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Last updated: November 18, 2019

A Discourse Analysis of English Used in the
Social Network (Facebook)

A Thesis
Submitted to
Department of English Language and Literature,

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In Fulfillment of the Degree of Master in English Linguistics

Faten Mahmoud El-bahi Seada
Assistant researcher, Department of English Language and Literature,
Faculty of Arts, Tanta University

Supervised by

Tanta University
Prof. Mohammed Said Negm

Professor of linguistics
Department of English Language
Faculty of Arts

Table of Contents

Abstract (I)
acknowledgment (II)
Table of Contents (III)
List of Tables (IV)
List of Figures (V)
List of Abbreviations (VII)
Chapter One: Introduction 1
1.1 Aim of the Study 1
1.2 Objective of the Study
1.3 Significance of the Study
1.4 Material and Method
1.5 Definition of Key Terms
1.6 Thesis Organization
1.7 Literature Review
1.7.1 Related Study
1.7.2 Social Network Sites Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn Flickr
1.8 The History of the Social Network Site Facebook
1.9 Why Facebook?
1.10 Facebook Chatting
1.11 The Internet and the Language of Facebook Chatting
1.12 Facebook Chatting and Egyptian Young People
Chapter Two: Computer-Mediated Communication
2.1 Computer Mediated Communication Definition
2.2 Types of CMC
2.2.1 One-to-One Dialogue
2.2.2 One-to-Many Dialogue

2.2.3 Web Sites
2.3 Communication situations
2.4 Modes of Computer -Mediated Communication (CMC)
2.4.1 Synchronicity Synchronous CMC (SCMC) Asynchronous CMC (ASCMC)
2.4.2 Textuality Text-based CMC Non text-based CMC
2.4.3 Audience One-to-one One-to- many
2.4.4 Message Transmission One-way transmission Two-way Transmission
2.5 Common Linguistic Features of CMC
2.6 CMC between Spoken and Written Language
2.7 Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis
Chapter Three: Data Analysis and Results
3.1 Space, case, punctuation and spelling
3.1.1 Omitting Blank Space between Words
3.1.2 Omitting Punctuation
3.1.3 Unconventional Punctuation
3.1.4 All Lower-case
3.1.5 All Capitals
3.1.6 Mix of Lower-case and Capitals
3.1.7 Unconventional, spoken-like spelling
3.1.8 Typos
3.1.9 Repetition of letters
3.1.10 Repetition of words
3.1.11 Consonant writing
3.2 Grammatical features

3.2.1 Subject pronoun
3.2.2 Verb phrase
3.2.3 Exchange long words for shorter
3.2.4 Inspiration from other languages than English (word order,

3.3 Logotypes
3.3.1 Emoticons
3.3.2 Asterisks
3.3.3 Symbols replacing word
3.3.4 Addressivity marker
3.4 Lexical features and abbreviations
3.4.1 Colloquial lexicon (dialect, expletives)
3.4.2 code-switching
3.4.3 OCM features from spoken language
3.4.3 Conventional abbreviations
3.4.4 Unconventional abbreviations
Future Suggestions

List of Tables

No Title Page
Table 2.1 Examples of common
emoticons or smileys

Table 2.2 Examples of common CMC
abbreviations and acronyms

Table 2.7 Linguistic Features
Characteristic of CMC

Table 3.1 Illustration of Space, case,
punctuation and spelling

Table 3.3

Illustration of emoticons &
their standard form

Table 3.3.3 Illustration of symbol
replacing word & their
standard form

Table 3.4.4 Illustration of abbreviations
and their standard form

List of abbreviations

Abbreviation Meaning
SNS Social Network Sites
CMC Computer-Mediated Communication
SCMC Synchronous Computer-Mediated
ASCMC Asynchronous Computer-Mediated
FB Facebook
OCM Own Communication Management
CAPS Capital letters
PC Personal Computer
ICT Information Communication Technology
SMS Short Message Services
IM Instant Messaging
MUDs Multi-User Dungeons/ Dimensions
MOOs MUDs, Object Oriented
WWW World Wide Web
HTTP Hyper Text Transfer Protpcol

Chapter one

1.1 Aim of the study

The use of more than one language in a community like the internet results in the
emergence of new language especially in electronic communication. Additionally, the
wide spread of technology all over the world and recently in the Arab World and the
vast usage of social network sites, for example (facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn), led
to the invention of new discourse amongst electronic participants. In the Egyptian
community, the use of this new invented discourse is clearly apparent and highly used
particularly amongst adults. This study will focus on the internet language used by
Egyptian adults predominately the undergraduates and graduates. It will attempt to
highlight the linguistic features of this language. This study will also tackle the
influence of this new phenomenon on their handwriting of Standard English.

1.2 Objective of the study

The overall objective of the study is to find an answer to the following questions:
1- What are salient orthographic characteristics of English used on facebook by
Egyptian users especially undergraduates and graduates?
2- What are some grammatical features of English used on facebook by Egyptian
3- What are lexical features of English used on facebook by Egyptian
4- To what extent is the writing of the Egyptian Facebook users especially
undergraduates and graduates influenced by social networking?
5- Is there any standard way of English used in the social network by the

1.3 Significance of the study

Although there has been some work on electronic discourse, there has been little, if
any, discourse analysis of English used on Facebook. This study is expected to be
beneficial for:

1. Lecturers or teachers as well as parents: to let them understand the kind of
language students are using today indicating its probable negative influence
and give them needed guidance.
2. English Department Students: to let them know that the new social networking
represented in Facebook generates such new phenomenon in English
language. Additionally. It provides them with information about the other used
substitutionals of spoken language (paralanguage) and reflects how Facebook
is a place where people use this language in a written form to simulate face-to-
face communication.
3. Researchers: to inspire a good alternative to conduct researches in the field of
language study and to give the information with the evidence about the
contribution of Facebook in the language especially English and its Internet

1.4 Material and Method

The researcher in this study used the qualitative method because the conclusions
have been made considering the purposes users may have for selecting definite
linguistic means to express themselves when conversation. Additionally, this study
adapted the taxonomy of Ylva Hard af Segerstad (2002) for investigating the
linguistic features of the new kind of English used on the social network.
Data collection criteria
In this study, a corpus of 173 posts and comments (average of nearly 9,167 words)
was collected in order to examine the characteristics of the new phenomenon in using
internet English language in the Arab community. The data for this study was
collected from the wall in groups and the wall of users’ profiles because everything
written was open for everyone to see. This way increases the number of participants

and enables to get more data of writing. Only posts and comments written in English
language were collected while posts and comments written in Arabic language were
excluded. Additionally, some samples contains Romanized Arabic were also included
in the data.
The participants in this study are undergraduate and graduate students of AUC and
BUA particularly Facebook users. As the researcher wanted only English data, only
groups of the previous mentioned universities were used in searching for data. This
was supposed to enlarge the number of written data. Gender of the participants can be
seen from the user’s name and location is also known. It was anyhow not necessary to
take gender and location into consideration. As the participants names do not play a
significant role in the study, the researcher preferred not to mention them using NN

1.5 Definition of key terms

What is Computer-mediated Communication?

Simpsons (2002) defines CMC as “an umbrella term which refers to human
communication via computers”. It refers to any form of communication which carried
through the medium of a computer synchronously or asynchronously. Simpsons
explains that “synchronous CMC includes various types of text-based online chat,
computer, audio, and video conferencing; asynchronous CMC encompasses e-mail,
discussion forums, and mailing lists. CMC can take place over local area networks
(LANs) or over the internet. Internet CMC, as well as allowing for global
communication, also provides for the added dimension of hypertext links to sites on
the WWW, and to e-mail addresses” (p.414) .
What is World Wide Web?
World Wide Web is often abbreviated to “www” or called “the web”. It is
necessary to understand that “the web” which is not a synonym for the internet but it
is a subset of the internet consists of pages that can be accessed using a web browser.
What is Internet?
Sometimes called simply “the net”, is a word wide system of computer networks.

