategies postgraduate students use when they are engaged in co-operative learning tasks in an asynchronous text-based, online conferencing context. Findings reveal that participants systematically pattern their messages and use specific discourse strategies to manage their interactions.

David Morand , a professor of management presents a conceptual study that draws on the sociolinguistic theory of politeness and suggests how this theory and its considerable body of empirical findings might usefully inform research on CMC. The chapter also discusses the notion of face work, the central role it plays in social exchange and how it can help in understanding the deployment of emotions in the construction of relations in CMC.

In chapter fifty one, Guo-Ming and Khai Zhang examine the role of the new media as a major force for accelerating development in the globalised world. The new media has been acting as a catalyst for bringing human interaction and society to a highly interconnected and complex level. The author describes how the new media in its powerful relationship with globalization breaks through the limit of the traditional time and space and also constantly challenges the meaning of cultural identity. The authors unravel the intricate relationship between the new media, globalization and cultural identity.

Eleonora Brivio, Francesca Ibarra and Carlo Galimberti in chapter fifty two present an integrated approach to the study of computer-mediated interactions. The authors combine three theoretical realms - objects, subjects and processes, and three levels of analysis - local mediated interaction, everyday situation and social context. They proposed integrated approach to online interaction with the discussion of a research on self-presentation in blogs.

Erika Darics aproaches discusses the dynamics of relational works in Instant Messaging (IM). She approaches this through an interactional sociolinguistic approach. She argues that the analysis of organizational IM interactions has indicated that relational work and the care for the participants’ face is an important consideration, and participants employ relational work strategies even at the cost of economising. She concludes that the linguistic strategies used for substituting audio-visual signals are strategically used in discursive functions and have an important role in relational work.

Gabriele Bechtel presents a discourse analysis of topics that defy debates in online discussion. The author offers insights affecting both theory and practice of participatory online communication. Her arguments demonstrate the factors that determine, influence, and limit that way participants interact in participatory online communication.

Elke Hentschel in her chapter in chapter fifty five argues that CMC offers a tremendous new opportunity to observe language awareness and language change. Drawing examples from phonetics, orthography, and morphology of Chinese, French, German, and Serbian she illustrates how new rules emerge in the ongoing processes of linguistic reanalysis by the language users.

In the last chapter, Tunji Odejobi Odejobi a computer engineer and Tunde Adegbola, an ICT specialist focus on the computational and engineering issues that bother on how to use technology to develop the promotion of the use of African languages in the digital media. The authors discuss the issues that surround the development of technological infrastructures for supporting communication in African languages. They argue that technologies intended for use in African environment should exploit and implement language technologies developed around African languages and cultures. They identified the key applications of the technologies and the strategies for its realization, as well as the policy issues that will make these technologies achievable.

The diverse, but related disciplinary perspectives presented in this book further establish how modern communication technologies are shaping discourse and social interaction all over the world. The book gives a comprehensive overview of empirical, as well as theoretical issues on digital communication form different regions of the world. This spread in authorship and perspectives gives a balanced presentation of digital discourse behavior in both the advanced, well-studied context and the developing, less-studied context.

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Rotimi Taiwo attended the University of Benin, Benin-City and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He holds PhD in English and he has been teaching in the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University since 1997, where he is currently a senior lecturer. His main research focus over the last decade has been the application of (critical) discourse analytic theories to a wide range of discourse contexts, such as media, religion, popular culture, computer-mediated discourse and students’ composition. He has co-edited two books: Perspectives on media Discourse and Towards the Understanding of Discourse Strategies. He is a member of the editorial boards of Ife Studies in English (Nigeria), Linguistik Online (Switzerland) International Journal of Language, Culture and Society (Australia). Rotimi Taiwo was a fellow of Alexander von Humboldt at the Englisches Seminar, Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany (September, 2008 – August 2009).


Editorial Board

  • Susan Herring, Indiana University, USA
  • Bolanle Olaniran, Texas Tech University, USA
  • Kai Sassenberg, WM – Institut für Wissensmedien, Germany
  • Wale Adegbite, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  • Jung-ran Park, Drexel University, USA
  • Bernd Kortmann, Albert-Ludwigs University, Germany
  • Adeleke Fakoya, Lagos State University, Nigeria
  • L. Oladipo Salami, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  • Adeyemi Adegoju, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  • Babatunde Opeibi, University of Lagos, Nigeria