The article comments on some affective aspects of message contents and language use in Twitter the micro-blogging and social network service, and observers’ attitudes to them. It presents data showing, in particular, how affectivity is discernible in what the author calls ‘Twitter Talk’ – the topic and linguistic contents of individual tweets – despite both the mere informational status ‘brief’ on contents and the brevity constraint on length of tweets. This is seen both in the prevalence of what can be termed comity or ‘rapport talk’ for ‘interactional’ goals, and also in the ‘moods’ captured by semantic differential type analysis of words in tweets, tracked and visually displayed, e.g., by TwitterMoods. Affectivity is also strongly present in the levity of ‘Twitterspeak’ i.e. in the rampantly playful creativity in coining ‘twitterisms’, an analysis of the neologistic processes of which is attempted in the article. Affectivity, and language ideological attitudes (and prescriptive notions of what Twitter is for), are also displayed in observers’ loaded expressions when criticising these very aspects: Twitter talk is the “pointless babble” of “twits”, Twitterspeak is insufferably “twee”. While commenting, however, on the “trouble with twitter” many also seem unable to resist the lure of the /twi-/ phonaestheme or of joining in the fun of punning, etc. The brevity constraint, too, paradoxically seen as encouraging both efficient concision and superficiality/banality thus finds both enthusiasts and critics. Twitter, it is suggested, is worth serious attention by linguists since it illustrates, among other things, the irrepressibility of affectivity in communication, the importance in processes of language innovation of the community identity functions of terminology, and of the agency of users of language who appropriate and bend communication media to their purposes, despite their constraints but while exploiting their affordances.

Twixt twitalk and tweespeak (not to mention trouble) on Twitter: a flutter with affectivity

VINCENT, Jocelyne Mary
2009

Abstract

The article comments on some affective aspects of message contents and language use in Twitter the micro-blogging and social network service, and observers’ attitudes to them. It presents data showing, in particular, how affectivity is discernible in what the author calls ‘Twitter Talk’ – the topic and linguistic contents of individual tweets – despite both the mere informational status ‘brief’ on contents and the brevity constraint on length of tweets. This is seen both in the prevalence of what can be termed comity or ‘rapport talk’ for ‘interactional’ goals, and also in the ‘moods’ captured by semantic differential type analysis of words in tweets, tracked and visually displayed, e.g., by TwitterMoods. Affectivity is also strongly present in the levity of ‘Twitterspeak’ i.e. in the rampantly playful creativity in coining ‘twitterisms’, an analysis of the neologistic processes of which is attempted in the article. Affectivity, and language ideological attitudes (and prescriptive notions of what Twitter is for), are also displayed in observers’ loaded expressions when criticising these very aspects: Twitter talk is the “pointless babble” of “twits”, Twitterspeak is insufferably “twee”. While commenting, however, on the “trouble with twitter” many also seem unable to resist the lure of the /twi-/ phonaestheme or of joining in the fun of punning, etc. The brevity constraint, too, paradoxically seen as encouraging both efficient concision and superficiality/banality thus finds both enthusiasts and critics. Twitter, it is suggested, is worth serious attention by linguists since it illustrates, among other things, the irrepressibility of affectivity in communication, the importance in processes of language innovation of the community identity functions of terminology, and of the agency of users of language who appropriate and bend communication media to their purposes, despite their constraints but while exploiting their affordances.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/39688
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