Crystal (2001) defines the Internet as “… an electronic, global and interactive
medium, and each of these properties has consequences for the kind of language
found there.

What are the social network sites?
Social network sires refers to websites that provide their members with services
that allow them to create a profile for sharing, controlling a friends’ list, or the list of
those who they make contact with, and viewing and communicating with their friends
with whom they are connected (Boyd ; Ellison, 2008, p.112). Facebook is the only
social network site focused in this study.

What is Facebook chatting?
Facebook chatting is talking to other people who are using the internet at the same
time you are. This service enables Facebook users to conduct instant message-based
conversations with Facebook friends. Its distinguished feature is that it supports one-
to-one chats as well as the ability to chat with multiple friends via the facebook group

1.6 Thesis organization

The present study is organized as follows:

Chapter one: Introduction
This chapter introduces Aim of the Study, Adjectives of the Study, Significance of
the Study, Material and Method, and Thesis organization. It also provides definition
of the Key Terms presented in the research. In order to give a detailed account about
the research, Review of Literature and relevant previous research is also included in
this chapter.
Chapter Two: Computer Mediated Communication
This chapter is devoted to Computer Mediated communication in general,
definition, types, situations, modes, general features, and computer mediated
discourse analysis.

Chapter Three: Data Analysis and Discussion
This chapter covers the analysis and results of the analysis of data using direct
examples from Facebook.
A summary of the research results and some suggestion for the future research are

1.7 Literature Review

1.7.1 Related Studies

In computer-mediated communication, writers have to use other manipulation of
written signs in order to accomplish pragmatic work that could be achieved through
phonological variation, prosody, gesture and other cues in ordinary spoken
conversation. Segerstad (2002) examined the linguistic feature in computer-mediated
communication found that writers use all capital letters, repetition of words,
emoticons, asterisk, symbol replacing words to as paralinguistic cues in the
interaction. In addition, Crystal (2011) in his book, Internet Linguistics writes that
text abbreviation is actually not a modern phenomenon. Many of these abbreviations
are found in chatroom interactions even before the existence of mobile phone and
some of them can be dated a hundred years or more. Moreover, the omission of letter
as in msg (message) and xlnt (excellent) is not a new phenomenon. According to him,
Wric Partridge published his dictionary of abbreviation in 1942 which contains a lot
SMS looking examples such as agn „again?, mth „month? and gd „good?. Internet
interactions lack the facial expression, gestures and conventions of body posture that
are considered important when expressing ideas and opinions. Therefore writers use
various ways to express themselves such as the use of emoticon, bold or block letters.
However, despite the creativity of the art, the semantic role of emoticon is rather
limited. For example, the basic smile can mean sympathy, delight, amusement and

Another prominent linguist in computer-mediated communication, Crispin
Thurlow (2003) studied mobile messages among the first year Language and
Communication at Cardiff University Students. Participants were asked to retrieve

from their phones 5 messages that they had either sent or received. A total of 544
separate messages were recorded and transcribed. The length of the individual
messages was calculated using the standard Microsoft word count function. Based
from the investigations, Thurlow asserts that each individual does not have one style
of language in any environment; instead, she/he will have a repertoire or a range of
style to suit different context. The following common patterns were found;
• shortenings (missing end letters), e.g. „lang? for „language?.
• Contractions (missing middle letters), e.g. „gd? for „good?
• ;g? clipping (final letter missing, e.g. „goin? for?going?
•Other clippings, e.g. „hav? for „have?
• Acronyms and intialisms, e.g. „v? for „very?
• Letter/number homophones, e.g. „1? for „one?
• Non-conventional spelling, e.g. „sum? for „some?
• Accent stylization (speaker tries to represent a particular pronunciation, for
example regional speech), e.g. „wivout? for „without?
• Non-alphabetic symbol
• Emoticon

Based on the above findings, Thurlow concludes that a number of sociolinguistic
maxim or triggering factors are required to explain some of the features above:
• Speed-txters have to speed up their pace of communication, so they need to take
short cuts.
• Brevity-txters have only limited space for their communication, so they need to
omit any elements that are not strictly necessary for understanding
• Paralinguistic restitution-txters need to find ways to replace the aspect of physical
communications such as body language that are absent
• Phonological approximation-txters want to build in ways their readers to „hear?
their voice, so try to change the written language to represent this.

Another study on SMS messages was conducted by Anis (2007). A total of 750
French messages were collected from four volunteers. Based from his research, he
categorized the corpus into three broad types: phonetic spelling, syllabograms (rebus
writing) and logograms (symbols, unilateral abbreviations, acronyms) (page, 97). In
the phonetic spelling, he discovered the texters not only substituted, reduced vowels

or consonants but also deleted silent letters in their messages. For example, the
substitution of „z? for „s? (“pleaze? for “please”). Another striking feature was
syllabogram or rebus writing such as the use of a letter or a number to represent the
phonetic sequence that constitutes its realization in spoken language such as „b4?
stands for „before?. The third finding in his research was logograms which involved
not only word signs such as “@”for „at? but also single-letter abbreviations such as
“CNN” (Cable News Network) (page, 105). He concludes that such messages are
intentional, creative and definitely comprehensible to their recipients. In addition, the
messages also reflect common human characteristics.

Norizah Hassan and Azirah Hashim in their studies of the features and language
use in electronic English in Malaysia highlight how language has been used creatively
online by different ethnic groups in Malaysia. The data was taken from a corpus of 2
million words collected from various electronic genres: blogs which are written for
informal readers, chats from Malaysian chatrooms, instant messages, emails and text
messages between friends. In their preliminary finding, many features of spoken
Malaysian English as well as other varieties of linguistic features are found in the
online communication. Intersentential and intrasentential code-switching occur
between English and Malay, Chinese dialects, Tamil and Iban. According to the
above researchers, the features are commonly found in spoken Malaysian English
except the use of symbols like @, the use of emoticons for expressions and use of the
Roman script to represent sounds in Chinese. Internet users also establish their
identity through the use of features specific to the variety and through the medium
that is used. The study offers a general overview of the use English on the Internet.

1.7.2 Social Network Sites
New technologies have been rapidly assimilated in contemporary society. While
this includes an array of gadgets, like cellphones, digital camera, computers and
laptops, the use of SNS is a particular phenomena that has become increasingly
popular (Joinson, 2008). SNS are used by a diverse number of people of different
ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds who have a variety of interests

resulting in hundreds of millions of users worldwide. Social Network Sites may be
defined as:

Web-based service that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or
semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of
other users with whom they share a connection , and (3)view and
traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the
system (Body & Ellison,2007)

Social Network Sites allow individuals to present themselves to other users using a
variety of formats; including text and video .Just like chat services, SNS incorporate a
list of other users with whom individuals share a connection. But unlike any other
web services, SNS allow individuals to make visible their list of connections to others
and to traverse their social networks (Body & Ellison, 2007). Hence, more than virtual
communities born online, SNS are usually online communities created and
maintained to reflect offline relationships. Popular social network sites include
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and LinkedIn. Facebook
Facebook is a social network service launched in February 2004. As of September
2015 it has 1.01 million active users (Nicholas Carlson, 2015). According to

Facebook is a popular free social networking website that allows
registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send
messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. The
site, which is available in 37 different languages, includes public
features such as:
? Marketplace – allows members to post, read and respond to classified
? Groups – allows members who have common interests to find each
other and interact.

