"Internet Language: Communicating in a Global World" International Conference at the Univeristy of Minho, 26-27 th June 2014

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University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
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"Internet Language: Communicating in a Global World"
International Conference
Universidade do Minho
26-27th June, 2014


With the emergence of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, communicating became not only much easier but possible on a global scale. By transmitting messages online, human beings soon developed new, creative ways to connect verbally with one another, the variety of which came to be labeled "computer-mediated communication" (CMC). This particular sort of discourse, as produced via networked computers, is a key element of present-day social and interpersonal interaction. Hence the lavish academic input into the study of the various forms that CMC takes, from email and comment boards to discussion groups, real-time chat and virtual reality roleplaying games.

The linguistic features of the computer networked medium - which relies almost exclusively on visually-presented language - vary according not only to the kind of messaging system at stake, but also to the social and cultural backgrounds of the interactants. Besides, being free from the noise of other channels of communication and from physical context, they provide a privileged vantage point from which to investigate verbal interaction and the correlation between discourse and social practice.

We welcome contributions for 20-minute papers in English on any aspect of the study of Internet language and online discourse.

Possible topics include (but are not restricted to):

- Linguistic features of synchronous versus asynchronous online exchanges:
- Written/oral and formal/informal dichotomies
- Lexical creativity
- Syntactic fragmentation
- Expressive substitutes for auditory information (like prosody and laughter) and for gestural and body information
- Online conversational interaction:
- Turn-taking: gaps, overlaps, interruptions
- Adjacency strategies: addressivity, linking, quoting
- Participation structures: one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many
- Uncertainty reduction strategies in the absence of nonverbal cues (self-disclosure, question asking, and question/disclosure intimacy)
- Speech-act design: online criticism, requesting, complaining, protesting, disagreeing, "flaming", etc.
- Politeness versus impoliteness in CMC:
- Online face-threatening acts
- Topic management
- Role of gender and age in ingroup versus outgroup interaction
- Questions of anonymity, accountability and physical, geographical and temporal detachment
- "Netiquette" and FAQ discourse
- Socially-conditioned variation:
- Use of discursive markers of social class, age, race and ethnicity (such as culture-specific lexis, code-switching, etc.)
- Adherence to culturally-prescribed gendered interactional norms
- Choice of online identity versus stereotyping
- Variation according to communication purpose (recreational, political, professional, pedagogical, creative, etc.)
- Discursive indicators of social and antisocial behaviour:
- Social behaviour: affectivity, cohesiveness, and interactivity
- Antisocial behaviour: negative socioemotional behaviour, group exclusion, and confrontational interaction
- Ideological expression of power hierarchies in virtual communities:
- Discursive negotiation and expression of asymmetrical social relations in cyberspace
- Overrepresentation of white, middle class, English-speaking males in computer-mediated discourse
- Computer-mediated communication as a tool of either oppression or resistance
- Dominance of the English language on the Internet, and the consequent global spread of U.S. values and cultural practices.

Abstracts of 250-300 words, including full title of paper, name of speaker, institutional affiliation and position, a bio-sketch and contact details (postal address and e-mail address), should be sent as Word attachments to Prof. Isabel Ermida SIMULTANEOUSLY at iermida@ilch.uminho.pt and netlangconf@gmail.com until 15 April, 2014. Emails should be entitled: "Internet Language Conference".