Linguistik online 15, 3/03

Zur Darstellung nonverbalen Verhaltens in deutschen und schwedischen IRC-Chats. Eine Korpusuntersuchung

Christiane Pankow (Göteborg)



The starting point of this paper is the assumption that communication in chat channels is a special kind of computer-mediated discourse in a written (typed) form but with several qualities of oral communication. The paper includes a description of a corpus, which was created by a longitudinal measurement of five German and three Swedish chat channels during two weeks (5th – 19th February 2001). The analysis focuses on those sequences of the discourse which are marked by asterisks like in German chats: *zwinker *, *mitdenfüßennachderfernbedienungfisch* and in Swedish chats: *skrattar * [lach-1-3.Pers.Sg.+Pl.], *börja stappla iväg mot lindsie*[anfang-INFINITIV geh-INFINITIV zu lindsie]. These sequences, which I call *phrases, are linguistically as well as functionally interesting; in both languages namely, they have a special morpho-syntactical structure and are used to represent nonverbal communication like body language, facial expressions and situations or/and activities which accompany the chat discourse in real life.
The paper discusses the different verbal structures of the *phrases as well as their nonverbal functions. Among other things, I show that the German *Phrases mostly represent phonations, gestures and facial expressions; they mostly imitate the oral discourse. In these *phrases, the Swedish chat users very often describe the circumstances of the situation where the chat discourse takes place like activities, real place and surroundings of the real life situation.

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