? Events – allows members to publicize an event, invite guests and track
who plans to attend.
? Pages – allows members to create and promote a public page built
around a specific topic.
? Presence technology – allows members to see which contacts are online
and chat. Twitter
According to, Twitter is a free social networking micro-blogging
service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. Twitter
members can broadcast tweets and follow other users’ tweets by using multiple
platforms and devices. Tweets and replies to tweets can be sent by cell phone text
message, desktop client or by posting at the website. Unlike Facebook,
where users can send messages up to 1000 characters, Twitter allows users to send out
messages in short spurts of up to 140 characters per “tweet”, due to the constraints of
Twitter’s Short Message Service (SMS) delivery system. Tweets are searchable within
the Twitter site and are indexed by Google, whereas Facebook content is usually not
visible in search engine results. Users can “follow” other users or communicate by
searching for hashtags (e.g. #egypt), user-identified key words that clue readers in to
what others think is important. Twitter is based in San Francisco, but it’s used by
people in nearly every country in the world, and is available in English, French,
German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.
Twitter is an extremely personal method of communication. Users must choose whom
they follow, and thus create a unique experience that is specific to them.

Like email or the telephone, Twitter is a non-prescriptive communication platform.
Each user experiences “Twitter” differently depending on the time of day and
frequency she checks her feed, the other people she follows, and the interface(s) she
uses to access the network. Because of this flexibility, norms emerge, mutate, collide,
and fade away among Twitter users with a fluidity that may not be easily
apprehendable to a non-user . . . (Driscoll, 2010).One of the strengths of Twitter is

that it can be accessed using computers or mobile phones, making it a lightweight
method of communicating during crisis. YouTube
YouTube is a video sharing service that allows users to watch videos posted by
other users and upload videos of their own. The service was started as an independent
website in 2005 and was acquired by Google in 2006. Videos that have been uploaded
to YouTube may appear on the YouTube website and can also be posted on other
websites, though the files are hosted on the YouTube server (
YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips on
and across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and email. YouTube
changed the way people share videos because it created a simple way to share
otherwise cumbersome and large video files. Before YouTube, it was difficult to share
video with a large number of people. LinkedIn
According to, LinkedIn is a social networking site designed
specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered
members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust
professionally. Like Facebook and MySpace, LinkedIn allows user to create a custom
profile, which are business-oriented rather than personal. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn
requires connections to have a pre-existing relationship. Moreover, basic membership
for LinkedIn is free and network members are called “connections.” Flickr
Flickr describes itself as ” the best online photo management and sharing
application in the world – has two main goals:
1. We want to help people make their photos available to the people
who matter to them.
2. We want to enable new ways of organizing photos and video.”

Flickr is a photo-sharing site that allows users to share photos on
or through embedded apps on other websites. Flickr allows users to tag photos with
keywords, which creates communities around common interests or events. As of
November 2016, there are 92 million registered users. Because there are different
types of social networks, conclusions drawn from one platform cannot be easily
generalized to another platform (Hargittai, 2007). This study tackles this limitation by
focusing on Facebook only.

1.8 The History of the Social Network Site Facebook
The growth of Web 2.0 has allowed many services to be created that facilitate
collaboration in the World Wide Web. They are defined as “web-based services that
allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile … articulate a list of
other users with whom they share a connection and view and traverse their list of
connections” (Boyd/Ellison 2008). The affordances and reach of this emergent
phenomenon are increasingly attracting the attention of scholars to the study of social
networking (cf. Boyd/Ellison 2008).
In the last few years, some social networking sites have disappeared and some
others are gaining users day by day. One of the top social networking websites at the
moment is Facebook. Created in 2004 “as a cross between a tool for meeting new
people and a platform for networking with people you already know” (Baron 2008:
84), Facebook has its origins in the University of Harvard (cf. Boyd/Ellison 2008).
This website, privately owned by Facebook, Inc., was quickly transformed from a
private club within the University of Harvard to a service open to everyone in 2006.
On this social site, users create an online profile by listing personal information and
interests, link up with other users and share updates of the information posted on a
daily basis (cf. Hargittai/Hsieh 2011). Participants may use this network application to
interact with people they already know or to meet new people that are called friends,
that is, participants “who can post comments on each other’s pages, and view each
other’s profiles” (Ellison et al. 2007).
Facebook was created in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz
and Chris Hughes as a site for Harvard students only. Shortly after, it expanded to any

college student with a .edu e-mail account. Between Fall 2005 and Fall 2006,
Facebook expanded to high school networks, first, work networks, later, and,
eventually, to Internet users in general. Facebook is the second largest social network
on the web, behind only MySpace in terms of traffic. Primarily focused on high
school to college students, Facebook has been gaining market share, and more
significantly a supportive user base. Since their launch in February 2004, they’ve been
able to obtain over 8 million users in the U.S. alone and expand worldwide to 7 other
English-speaking countries, with more to follow. A growing phenomenon, let’s
discover Facebook (Sid Yadav, 2006).
Facebook penetration in the Arab world stands at 81,302,064, according to the
Arab Social Media Report, as of May 2014. Egypt alone constitutes about a quarter of
all Facebook users in the region (24%) and has gained the highest number of new
Facebook users since January 2014, with an increase of over 2.6 million users in that
time period. In 2016, there are 32,000,000 active Facebook users, the highest number
of users of any Arab state. The largest percentage of Egyptian Facebook users are
between the ages 18 and 24 years old.

Figure 1.1 Africa Internet Statistics
Figure (1.1) shows Africa Top 10 Internet Countries in June 2016. It is clearly
apparent that Egypt occupies the second place among African countries with about
34.8 internet users.

The website includes several features, such as communication through private or
public messages, a chat, online fora, photos, videos, links, a personal Wall, and News
Feed, where friends or participants can post their messages and comment on topics.
The company is constantly modifying and improving the services provided, offering
more and more online services. Like most social network sites, Facebook provides a
formatted web page into which each user can enter personal information, including
gender, birthday, hometown, political and religious views, e-mail and physical
addresses, relationship status, activities, interests, favorite music and movies,
educational background and a main personal picture. After completing their profile,
users are prompted to identify others with whom they have a relationship, either by
searching for registered users of Facebook or by requesting their contacts to join
Facebook (usually by e-mail). Once someone is accepted as a “friend,” not only the
two users? personal profile but also their entire social networks are disclosed to each
other. This allows each user to traverse networks by clicking through “friends?”
profiles. This capability is the backbone of Facebook and other SNS and what attracts
millions of users around the globe.
In addition, Facebook allows users to designate “friends.” An individual who is
invited to be a member’s Facebook friend may either accept or reject the offer, thus
providing individual control over one’s list of friends. The user can control how much
information to post and who can view this information by editing their privacy
settings. Specific groups of people (a network or friends) may be granted limited
access to specific parts of the profile. Facebook members can upload digital pictures
into virtual photo albums. A user can be “tagged” in these pictures so that his or her
name appears in the caption as a link to his or her profile. If the individual does not
want to be associated with the picture, he or she can “untag” it, thereby removing the
name and the link (though this does not remove the picture). Members are able to post
comments on photos, which appear as messages below the picture. Similarly, it is
possible to post links to videos.
Facebook offers several options for communicating with others. Users can interact
by sending private messages, similar to emailing. Members who are “friends” may
post public messages on each other’s “walls,” which are personal message boards on
their profiles. Communication may also occur in groups, which Facebook members

