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A sociolinguistic study on Singaporean teenagers use of language on Facebook a research on gender as a sociolinguistic variable in teenagers use of English through the social networking platform of Facebook

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Introduction

A sociolinguistic study on Singaporean teenagers' use of language on Facebook a research on gender as a sociolinguistic variable in teenagers' use of English through the social networking platform of Facebook By Team Members: Chow Keng Ji (Leader) Bryan Ang Wei-En Pethuel Ho For Expert mentor: A/P Vincent B Y Ooi, Department of English Language and Literature NUS For Teacher Mentor: Mr. Desmond Lim Raffles Institution Research Education 2011 ii. Acknowledgements Our group would like to thank our teacher mentor Mr Desmond Lim for his continuous guidance throughout the project. We would especially like to thank our expert mentor from NUS, Department of English Language and Literature, A/P Vincent B Y Ooi, for taking time off his schedule to help us and provide valuable insights on our research topic. iii. Abstract iv. Contents Title Page Acknowledgements ii Abstract iii Table of Contents iv Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION.................................................................... 4 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 BACKGROUND READINGS..................................................... METHODOLOGY................................................................... 7 10 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 SURVEY RESULTS................................................................. OBSERVATION PASSAGE RESULTS ........................................ 13 21 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 SURVEY RESULTS ANALYSIS................................................. INTERVIEW ANALYSIS.......................................................... 24 29 Chapter 8 RESEARCH ASSESSMENT...................................................... 32 Chapter 9 CONCLUSION........................................................................ 34 Chapter 10 BIBLIOGRAPHY..................................................................... 37 1. Introduction 1.1 Research objective This research aims to analyse the use of the English language on Facebook by teenagers from ages 13 to 16, considering the influence of Singapore Colloquial English (SgE), as well as the sociolinguistic variable of gender. According to Herring (2000), gender can be seen as a significant sociolinguistic variable online in general. This research will confirm if it is relevant in the context of SgE used on Facebook. 1.2 General context of topic From a sociologist's perspective, the Internet has drastically affected the lifestyle of the people who have access to, opening new modes of communication that speed up work processes and social interaction. From a linguist's perspective, the Internet is essentially a new medium of communication, and the focus being on language, everyone who has access to it contributes to the development of new varieties of language through the new medium. ...read more.

Middle

68 0.33 89.67 Personal relationship: General X2.6+ 41 0.20 88.75 Expected Figure 4: The top 15 semantic categories of the C corpus, compared with the BNC Spoken Sampler. The large overuse of the unmatched category can be attributed to the relatively low proportion of unmatched items in standard written texts. This has been addressed above in section 2. Items such as <LOL, <happy>, <fun> and <smile> are tagged under tag E4.1+. The overuse of terms associated with education reflects the age of teenagers as a significant sociolinguistic variable, including a range of lexical items such as <school>, <teacher>, <class>. The majority of words tagged as S7.1 "Power, organising" is the item <status>. There is an interesting overuse of items tagged as B1 "Anatomy and physiology", such as <sleep>, <eyes>, <tired>. Some of these items have been wrongly tagged, such as <shit>, <suck> and <profile>, with the first two being used the interjectory sense. It would be good to note that the overuse of S9 "Religion and the supernatural" is due mainly to the fact that <nt>, which occurred 48 out of the total 98 items tagged in S9, was wrongly sorted. This item was cut from items such as <didnt>, <dont>, etc. The following figure shows the top ten part of speech markers compared with the BNC Spoken Sampler. Item O1 %1 O2 %2 LL NNU 314 1.51 159 0.02 + 1835.84 Units of measurement FO 229 1.10 12 0.00 + 1679.60 Formula ZZ1 614 2.95 5328 0.54 + 1031.84 Singular letter VV0 1347 6.46 26118 2.66 + 784.55 Base form of verb NN1 3077 14.76 84446 8.59 + 739.61 Singular common noun APPGE 504 2.42 10384 1.06 + 259.51 Possessive pronoun PPIO1 207 0.99 2640 0.27 + 231.02 "me" JJ 1233 5.92 36947 3.76 + 213.81 Adjective NP1 573 2.75 15229 1.55 + 153.00 Singular proper noun MC1 146 0.70 2957 0.30 + 77.91 "one" Figure 5: A comparison of the top ten Wmatrix part-of-speech markers for the C-corpus with the BNC Spoken Sampler. ...read more.

Conclusion

Instead of identifying those as whole emoticons, the software cut off any symbols after each full stop. Such problems were easily overcome by referring to the concordances, for example it was seen how there was an overuse of <D> in the frequency listing (refer to section 3.1). Another recurrent problem was that the program was unable to disregard capitalisation of certain letters which began words, leading to certain errors in the frequency listing, such as counting no occurrences of a particular item without capitalisation, when comparing it against the same item with capitalisation. 4.3 Suggestions for further research If possible, increasing the corpus size would be a viable option to obtain a corpus which can serve as a better representation of the teenage population in Singapore, as well as increasing the reliability of the findings. For future research projects, it can be verified whether our data findings are consistent by acquiring data from a larger number of schools. Also, a similar study could possibly be done to investigate differences in the language usage of teenagers from co-ed and single-sex schools. This is interesting as it is controversial as to whether differences that have been found to distinguish the language used by the genders can in fact be attributed to social environment and differences in language in different social networks. This is especially the case since the data was not collected from every school in Singapore. Before embarking on this research project, the sociolinguistic variable of ethnicity was also considered. However due to time constraints, it was decided that the focus would be only on gender. Hence, another possible area of research would be to investigate how this variable affects the usage of English by teenagers or Singaporeans in general over this interesting medium of Facebook. In all, there is a possibility of research to be done on other sociolinguistic variables other than gender to further the understanding of how Facebook, a relatively new mode of CMC, can reformulate the use of English. 6. ...read more.

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