Comparison of the linguistic features of different types of language found on the Internet.
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Introduction I intend to make a comparison of the linguistic features of different types of language found on the Internet. This area interests me simply because I believe the Internet is the new medium for communication, a place where people can talk in real time, send messages across the world in seconds, receive up-to the minute news bulletins, consequently there is a wealth of information stored on it. This information can take many linguistic shapes and forms. Much of the language on the Internet is an emulation of ones common to other mediums, newspapers, magazines etc. Nevertheless, this new medium also gives an opportunity for new non-standard language forms to arise. The data I have chosen is as follows: * A conversation from an internet chat-room, 28/01/01 * Two pop-up advertisements, January 2001 * An internet jargon glossary, January 2001 I have chosen this data simply because they provides a wide range linguistic features, that can be analysed and compared through four frameworks. As a result I hope to find that different web based sources, specifically ones that address different topics will use different lexis, orthography, semantics, discourse structure and graphology.
All of the words are written in Standard English. Although this provides a certain level of formality, this is nullified by the concept of the advert being entirely impossible; it is in actual fact a parody. The second advertisement is for a free "internet-to-mobile phone" Short Messaging Service and only contains six words "U send, U receive, U text". There is a non-standard spelling of the word "you", it is written phonetically "U", probably included because it is common to Texts Messages, where there is a strict character limit of 160, and words are often shortened. It is clear that the semantic field is that of Short Message Service, "send" and "receive" appear on almost every mobile phone and people are familiar with them. The use of "U" provides a break from the other words, which provide some formality. Overall though, the level of formality of the piece is quite low. The third advertisement is for the free download of an online casino program, which allows users to place bets on casino games from their home. There is a repetition of the word "free", this is probably there is to entice the reader into clicking on the advert.
The second advertisement is for the free Internet SMS. There are only two main graphological features of this. The font used to write the text is designed to look a lot like that which features on a mobile phone screen. This is there for the association; the fact that the service offered is to do with mobile phones. The Casino advert uses a border to draw the reader attention inwards. The word "grand" is written in gold to imply wealth and success. There is a small symbol of a card suite, spades, probably there to show the casino specialises in card games, or just to give a feel of gambling. Internet Jargon Glossary There is no use of graphology. The discourse structure of the text is simply a list of uppercase words combined with their meanings in normal sentence case. Conclusion It becomes apparent that there is a huge variety of different language used on the Internet. Ranging from, completely non-standard English, to complicated subject specific lexis, written in Standard English. Nevertheless, I have only looked at a very small amount of the Internet. There are several billion websites; consequently the project I have conducted here does not conclusively answer the question "how is the language on the internet different" but more "a small comparison of some general sources".
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