can create and join. Offline social interactions can be facilitated through Facebook by
creating invitations to events, or online notifications for meetings, parties, and other
gatherings. Users may also post “notes” or blog-like entries that are linked to their
profile pages.
The “headline” news in one’s Facebook account is captured by “news feed” and
“mini-feed” functions. The news feed, which appears on the user’s homepage upon
log-in, provides a list of actions that friends have recently undertaken, such as posting
on walls or changing their relationship status. In addition, each user’s personal list of
actions appears in his or her own profile as the mini-feed. A user’s mini-feed tracks
“stories” that will appear about him or her in friends’ news feeds. Users may restrict
the types of stories broadcast about them by these applications.
The most interesting characteristic of this site is that it enables a great variety of
online genres to be accessed through the same platform; these genres being both
synchronous and asynchronous. They are easily identified and can be organised and
customised in the way the user of the site desires, some services can be visible to the
whole online community and some cannot. Battner/Fiori (2009) put forward that it is
a tool that goes beyond synchronous and asynchronous technologies; as part of Web
2.0 principles, it is a participatory platform where users can add information or
modify the information already online, for example, a user can tag the pictures
uploaded by adding the names of the people or a description. Any user can create a
group and this can be open to other users, or restricted to a pre-selected community
(cf. Battner/Fiori 2009). It is also interesting to point out that the original platform
designed to keep in touch effectively with former classmates has evolved into a more
diversified online tool. Now, Facebook is used as a platform for online communities
that share interests in many fields: these being political, sportive, educational,
scientific, commercial, or entertainment, among others. The typical user spends more
than 20 minutes daily and logs on at least once a day (cf. Ellison et al. 2007).
As for the research carried out on Facebook, most scholars have analysed the use
of Facebook from a sociological or pragmatic approach identifying the sense of
community in the relationship between participants in social networking (cf. Ellison et
al. 2007; Baron 2008; Papacharissi 2011; Yus 2011). It has also been studied as a
platform to enhance learning (see for example, Blattner/Fiori 2009). In contrast, little

is known about the linguistics of this online social networking website. Literature on
the study of the linguistic aspects of the social networking website Facebook is very
scarce; the reason for this may not only be because of its novelty but also because of
the fact that it is very complex to study, as several genres are concurrent on one social
networking website. In research about the use of this site as a teaching tool,
Blattner/Fiori (2009: 24) point out that participants on the social networking website
Facebook use more colloquial language in their speech acts and the tool “exposes
learners to language varieties … that language departments and textbooks cannot
The use of Facebook in the university is more and more important: while emails
are the most popular online genre for academics and administration, students now
prefer to use social networking websites to communicate with other students; they are
Internet “natives” who make competent daily use of these services (cf. Kuteeva 2011).
Hargittai/Hsieh (2011) point out that Facebook was the most popular social
networking site in their survey carried out at the University of Illinois, Chicago,
during 2006–2007, where 79% of the students interviewed used it. Recently,
Facebook has undergone a spectacular increase in users. Facebook itself estimates that
there are 1.86 billion monthly active users and its use is increasing all over the world
(Facebook Inc. 2016). The current relevance of Facebook has raised some voices of a
possible competition between networking tools and, for example, email, however, as
Cho (2010: 1) indicates, “evidence is inconclusive as to whether social networking
services compete or facilitate email usage”.
1.9 Why Facebook?
The Facebook SNS provides a convenient environment for the development of
discourse communities with its varied participatory mechanisms. On Facebook users
create their personal profile page allowing them to list interests and activities they
share with others. They also belong to a „Network? defined primarily by the
educational institution with which they are, or have been, affiliated. Communication
with others within Facebook takes place via a range of tools including email,
discussion boards, uploaded videos and picture galleries that include a space for
comments and a „wall? in which users can exchange messages with nominated
friends. Other popular features include status updates, „poking? friends (an ambiguous

tool but one of the many phatic uses of Facebook) and gift?giving (fish, flowers etc.).
Facebook users can also set up their own groups which they make public or else invite
others to join, thereby creating highly fluid and open ?community? spaces for learning.
Facebook is currently the platform for various discourse communities; it is not the
space for a single monolithic one. To date, thousands of groups exist with a range of
common interests and discoursal expectations or norms.

Moreover, Facebook is a good environment for undergraduates to express their
interests in all fields of life. According to Stutzman (2005), undergraduates use
Facebook to „hang out?, to shoot the breeze, waste time, to learn about each other or
simply as a directory. Students often use Facebook as a means of managing their
social lives; staying in touch, organising nights out and the like. However, Guy
Merchant?s writing on the culture of SNS, influenced by sociologists like Anthony
Giddens and Zygmunt Bauman, has drawn attention to the use of sites such as
Facebook to produce and perform “an ongoing narrative of the self” (2006, p.238).
So, Facebook pages and communications are as much about the construction of a
dynamic story of the self as that self interacts with various social contexts as they are
about arranging going out clubbing. Hugh Liu?s work is an interesting addition to this
line of inquiry and highlights the role of SNS profile pages as the location for „taste
performances? (2008) that define and distinguish social identity.

Neil Selwyn?s study of undergraduate uses of Facebook deploys its extensive data
to argue that undergraduates use Facebook for particular forms of identity
performances at variance with „official? academic identities:

On Facebook students could rehearse and explore resistance to the
academic „role set? of being an undergraduate (Merton 1957) – i.e. the
expected and „appropriate? behaviours towards their subject disciplines,
teachers and university authorities. Students who were facing
conflicting demands in their roles as socialites, minimum-wage earners
and scholars could use Facebook as an arena for developing a
disruptive, challenging, dismissive and/or unruly academic identities.
Thus Facebook was acting as a ready space for resistance and the
contestation of the asymmetrical power relationship built into the

established offline positions of university, student and lecturer
(Bourdieu and Passeron 1977). This was perhaps most clearly evident
in the playful and often ironic rejection of dominant university
discourses throughout the posts, with the students certainly not
conforming to the passive and silenced undergraduate roles of the
seminar room or lecture theatre. (2007)

Facebook is especially interesting due to its widespread use and the importance it is
gaining in everyday life. Hence, Facebook SNS creates a suitable environment for
undergraduates to share different interests, experiences, information, or social issues.

1.10 Facebook Chatting
This is a means of engaging in online conversation through the networked
computers, dedicated applications on mobile phones or pc tablets via the Facebook
social networking website. Individuals who have online access to Facebook websites
interact with the other subscribers by sending text messages to each other. This
process could be synchronous or asynchronous depending on the timeframe taken to
respond to a particular text message.
In Facebook chatting, the users see a list of their friends who are online and thus
potentially ready to chat at the moment. At the start of the conversation, an animated
icon appears on the screen to inform the partner about the keyboard activity of the
other partners (Jucker and Durcheid, 2012).

1.11 The Internet and the Language of Facebook Chatting
Facebook chatting is a synchronous communication in which individuals interact
in one-to-one conversation. It is a form of instant messaging situation that allows
individuals to engage in online „talking?. The spontaneous nature of facebook chatting
presents some constraints to the chatters by the nature of the hardware needed to
access the Internet and also the short timeframe taken to respond to conversation
(Crystal, 2008). Consequently, this generates distinctive linguistic features which are
referred to as „written speech?.

Cvjecovic (2010) observes that, in online chatting, people write differently from
the way they would in ideal context. This is to establish that the linguistic features of
facebook chatting are distinctive from the conventional writing form. Crystal (2008)
opines that in online chatting, we are actually involved in talking. In corroborating
this, Cvjecovic further explains that the nature of the language variety in Internet
chatting could be attributed to time factor in passing the message across in real-time
engagement which is often simultaneous. Therefore to adapt the language to the
context of real-time online communication, it is simplified, compressed, shortened
and conditioned to fit into the communication situation. Syntactically, the clauses are
usually fragmented and abbreviated, usually involving ellipsis of the pronominal
items at the subject position. The linguistic features displayed by the language of the
online chatters are unique and restricted to the online context (Jucker and Durscheid,
2012). For example: the following online conversation between speakers „A? and „B?
as written bellow demonstrates the structural characteristics of facebook chatting.

A: IKR !! It was our pleasure broo. Btw couldn’t find ur name on
fb to tag u idk why..!
B: Miss u too bro hope all’s going well at beirut 1

The example above displays the nature of the language of facebook chatting as it is
juxtaposed with the conventional structures.

