Key Aspects of 21st Century Informal Interactions: Socio-Pragmatic and Formal Features

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (7 June 2021) | Viewed by 14618

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Guest Editor
Department of Linguistics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Interests: cognitive linguistics; corpus linguistics; language change
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Guest Editor
Department of Linguistics, Ghent University, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Interests: terms of address, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, personality research

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Guest Editor
Department of Linguistics, Ghent University, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Interests: intensifiers; youth language; corpus linguistics; recent language change

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The first two decades of the current 21st century have evidenced important sociocultural changes in (Western) society, with inevitable impact on linguistic habits. One of the most striking changes is, undoubtedly, the unstoppable expansion of mass media, in particular that of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Jenkins 2009). In terms of society impact, this is strongly changing everyday interaction and communication. More specifically, the rise of new digital communication forms entails an ongoing informalization and colloquialization of language practices, with a constant redefinition and crossing of boundaries between written and oral registers (e.g., De Smet & Enghels in press).

Indeed, as speakers enter more than ever into indirect interaction with others, through email and other message delivery services like WhatsApp and Messenger (to name a few), traditional conversational strategies and practices have been challenged, reconsidered and adapted to these new trends of indirect communication. At the linguistic level, this new (interactional) panorama results in, among other things, the productive use of a highly expressive vocabulary including intensifiers and taboo words (Jørgensen 2013; Gutzmann 2019), of terms of address expressing affection and closeness (Kluge & Moyna 2019), and of discourse markers serving various interactional functions (such as turn-taking) (Landone 2012). Moreover, present-day interactions tend to be highly spontaneous and subjective, favouring personal and intimate conversation topics (Goodman & Graddol 1996). The omnipresence and the protagonist role of youngsters in this new digital era contribute to their role as linguistic innovators. Indeed, many linguistic tendencies originating in teenage talk tend to be introduced and spread into more general language use (e.g., Zimmermann 2002; Tagliamonte 2016; Roels & Enghels in press).

Besides, not only mass media but also the availability and widespread use of streaming services, such as Netflix and YouTube, ensures that people get acquainted with other languages and cultures, resulting in increasing language contact, which has an unavoidable impact on many languages, with English as a lingua franca (e.g., Jenkins 2007).

Until now, besides analyses of face to face interactions as attested in corpus data (i.a. Stenström & Jørgensen 2011), several scholars have examined the language practices in social media (i.a. Hilte et al. 2016; Rueda & Alamán 2013), as well as in television series (i.a. Bednarek 2019). Regarding the latter, special attention is paid to the question of how useful the language of television shows can be for linguistic research.

Still, many features of present-day informal interactions remain undocumented and underexplored. Therefore, the main purpose of this Special Issue consists in reporting on the main interests and developments in this emerging research field.

More specifically, this Special Issue is devoted to research on the key aspects of present-day informal interactions, from different perspectives, applying different methodologies and within different theoretical frameworks. In short, we welcome a wide range of (relevant) topics, which may include (but are not limited to):

  1. (socio-)pragmatic, morpho-syntactic and semantic features of present-day informal interactions (e.g., discourse markers, terms of address, intensifiers, taboo words, etc.)
  2. particularities of 21st century language use
  3. phenomena of recent language change
  4. the language of social media and its influence on informal conversations in general
  5. consequences of increasing language contact
  6. the role of youth languages in (recent) language change
  7. (recent) processes of grammaticalization in spoken language (e.g., the fuzzy boundaries between vocatives and discourse markers)

We especially encourage linguists working on Romance languages to submit their work, but relevant papers on all other languages are welcome as well.

Interested authors are requested to submit a proposed title and an abstract of around 500 words summarizing their intended contribution, prior to preparing their manuscripts. Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors and the journal's editorial team, and then full manuscripts will be solicited. Please send the abstract to [email protected] and [email protected]. Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

The tentative completion schedule is as follows:

  • Abstract submission deadline: October 31 2020
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: November 15 2020
  • Full manuscript deadline: June 7 2021

References

Bednarek, Monika (2019): “The multifunctionality of swear/taboo words in television series”, in: Mackenzie, J. Lachlan / Alba-Juez, Laura (eds.):  Emotion in Discourse, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 29-54.

De Smet, Emma / Enghels, Renata (in press): “Los datos en Twitter como fuente de la oralidad. Estudio de caso del MD en plan”. Oralia.

Goodman, Sharon / David, Gaddol (2016): Redesigning English: new texts, new identities. London: Routledge.

Gutzmann, Daniel (2019): The Grammar of Expressivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, Jennifer (2007): English as a lingua franca: Attitude and identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, Henry (2009): Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Jørgensen, Annette (2013): “Spanish Teenage Language and the COLAm-Corpus”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 3(1).

Kluge, Bettina / Moyna, María Irene (2019): It's not all about you : new perspectives on address research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Landone, Elena (2012): “Discourse markers and politeness in a digital forum in Spanish”. Journal of Pragmatics 44(13), 1799-1820.

