If the walls could talk: a sociolinguistic inquiry.




Young, Taylor Marie

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Social networking sites are the contemporary agora: where individuals share their lives, understand the world, exchange cultural artefacts and tend to relationships. Yet, these sites are paradoxically lauded for their ability to connect lives and disparaged for the effect they have on the quality of language and relationships. Covered extensively across disciplines, including inquiries into identity and gender politics, social networking sites remain under investigated in linguistics. Here, the interplay of identity, gender, and language in a group of adolescent girls on Facebook is explored in the sociolinguistic tradition. This research demonstrates how a discourse analytic framework can determine some aspect of identity from an individual’s online interactions, including gender as constrained by historical and cultural discourses. A collaborative methodology navigates the difficulties of collecting data online, the complexities of gender and identity, as well as provides a commentary on the need for reform in ethical protocol for online research.



sociolinguistics, gender, identity, discourse analysis, computer-mediated communication, social networking sites, Facebook, girls