1.12 Facebook Chatting and Egyptian Young People
Facebook is one of the social networking websites that emerged in the world of
electronic communication in the year 2004. It has the unique characteristic of
combining virtually all the Internet communication situations which are recognized by
Crystal (2008), that is, e-mail, chatgroups, blogging, virtual worlds, instant
messaging, etc. This observation posits that facebook combines both synchronous and
asynchronous communication situations. The use of Internet medium for
communication grew rapidly in Egypt as a result of the development in the
information communication technology (ICT) in the country. According to
Wikipedia, Egypt’s Internet penetration rate grew from less than one percent in 2000,

to 5% in 2004, 24% in 2009, and 54.6% in 2014. Consequently, the emergence of
internet in Egypt could be traced to the year 2000.

Since then, telecommunication companies followed a wider strategy to dominate
Egypt?s internet market by providing both internet service and content to customers.
Hence, this rapid development facilitated the utility of computer-mediated
communication among the Egyptian youths. Due to the cheap and versatile nature of
facebook, together with its ability and versatility to connect people around the globe,
it is widely accepted and popular, mostly, among youths. The technology of facebook
gives individuals the opportunity to connect, interact, and share photos and videos
with their love ones across the world, even if they are widely separated

The emergence of Facebook social networking websites in the country creates a
fascinating platform for the youths to explore the Internet resource in order to reach
out to the world through the networked computers or dedicated applications on smart
phones, pc tablets, etc. Through Facebook, users could build up their own personal
space, exchange messages, and participate in any online social group (Goertler, 2009).
Therefore, this makes Facebook website the most highly accessed social networking
in Egypt.

Chapter Two

2.1 Computer Mediated Communication Definition
Computer-mediated communication refers to communications that occur via
computer formats .Hiltz and Turoff are the first who introduced the term CMC in their
study of computer conferencing. The communication occurs via synchronous modes
such as live chatting, teleconferencing or asynchronous modes (such as emailing,
discussing on the listserv) via the computer terminals. CMC has widely spread
throughout the world because of the technological development of computers.

Naomi S. Baron introduces the notion of CMC as following:
“Computer mediated communication (CMC) is loosely defined as any
natural language messaging that is transmitted and/or received via a
computer connection. (…) However, the term can also be applied to other
written venues that employ computer-based technology to send messages
across a distance, including both email and computer conferencing done
through in-house intranet systems and contemporary short text messaging
(SMS), which is normally transmitted through mobile phone
connections” (Baron, 2003, p. 10)

According to Herring (1996, p. 1), computer-mediated communication is
“communication that takes place between human beings via the instrumentality of
computers. The study of computer-mediated discourse (henceforth CMD) is a
specialization within the broader interdisciplinary study of computer-mediated
communication (CMC), distinguished by its focus on language and language use in
computer networked environments, and by its use of methods of discourse analysis to
address that focus”. Later on, December (1997) gives a more refined definition of
CMC: ” Computer-Mediated Communication is a process of human communication
via computers, involving people, situated in particular contexts, engaging in process
to shape media for a variety of purposes”.

Computer mediated communications (CMC) encompass all forms of
communication transmitted between two or more people via computer networks.

CMC applications are many and ever expanding with significant consequences for
organizations (Cameron et al. 2005). In a very broad sense, CMC systems include
those providing e-mail, text chat and instant messaging, group decision support/group
support, bulletin boards, listservs, virtual workspaces, online conferencing, massively
multi-player online games (MMOs), weblogs (blogs), wikis, and the exchange of RSS
(web feeds).CMC systems may support communications that are synchronous or
asynchronous; sequential or parallel; anonymous or identified; ephemeral (not
recorded) or persistent (recorded); rehearsable (allowing review and editing of a draft
message before sending) or instant; dyadic, one-to-many, or many-to-many. They can
reach around the world and be used by those in the same room.

Crystal (2001, p.3) stated that the efficacy of computer mediated communication is
obvious as it enables people to communicate across temporal, special barriers, and
makes interaction between people continuous and unbiased. One of the most overt
examples of the move away from a technological focus in definitions describes it
thus:”CMC, of course, is not just a tool; it is at once technology, medium, and engine
of social relations. It is not only structures social relations, it is the space within which
the relations occur and the enter that space” (Jones, 1995).Wood & Smith (2005, p.4)
state that “the field of CMC studies how human behaviors are maintained or altered
by the exchange of information through machines.

Bodomo suggests a more recent definition:
CMC is defined as the coding and decoding of linguistic and other
symbolic Systems between sender and receiver for information
processing in multiple Formats through the medium of the computer
and allied technologies…and through media like the internet ,email
,chat systems, text messaging, YouTube , Skype, and many more to be
invented. As is seen, the term computer itself is no longer limited to
desktop and laptop devices but generalizes onto smaller but even more
powerful gadgets like palmtops, mobile phones…all with internet
connectivity. (2010, p.6)

Some other definitions of CMC consider it as a subject area within academia. To
make this clear, Bubas (2001) defines CMC as an interdisciplinary field that analyses
various phenomena that arise from the use of the internet for human communication.
Bodomo (2010),defines CMC as ” an amazingly multi- and inter-disciplinary subject
area that spans fields as diverse as computer science, information technology,
communication studies, linguistics , literacy, education, business, ethics, and
law”(p.x). Fitzpatrick and Donnelly (2010) define CMC as ” predominantly text-based
human-human interaction mediated by networked computers or mobile telephony,
which includes, email, asynchronous discussion boards, blogs and wikis. Whilst many
tools available to education today may be used in CMC, such as social networking,
bookmarking sites, and twitter to name a few, the evolution of the technology seems
to be mixed (p.4).

Hence from all the definitions that are stated, CMC encompasses the application
and impacts of computer and digital technologies; however, in practice CMC is
usually concerned more specifically with human interpersonal communication on,
through and about the internet and web.

2.2 Types of CMC
Today, reaching out and communicating with someone via computer can be
applied through different ways. For instance, people can communicate with one
another using an e-mail, a post on the wall, a text message, a video chat, or even send
a video message. Therefore, as there are several types of Computer-mediated
Communication, Baron classifies the major types of CMC depending on two
important distinctions: dialogue or monologue and synchronicity (i.e., factor of time
in which communication takes place) (Baron, 2008, pp.12-19):
Figure (2.1) Types of CMC
Types of Computer-mediated
One-to-one Dialogue
Email Instant
Messaging SMS
One-to-many Dialogue
Listserves Newsgroups Muds and
Moos Chat

2.2.1 One-to-One Dialogue

? Email
Email (“electronic mail”) is an asynchronous form of CMC, prototypically
between a single sender and single recipient. However, contemporary email systems
permit multiple recipients, along with forwarding of a message one has received to
third parties.

? Instant messaging
Instant messaging (IM) is a synchronous form of CMC that, like email, is
prototypically utilized between a single sender and a single recipient. Given the
synchronous nature of the communication, IM messages tend to be quite short and
even more casual than email.

The abbreviation “SMS” formally stands for “short messaging system”, though it
is generally interpreted as meaning “short text messaging”. SMS is used on mobile
telephones throughout much of the world, though market penetration in the United
States still remains small by comparison. Messages are generally created by tapping
the numbers of the phone keypad one or more times, corresponding to the letter of the
Roman alphabet that is intended. Thus, for example, “U” (a common SMS
abbreviation for the word “you”) would be generated on the phone?s display screen by
tapping the number “8” twice rapidly in succession, since the “8” key historically also
bears the letters “T”, “U”, and “V.

2.2.2 One-to-Many Dialogue

? Listservs
Listservs (also sometimes known as mailing lists or distribution lists) are
asynchronous, text-based communication sent by a single user to multiple email
addresses. In its simplest form, a listserv provides a forum for a single individual to
send a message (e.g., announcement of a meeting) to two or more recipients.
Frequently, however, postings are made by multiple members of the mailing list,
thereby providing an electronic forum for discussion. Today, listservs are commonly

used by professional organizations, academic classrooms, or groups sharing common
interests, enabling individual members to voice opinions or raise questions. Lists may
be unmoderated (postings are automatically distributed without review by anyone) or
moderated (someone collects messages received over a short period of time and edits
them in some way before posting – e.g., summarizing the topics, summarizing the
contents of the posts, or censoring objectionable material).

