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- n Part 1 of this assignment, you will discuss the proposal developed by your small-group collaboration and relate it to the research methods and linguistics concepts examined in this course.
- In Part 2, you will evaluate a claim about computer-mediated communication using what you’ve learned about what language is and how CMC is used.
Part 1 (2 paragraphs)
- (1 sentence) What is the research question in your collaboration?
- (1 paragraphs) Discuss the linguistic variables and social factors investigated by your group,and the research methods you’ve chosen to use. To show substantial evidence of critical thinking, your responses must do more than simply identify that concepts appear within your project. Instead, aim to explain, expand, connect, compare, or contrast how the concept appears in your project with how we covered the concept in the course. Each module has a “Readings & Multimedia” page with the required resources; review those resources and use and cite them appropriately.
- Linguistic variables: Quote specific examples to demonstrate the variation in language that your group investigated and explain them. For example, if you were interested in meme grammar like Gawne and Vaughan were, you could quote “teh” and “the” as orthographic and phonetic differences. If you were interested in how sincerity is conveyed like Gunraj et al, you could quote “Sure” and “Sure.” (with period” to examine the role of the period in sincerity online.
- Social factors: Explain what extralinguistic (outside of language) factors or dimensions are relevant to understanding the language variation in your project. Connect to the reading from Janet Holmes. How do you anticipate that these factors would affect the results of the project, if you could carry out the investigation?
- Research methods: Explain what methods your project uses to investigate your research question, and explain why these methods were chosen. Use the required readings and multimedia from the course to make connections. (Note: if you would prefer to change the methods your group suggested, explain what would you change them to, and why.)
- (1 paragraph) Review the VoiceThreads for other groups. Choose one that you feel you understand well and respond to the prompt below.
- Give the title of the proposal you examined. Use your understanding of research methods described in the course to discuss potential complications of their methods: what would you change or improve about the methods, and why? You may also discuss likely results based on your own experiences with CMC.
Part 2 (1-2 paragraphs)
Naomi Baron, whose 2007 study of American undergraduates’ texts and IMs we read about several weeks ago, described that research and other research on computer-mediated communication in her book Always On. She acknowledges something that John McWhorter also mentions in his TED talk, which is that sometimes people feel very negatively about online language and what it means for English. She writes, “A number of [journalists] proclaim that email, instant messaging, and text messaging have created a whole new language, apart from standard English” and cites a 2004 article from the UK Observer fretting that “the English language is being beaten up, civilization is in danger of crumbling.”
Use what you’ve learned about language and CMC to respond to the kinds of alarmist complaints that Baron and McWhorter have described. Begin your response with the following sentence:
CMC has not created “a whole new language” and the English language is not “being beaten up” by CMC.
Then, flesh out your paragraph(s) by addressing each of the following points:
- Why isn’t “writing” the same as “language”? See McWhorter’s TED talk and Pinker’s video
- Where does CMC like texting and tweets fit in our uses of language / how is it different from other types of writing? See McCulloch’s presentation and listen to McWhorter’s TED talk
- Why is it normal that as speakers we vary how we speak/ why is it unsurprising that CMC shows variation from other forms of writing? See Marc van Oostendorp’s video, Janet Holmes’ chapter, and Gawne and Vaughan’s talk
- Why can’t emojis just replace English? What are some things they lack the ability to do that languages like English can do? See Cohn’s article and McCulloch’s presentation
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