Roels, Linde / Enghels, Renata (in press): “Age-based variation and patterns of recent language change: a case-study of morphological and lexical intensifiers in Spanish”. Journal of Pragmatics.

Rueda, Ana Mancera / Alamán, Ana Paro (2013): El español coloquial en las redes sociales, Madrid: Arco Libros.

Stenström, Anna-Britta / Jørgensen, Annette (2011): “La pragmática contrastiva basada en el análisis de corpus: perspectivas desde el lenguaje juvenil“, in: Fant, Lars / Harvey, Ana María (eds.), El diálogo oral en el mundo hispanohablante. Frankfurt am Main / Madrid: Iberoamericana Vervuert, 251-276.

Tagliamonte, Sali (2016): Teen talk: The language of adolescents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zimmermann, Klaus (2002): “La variedad juvenil y la interacción verbal entre jóvenes”, in: Rodríguez González, Félix (ed.), El lenguaje de los jóvenes, Barcelona: Ariel, 137-164.

Prof. Dr. Renata Enghels
Ms. Fien De Latte
Ms. Linde Roels
Guest Editors

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • present-day conversation
  • colloquial speech
  • language and social media
  • grammaticalization
  • language change
  • teenage talk / youth language
  • terms of address
  • vocatives
  • discourse markers
  • intensifiers
  • diminutives
  • attenuation and mitigation
  • taboo words