? Newsgroups
Newsgroups are public forums for asynchronous one-to-many dialogue that
originally were designed to be accessed through USENET (a non-governmental
network developed in 1979 at the University of North Carolina). Unlike listservs,
which send messages directly to all users on a distribution list, newsgroups constitute
postings to a common public site, which can be accessed whenever users choose to
log on.
The network of different newsgroups is vast. Tens of thousands of available
newsgroups represent seemingly every topic imaginable, from sex to antique cars to
medicine. Because newsgroups are written, publicly posted, and archived, they invite
textual analysis. However, unlike listservs, newsgroups are neither moderated nor
restricted in membership. As a result, the language appearing in posts can vary
enormously, both in style and propriety.

? MUDs and MOOs
MUDs (originally meaning Multi-User Dungeons; now commonly interpreted to
mean Multi-User Dimensions) are synchronous environments in which multiple
players interact with one another in a textually-created imaginary setting. Unlike
newsgroups (which talk about the world that is, using asynchronous posts), MUDs
allow a comparatively restricted set of users to synchronously act on situations of
their own construction. Players assume pseudonyms and interact according to pre-
established navigation rules for moving through a defined terrain. Unlike MUDs built
on adventure themes, MOOs commonly define the virtual space of a real-world
location (e.g., a university campus, a house), inviting participants to speak and act
within particular zones (e.g., a room, a walkway). Contemporary MOOs are being
employed in social and educational contexts. Use of non-textual material (e.g.,
graphics, sound) is also now appearing in MUDs and MOOs.

? Chat
Chat is a synchronous CMC venue for holding conversations with multiple
participants. As in the case of newsgroups, participants in chat enter into a “channel”
(for IRC) or “room” (for AOL), ostensibly dedicated to a particular topic. However,
with chat, not only is the medium synchronous but it invites both playful and
manipulative behavior. Users log on through nicknames (akin to participation in
MUDs), free to camouflage their real-world personal characteristics (age, gender,
background, etc.). While conversation takes place in real time, users can (as in the
case of newsgroups) scroll back through the archive to respond to earlier

Like listservs, newsgroups, and MUDs or MOOs, chat generates a quasi-public
linguistic record that can subsequently be analyzed. However, given the nature of the
conversation in chat, it is primarily linguists and Internet researchers who are
interested in analyzing such text, not organizations or commercial ventures.

2.2.3 Web Sites
? Web pages
Web pages (individual, institutional, or commercial) form the backbone of the
World Wide Web. Such pages became possible in the early 1990s when Tim Berners-
Lee introduced the notion of what came to be known as a URL (Uniform Record
Locator), whereby every Web page could be located by a unique address. Today,
there are billions of Web pages, with the number continuing to grow seemingly

? Web logs
Web logs are actually Web pages that serve a restricted, though loosely defined set
of functions. Initially, Web logs were designed as lists of Web sites that the blogger
found to be of interest and wished to share with others (i.e., via the blogger?s own
Web site). Sometimes Web logs of this genre simply provide a set of headlines that
the compiler has put together (with frequent updates). Other topic-oriented Web logs
offer brief news summaries or discuss contemporary topics of interest to the blogger
and/or readers who have responded by email to earlier “issues” of the Web log.

Use of Web logs has expanded from the link-and-commentary mode to include
more personal journals or diaries. Such Web logs may be devoted to posting one?s
creative writing (sometimes with requests for commentary from readers) or even quite
personal revelations about one?s daily life and thoughts, perhaps complete with live
video from a Web camera. Given the popularization of Web logs, it is hardly
surprising that a number of software programs have appeared that enable novice users
to create and maintain their own Web logs.

2.3 Communication situations
A close investigation of types of CMC shows that they are classified according to
life situations. In real life, some situations require more formal language than others.
Thus, according to Crystal there are seven different situations that are useful to
distinguish for someone interested in internet linguistics (Crystal, 2006, pp. 11-15):
? ?Electronic mail (e-mail)
E-mail is today mostly referring to a message sent from one private inbox to
another. The writer can send the e-mail to whatever e-mail address he wants, and only
the recipient or recipients can read it.

? Chatgroups
Chatgroups are discussions that take place in particular “rooms”. The chatgroups
will often be organized around topics that are discussed by those present in the room.
This situation can be divided into two subcategories, depending on whether the
discussion is in real time (synchronous) or in postponed time (asynchronous). In a
synchronous situation the user enters a room and joins a discussion between other
users who are online and present in the room at that very time. In an asynchronous
situation users can read posts written by others at an earlier stage, and one cannot
expect an immediate response, something which is necessary in a synchronous
discussion where everything written is usually lost as it is being pushed out of the
screen by newer text.

? Virtual worlds

A virtual world is an imaginary world where users enter the role of a fantasy
character. This type of communication differs from the already mentioned situation in
that the users are not talking about real topics, but the characters, events and
environments of the virtual world (Crystal, 2006, p. 178)
? World Wide Web (WWW)
The World Wide Web consists of all computers linked to the Internet which
contain documents written in the HyperText Transfer Protocol, HTTP. A web browser
is needed in order to view these documents in a readable format.
? Instant messaging
Instant messaging (IM) allows for people who know each other to communicate
synchronously in private. This differs from e-mails where the messaging is
asynchronous and from chatgroups where the involved users may not know each

? ?Blogging
Blog is short for weblog. A blog is a website where the owner or owners can
write about whatever he or she wants. Many are personal diaries, others might
write on a certain topic. If the owner enables the possibility of readers to
comment, discussions may arise. One thing they all have in common is that they
are unmediated. No editor is there to correct or approve the text; the owner gets
the last word.

These seven situations – synchronous and asynchronous chatgroups are counted as
two – are not entirely mutually exclusive. One can find several of them combined, or
one situation used within another (Crystal, 2006, p. 15). While the social network
website Facebook is accessed through the World Wide Web, several of the other
situations are available within the Facebook platform.

2.4 Modes of Computer -Mediated Communication (CMC)
As previously mentioned that Computer-mediated Communication has various
types included email, instant messaging, SMS, listservs, news groups, MUD and
MOOs, chat, web pages, and web logs, however, these sorts can be classified

according to four dimensions and distinctions: synchronicity, textuality , audience,
and message transmission.

2.4.1 Synchronicity:
This term refers to the time of conversation in which communication happens
between communicators. According to synchronicity, Computer-mediated
Communication can be categorized into two main modes: Synchronous CMC (SCMC):
In synchronous CMC, communication takes place in a real-time. This means
that communicators send and receive messages immediately while they are chatting
the same as in spoken language. In this context, Participants in SCMC environment
post typed messages which appear on the computer screen; and they can scroll back
and forth to review previously sent stretches of the discourse text. SCMC discussion
involves users exchanging opinions in real time format via chat rooms, instant
messengers, or video conferencing. Asynchronous CMC (ASCMC):
In asynchronous CMC, communication takes place in a delayed-time. This
means that interaction does not need to be simultaneous as ACMC mode allows
communicators more time to read, understand, reflect and respond to the posted
written messages. Furthermore, it does not require participants to be online and
available at the same time. They can store the incoming messages so the messages are
therefore composed off-line, giving the sender the time to think while composing
messages, rewrite, or revise those messages.In this regard Crystal shows that in
ACMC, ” interaction are stored in some format, and are made available to users upon
demand, so that they can catch up with the discussion, or add to it, at any time –even
after an appreciable period has passed” (2002:11). Examples of asynchronous CMC
include different forms such as World Wide Web (WWW), e-mail, web blog,
newsgroups, and postings in bulletin board system.

