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LINGUIST List 21.2489

Sun Jun 06 2010

Diss: Socioling: Greiffenstern: 'The Influence of Computers, the ...'

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        1.    Sandra Greiffenstern, The Influence of Computers, the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication on Everyday English

Message 1: The Influence of Computers, the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication on Everyday English
Date: 06-Jun-2010
From: Sandra Greiffenstern <sandra.greiffensterngmail.com>
Subject: The Influence of Computers, the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication on Everyday English
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Institution: Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin
Program: Department of English and American Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Sandra Greiffenstern

Dissertation Title: The Influence of Computers, the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication on Everyday English

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Peter Lucko

Dissertation Abstract:

The dissertation focuses on the use of English in connection with computers
and the Internet and on its influences on everyday English. We adapt our
language to new technology, in this case computers and the Internet, and we
need new words to describe new technology and the possibilities it offers.
Moreover, metaphors change and the meaning of some words has shifted from
its original meaning to a meaning related to new technologies. In order to
assess this influence, two British magazines were analysed for one year,
two recent TV shows were tested for features of Computer-Mediated
Communication (CMC) in spoken language, and an extensive analysis of 'The
Bank of English', a large corpus, was conducted. The collected data is
evaluated and shows the scope of influence from CMC, computers and the

The introduction and hypotheses are followed by some background information
about the development and spread of computers and the Internet and about
the role that English plays in the use of the Internet. Next, previous
studies dealing with computer-mediated communication are presented. This
includes Marshall McLuhan's notion of a global village, linguistic studies
about CMC, for example, by Naomi Baron, David Crystal and other linguists,
and more general studies which deal with new ways of communication via
computers and the Internet. The third chapter shows the features of CMC
before dealing with different theories to explain CMC. The comparison of
the different theories shows how difficult it is to classify CMC. Is it a
new register, just a new style, or are there even parallels to the
development of pidgins and creoles? In the fourth chapter, the discussion
about CMC and its influence on everyday language is presented, showing the
different arguments and predictions about the development and influence of
CMC. While some fear a deterioration of language, others claim that CMC
enriches the linguistic repertoire and facilitates more creativity. In the
fifth chapter, the question of how far existing linguistic theories can be
applied to the study of CMC and its influence is considered. It shows where
the framework of theories is sufficient to explain CMC, its influence and
the rise of technology-related language and where new theories are needed
or existing theories need to be adapted to explain CMC, for example,
theories about language change and networks. In the sixth chapter, the
methodology of the analysis is explained including the data sampling and
the data examination. The seventh chapter deals with neologisms, new
phrases and the shift of meanings in connection with computers, the
Internet and technology in general. Moreover, it presents metaphors in
relation with computers and the Internet and analyses them. In the eighth
chapter, the influence of CMC, computers, and the Internet on everyday
language is analysed based on data collected from magazines, book, TV shows
and 'The Bank of English'. In chapters nine and ten, the results of the
study are evaluated and the hypotheses motivating the study are reconsidered.

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