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 893 KiB  
Article
Bailando, me paso el día bailando y los vecinos mientras tanto no paran de molestar. Parar de + inf as an Interruptive Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish
by Mar Garachana
Languages 2021, 6(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040171 - 18 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1807
Abstract
The main aim of this paper is to describe the Spanish construction parar de + inf, an aspectual verbal periphrasis which expresses the interruption of the event referred to by the infinitive in affirmative clauses, and the continuity and repetition of this [...] Read more.
The main aim of this paper is to describe the Spanish construction parar de + inf, an aspectual verbal periphrasis which expresses the interruption of the event referred to by the infinitive in affirmative clauses, and the continuity and repetition of this event in negative clauses. Parar de+ inf is a verbal periphrasis whose consolidation in Spanish occurred in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The study on this structure is therefore associated with recent linguistic changes. Parar de + inf is a verbal periphrasis characteristic of the colloquial language, which has complicated the study of the real use of parar de + inf. The language used in situations of communicative proximity is under-represented in the corpora. Thus, estimates of the frequencies of use of linguistic forms associated with colloquial language forms should be taken with caution, as frequency of use may differ significantly across discourse traditions. In this regard, it is important to think about the role of frequency data in historical studies of language. Full article
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25 pages, 938 KiB  
Article
Monitoring 21st-Century Real-Time Language Change in Spanish Youth Speech
by Linde Roels, Fien De Latte and Renata Enghels
Languages 2021, 6(4), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040162 - 8 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2243
Abstract
In recent decades, youth language has become one of the preferred research areas in sociolinguistics, not only because of its non-normative nature but mostly because it is recognized as a catalyst for language change. Since adolescents aspire to create and safeguard an in-group [...] Read more.
In recent decades, youth language has become one of the preferred research areas in sociolinguistics, not only because of its non-normative nature but mostly because it is recognized as a catalyst for language change. Since adolescents aspire to create and safeguard an in-group identity, they constantly generate innovative linguistic forms. However, few studies have empirically monitored the speed at which linguistic innovations are introduced into youth language. This study explores the speed and nature of recent language change within Spanish youth language by conducting a corpus analysis in real time. Data of the contemporary CORMA corpus (Corpus Oral de Madrid, compiled between 2016 and 2019) are contrasted with the highly comparable data of the COLAm corpus (Corpus Oral de Lenguaje Adolescente de Madrid, compiled between 2003 and 2007). The study scrutinizes two typical phenomena of youth language, namely the use of intensifiers (e.g., super-, mazo) and vocatives (e.g., tío/tía, chaval/chavala). It is shown that changes occur at a more moderate speed than previously assumed and that the speed of change depends on the linguistic phenomenon under study. Additionally, the data suggest that more neutral forms remain quite stable over time, while the use of more expressive items shrinks or increases faster. Full article
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17 pages, 438 KiB  
Article
The Expressive Function of the ni que Insubordinate Construction in Spanish
by Elena Martínez Caro and Laura Alba-Juez
Languages 2021, 6(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040161 - 8 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1625
Abstract
Authors such as Tyler Schnoebelen (on page 12 of his study Emotions are Relational: Positioning and the Use of Affective Linguistic Resources), suggest that in some languages (cf. Navajo), certain dependent clauses are frequently used independently to “mark emotional evaluation and background [...] Read more.
Authors such as Tyler Schnoebelen (on page 12 of his study Emotions are Relational: Positioning and the Use of Affective Linguistic Resources), suggest that in some languages (cf. Navajo), certain dependent clauses are frequently used independently to “mark emotional evaluation and background information”. Evans, in his work on insubordination and its uses, makes use of the term insubordination to refer to this phenomenon. Our study focuses on a particular insubordinate construction introduced by the sequence ni que in Spanish, as in the example [¡Una carta cada día!] Ni que yo fuese Umbral. (CORPES Corpus), used as an independent clause with a sociopragmatic meaning, which is different from that of its subordinate counterpart (cf. No escribiría una carta cada día ni que yo fuese Umbral). Our research questions ask about the potential for ni que to be used as a discourse marker fulfilling an expressive function when it introduces this type of construction, and the derived hypothesis is then oriented to test whether Schnoebelen’s observation about insubordinate constructions also applies to this Spanish construction. In order to test this hypothesis, we performed a functional discourse analysis of more than 2000 concordances (and their extended contexts) in Mark Davies’ Corpus del Español and the Real Academia CORPES XXI. Our findings show that the insubordinate construction differs in function and meaning from its subordinate counterpart, the former fulfilling an emotive function, often combined with other discourse–pragmatic functions, such as evaluation or the organization of discourse. Full article
24 pages, 1964 KiB  
Article
Movement Verbs as Discourse Markers in Spanish: The Case of Vamos in the City of Granada, Spain
by Natalia Ruiz-González
Languages 2021, 6(4), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040156 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1970
Abstract
The discourse marker vamos is the first-person present indicative plural of the verb ir (“to go”) and acts as a guide throughout the discourse. We studied its use in the PRESEEA corpus of Granada, analyzing 54 interviews and rescuing 270 occurrences of [...] Read more.
The discourse marker vamos is the first-person present indicative plural of the verb ir (“to go”) and acts as a guide throughout the discourse. We studied its use in the PRESEEA corpus of Granada, analyzing 54 interviews and rescuing 270 occurrences of vamos. Mainly, we detected that its use was higher in the speech of people with only a primary education, while its use among the university educated represented 27% of cases. It was also used more frequently by young people, particularly females, although only age was found to be influential because of the intrinsic and original value of the first-person plural form, by which speakers are integrated and form part of a group. Among the pragmatic values of the marker is its use as a reformulator in more than 60% of cases; 22% as a structurer that helps to continue and conclude the discourse; and approximately 13% when used as a modalizer to convey the speaker’s attitude. Its main linguistic characteristic is its appearance preceded by conjunctions such as pero and y, and its main position is initial, as it accounts for 90% of occurrences. Full article
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17 pages, 407 KiB  
Article
Después de usted: Variation and Change in a Spanish Tripartite Politeness System
by María Irene Moyna
Languages 2021, 6(3), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030152 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2510
Abstract
This study focuses on the address paradigm in the Spanish spoken in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, a Latin American variety which presents speakers with three options—one polite (usted), and two familiar (pan-Hispanic and regional vos). Recent quantitative studies [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the address paradigm in the Spanish spoken in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, a Latin American variety which presents speakers with three options—one polite (usted), and two familiar (pan-Hispanic and regional vos). Recent quantitative studies have shown that the range of polite usted is shrinking in the dialect, as younger respondents reserve it for hierarchical contexts or for much older addressees. Indeed, speakers are uncertain about appropriate address choice to convey deference without distance. The present analysis supplements the previous quantitative data with responses of Montevideo speakers to an attitudinal interview (n = 12) analyzed qualitatively for themes with Atlas.ti. It finds that while speakers reject usted, they have adopted a range of strategies to maintain distinctions in politeness, including address avoidance, mirroring, and the repurposing of as an intermediate polite form. Full article
22 pages, 555 KiB  
Article
Social Networks: A Source of Lexical Innovation and Creativity in Contemporary Peninsular Spanish
by Beatriz Rodríguez Arrizabalaga
Languages 2021, 6(3), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030138 - 16 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2708
Abstract
There is no doubt that the Internet, where English is ubiquitous, has revolutionized our way of life. Socially, it has opened frontiers to such an extent that nowadays human beings can be permanently connected, no matter the distance between them, in virtual encounters [...] Read more.
There is no doubt that the Internet, where English is ubiquitous, has revolutionized our way of life. Socially, it has opened frontiers to such an extent that nowadays human beings can be permanently connected, no matter the distance between them, in virtual encounters where social networks play a crucial role. Linguistically, on the other hand, it has created a new global language which combines properties of written and oral speech. The Internet’s lexical level, in particular, is described as extremely innovative, creative and playful since it is full of neologisms, many of which are Anglicisms, coined to name the new realities constantly brought along with the evolution of the digital world. In order to demonstrate that social networks are indeed the source of a wide array of creative and playful neological Anglicisms in Peninsular Spanish, we have carried out a corpus-based analysis of the names of five current social and interactive forms of Internet communication in two contemporary Spanish corpora; specifically, that of the indirect social network generically known as the blog and those of the direct social networks Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp. Our study focuses, specifically, on four facets of these neological Anglicisms: (i) their date of introduction into the language; (ii) their frequency of occurrence; (iii) their diverse spellings; and (iv) finally, the different word-formation processes they enter. Full article
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