Still, this binary division is not absolute. In this regard, Baron (2008) avers that
SCMC and ASCMC are not polar opposites and therefore should not be treated as a
dichotomy, but rather as a continuum ranging from the highly synchronous to the

highly asynchronous. To him, synchronicity should be highly treated as attribute of
the conversation, not of the medium. For example, text messages are traditionally
classified as being asynchronous, one-to –one communication. Yet, one who receives
a text messages can respond immediately (synchronously), or he/she can forward it to
many of his/ or her acquaintances (one-to-many or many –to-many).

2.4.2 Textuality:
Textuality refers to another widely-accepted classification of CMC which is
whether communication is text-based or audio/video-based. In this regard, CMC can
be classified into: Text-based CMC:
Text –based computer-mediated communication refers to the different formats of
CMC in which communication occurs through a text. This indicates that video or
audio are not available and participants use text for communication. Examples of the
most common text-based computer-mediated communication modes are represented
in e-mail, IM, listserv, newsgroups, blogs, chat, MUDs and MOOs. Non text-based CMC:
Non-text based computer-mediated communication refers to modes of CMC in
which communication takes place through audio and video. Examples of non-text
based CMC modes are audio and video conferencing, audio boards, and YouTube.
2.4.3 Audience:
Audience refers to the number of interlocutors during communication. With
respect to audience, CMC can be classified into: One-to-one:
One-to-one computer-mediated communication refers to this sort of
communication that is directed to an individual participant. Examples of one-to-one
CMC mode include SCMC such as IM (Instant Messaging) and ASCMC such as e-
mail and texting. One-to- many:
One-to-many computer-mediated communication refers to this type of
communication that is directed to a lot of participants. Examples of one-to-many

CMC mode include SCMC such as video/audio conferencing, MUDs, MOOs, and
chat as well as ACMC such as Facebook, YouTube, newsgroups, listservs, and blogs.

2.4.4 Message Transmission:
It can be classified into: One-way transmission:
One-way transmission involves sending whole messages, and not as one
keystroke at a time, when the addresser passes ‘send’ or ‘return’. Subsequently, the
addressee responds once the complete message has been received. This includes
asynchronous protocols such as e-mail, Usenet, newsgroups, listserv discussion
groups, as well as synchronous such as IRC and MUDs (Multi-User Dimensions)
(Georgakopoulou, 2006). Two-way Transmission:
Two-way transmission system involves sending the message not as a whole so
as the recipient can see and read the message letter by letter at the time of typing. This
includes asynchronous types such as SMS (in case of long messages) and
synchronous such as Unix ‘ talk’ and VAX ‘phone’.

2.5 Common Linguistic Features of CMC:
In CMC, various linguistic features have emerged and affected the internet
community. Some of these features are still very common e.g., emoticons, acronyms,
capitalization, and abbreviations while other features are less-known and still limited
to special group of interlocutors. Adding to that, it is not necessary that
communicators use all the available features of CMC, consequently it depends on the
situation or the circumstances of the chatting between the sender and the recipient as
well as their relationship. This means that interaction among participants might differ
from one person to another. In this regard, Greiffenstern (2010) explains that ”the
choice of features of CMC depends on the person who uses CMC, on the mode of
CMC, on the communicative goal, on the relationship of the interlocutors and other
situational factors, e.g., time pressure”.

According to Baron (2008), two linguistic features of CMC have emerged from the
assumptions about the conversational nature of CMC and the inadequacy of writing to

express conversational intent. The first feature is emoticons (also sometimes known as
smileys). He shows that emoticons are constructed by combining punctuation marks
(sometimes along with characters or numerals) on the computer keyboard to represent
emotions or semantic nuances such as happiness, sadness, or qualification. The
second linguistic features deriving from the conversational nature of CMC is the
phenomenon known as flaming– that is, use of rude or profane language.

Since emoticons enhance the quality of interaction, most of interlocutors use these
facial expressions in order to enhance the non-verbal aspect of their online
communication. As Jovanovic (2013) demonstrates, the written online communication
is deprived of the body language and voice, so in order to compensate this lack,
emoticons , as a computer specific genre of signs , are used to show mental and
physical reaction of non-verbal communication expressed through facial expressions ,
eye movements and gestures. Emoticons imply the attitude or state of mind of a
person. The most commonly used emoticons are those that represent happiness,
sadness, laughing, winking, exciting, shouting, wondering, fear, and surprise.

Table 2.1 Examples of common emoticons or smileys
Available at

Abbreviations and acronyms are another important feature of CMC which are
using the initial letters of two or more successive words, instead of the whole word/
statement, forming a new word. According to Segerstad (2002) ” abbreviations are

written forms of words, typically formed using initial letters, words are pronounced in
full form when read out while acronyms are word forms that made up from the initial
(in some cases the first two or even three) letters in a sequence of words. ”
Abbreviations and acronyms had been used in the written language before the
appearance of emoticons in CMC. Their common function was to save energy or
space. Baron (2001) refers to their existence and the reason of their use in the
medieval times: “In the case of medieval manuscripts, for example, use of
abbreviations allowed additional words to be inscribed on a single page, reducing the
number of animal skins needed to produce a book.” He clarifies that in the case of
CMC, saving time and energy is often a motivation when writing chat, IM, or SMS
messages. There are abbreviations which are distinctive to CMC and others which are

Table 2.2 Examples of common CMC abbreviations and acronyms
ASAP As soon As Possible OMG Oh My God
BTW By The Way STFU Shut The *Freak* Up
FYI For Your Information LMK Let Me Know
FWIW For What It’s Worth ILY I Love You
IMO In My Opinion IKR I Know, Right
LOL Laugh Out Loud GTG Got To Go
ROTFL Rolling In The Floor Laughing OFC Of Course
The huge list of abbreviations and acronyms available at
Abbreviation is also called clipping which means that a new word is formed by the
deletion of front part, final part, or both of front and final with only the middle part
left. According to Ruan 2012, there are several common types of clipping in chatting
language online.
1. Front clipping: the deletion occurs at the beginning of the word.
u—-you ur——your k——ok n——-in
2. Middle clipping: the deletion occurs in the middle of the word.
ft: faint b/c: because r: are wat: what
3. End clipping: the deletion ocuurs at the end of the word.
b: be g: gee g: grin s: smile

4. Middle and end clipping: the deletion occurs in the middle and at the end of
the word.
Furthermore, with the increasing popularity of using acronyms, appeared a range
of acronyms-synonyms which can be used at the same situations and constructed by
either letters only, or by letters and numerals:
cul see you later idk I don’t know
cul8r see you later dk don’t know
jk just kidding ta4n that’s all for now
hhok ha ha only kidding tafn that’s all for now
The acronyms are no longer restricted to words or short phrases, and can be
sentence-length: aysos(Are you stupid or something?), cid(Consider it done),
cio(Check it out), gtg(Got to go), wdys(What did you say?). Individual words can be
reduced to two or three letters: pls(please), thx or tx(„thanks?),
we („whatever?).Sometimes sentences restricted acronyms would be like rebuses, “in
that the sound value of the letter or numeral acts as a syllable of a word, or are
combinations of rebus and letter initial: b4n (Bye for now), cyl(See you later),
l8r (later)” (Crystal, 2001, p. 86).
Another feature of CMC is the reduced use of capitalization which is commonly
used in several modes of CMC where sentences can be produced without capital
letters marking the beginning of the sentences or proper names .Most of the internet is
not case sensitive, which thus motivates the random use of capitals or no capitals at
all. There is a strong tendency to use lower-case everywhere. The ”save a key stroke”
principle is widely found in e-mail, chat groups and virtual worlds, where whole
sentences can be produced without capitals or punctuation (Crystal, 2001, p. 82).
Furthermore, since use of this CMC feature is a strongly marked form of
communication, new uses and function of capitalization emerged in CMC. Messages
wholly in capitals are considered to be ‘shouting’, and usually avoided words in
capitals add extra emphasis (with asterisks and spacing also) (Crystal, 2001, p. 87).

Absent punctuation or even the unusual use of punctuation marks is also
distinctive in CMC. Punctuation in CMC widely differs from person to person. Some
internet users may not use punctuation at all while the others are adherent to the
correct use of punctuation as well as others deliberately use extensive punctuation.
Crystal highlights that this depends on personality: some e-mailers are scrupulous
about remaining the traditional punctuation; others use it when they have to in order
to avoid ambiguity; others don?t use it at all, either as a result of typing speed, or
through not realizing that ambiguity can be one of the consequences (2001). The
punctuation in CMC plays a vital role in conveying the conversational sense:
“exclamation points are used more often in e-mail than in other kinds of writing;
tailing dots signal that more is coming or at least that the topic is still open, dashes
represent that less clearly defined-sentence endings that are often the norm in
conversation, parentheses enclose conversational aside”(Maynor, 1994, p. 50). In
CMC, there is a strong tendency to unusual combination of punctuation marks such as
repeated comas (,,,,,,,,), repeated dots(……..),or even overuse of exclamation marks.
As Crystal states that some odd combinations of punctuation can appear at the end of
a sentence: Is this true of Yahoo!?(where exclamation mark is a part of the name)

Non-standard spellings and sometimes the phonetic spellings, which reflect
pronunciation, can indicate the manner of saying the massage and at the same time it
can give the message in CMC a spoken tone:
E-style, however, is more direct-closer to the methods used in speech. As for the
implied spelling, obviously phonetic spelling is more like speech. Since ”night”
has three phonemes, why brother with five letters? And since people say ”gotta”
and ”gonna”, why not represent that pronunciation in e-mail? ”Hmmm” is often
spelled out in e-mail to indicate thinking in progress, as a substitute for ”spoken
”hmmm” or a gesture like scratching the head. Some of these features are not
unique to e-style, of course. They are sometimes used in chatting tabloids or
informal letters. (Maynor, 1994, p. 50).

Regarding the features of CMC, it can be said that they are not recently discovered
as they are often described. Their frequency and their combination may be new but
their creation often follows already existing patterns. (Greiffenstern, 2010).

2.6 CMC between Spoken and Written Language
Nowadays communications has become much easier than before as a result of the
rapid growing of the internet. Computer-mediated communication can be seen in our
daily businesses and this can be happened between persons while they communicating
with each other without even typing a single word. This fact raises the question
whether language used while chatting on CMC is spoken or written language.

Before going deeper into the previous question, it can be beneficial to give some
definitions of spoken and written language. Reviewing literature , Vachek ( 1976)
provided two different definitions:

The spoken norm of language is a system of phonically manifestable language
elements whose function is to react to a given stimulus (which, as a rule, is an
urgent one) in a dynamic way, i.e., in a ready and immediate manner, duly
expressing not only the purely communicative but also the emotional aspect of
the approach of the reacting language user.
The written norm of language is a system of graphically manifestable language
elements whose function is to react to a given stimulus (which, as a rule, is not an
urgent one), in a static way, i.e., in a preservable and easily surveyable manner,
concentrating particularly on the purely communicative aspect of the approach of
the reacting language user (p.414).

Allwood (2000) defined spoken interaction as means of communication that is
multimodal, speaker use several channels to send information through. Both
acoustical and optical signals can be utilized. Writing in contrast as cited in Segerstad
(2002) is, by nature a monomodal mode of communication, communicators send
information through a single channel, or medium (p.43).

Crystal (2001) gives a more refined definition of speech and writing: “speech is
time-bound, dynamic, transient. It is a part of an interaction in which both participants
are usually present. There is no time-lag between production and reception, while
writing is space-bound, static, permanent. It is the result of the situation in which the

writer is usually distant from the reader, and often does not know who the reader is
going to be. There is always a time –lag between production and reception “.

Comparing spoken and written language, most of linguists agreed that there are no
straightforward differences between both. (Halliday, 1985) clarifies that “both are
manifestation of the same system. ”The two are both language; and language is more
important than either. It is a mistake to become too much obsessed with the medium.”
In this respect, Halliday explains that spoken language is as highly organized as
written. (Cook ,1997) argues the general differences between both can be found in the
actual physical medium, the memory system, and the function for which they are
used. The differences are not clear-cut and they are overall brilliant in the way of
expression such as produced sound and optical signs.

However, in comparing spoken and written languages, there are obvious
differences as (Baron,2010) points out that “writing tends to consist of longer
sentences and is more structurally complex than speech, while speech contains more
one-word sentences, a narrower lexicon and more slang , to mention some” (p.47). As
a matter of fact , one has to keep in mind that writing is an academic and formal
language which has ” a larger proportion of nominalizations , genitive subjects and
objects ,participles , attributive adjectives , conjoined phrases , series , sequences of
prepositional phrases , complement clauses , and relative clauses” ( Chafe,1982
:p.44). According to (Greiffenstern, 2010), written language is more formal ,
academic , planned , and associated with the language of books while oral language is
often used for other purposes than writing , for example interpersonal communication
that demands face-to-face conversations acre a neighborhood yard , a proposal of
marriage , a board meeting , a prayer meeting , a medical report to a patient , or a
legal proceeding .

This fact appears clearly in the “greater amount of time available in writing, and
that the speakers are less likely to use them because of the faster pace of spoken
language” (Chafe, 1982: P.45). Consequently, the factor of time is an essential part of
conversation which includes two participants speaker and listener. In this context,
Segerstad (2002) asserts that spoken interaction is constrained by the pressure of time:
the speaker must produce his or her utterances quickly and readily and the listener

must respond just as rapidly, under the pressure of the emotive and social atmosphere
of face-to face communication (p. 41).

In an informal society like Facebook chatting between friend or colleagues, the
relation of CMC with speech and writing language has attracted attention of
linguistics in several studies. In his study, (Georgakopoulou, 2006) recognized CMC
as combining qualities that are typically associated with face-to face interaction and
with written language. Face-to-face interaction, in his view, represents immediacy and
informality of style, transience of message, reduced planning and editing, rapid
feedback while properties of written language are represented in the lack of visual and
paralinguistic cues, physical absence of the addressee, written mode of delivery, etc.
This means that CMC shows features that are found in both spoken and written

In another study, (Greiffenstern, 2010) argues that the situation in which CMC is
produced differ from those of written and spoken communication. It depends on the
communicative situation to decide the appropriate mode of communication i.e. when
interlocutors are at the same place at the same time; speech is the appropriate way of
communication while in written communication these visual clues have to be replaced
by something else. She summarizes that CMC is produced in a number of situations
and it cannot be assigned to one of the two categories. (Baron ,1984) explains “since
writing itself is increasingly affected by speeches we should not be surprised to find
spoken language conventions imposing themselves as well on computer mediated
communication “.

To sum this up, (Baron, 2003) asserts that CMC incorporates features form both
traditional writing and face-to-face interaction rather than being a simple amalgam of
the two. Now, it becomes brilliant that CMC is a hybrid register which make use of
both spoken and written language not only one of the two categories. It is a new
variety of communication which combines characteristics of several kinds of

2.7 Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis:
Reviewing literature about ‘Discourse’ and ‘Discourse Analysis’, it can be realized
that ‘Discourse’ is a mysterious term to be explained and that both have different
meanings to scholars in different fields. According to Wikipedia, the term discourse
which indicates written and spoken communication; ‘is a conceptualization of
conversation within each modality and context of communication’. In a similar vein,
Oxforddictionary provides a homogeneous meaning that discourse ‘represents a
connected series of utterances; a text and conversation’. In definition of discourse,
Schiffrin (2001) observes that there are three main categories of discourse definition:
‘(1) anything beyond the sentence, (2) language use, and (3) a broader range of social
practice that includes nonlinguistic and nonspecific instances of language’ (p.1).

To sum this up, Foucault (2000) presents probably the most often used definition.
He defines discourse as,’ not just a language of individual communication (regarding
it as a sample), but the larger system of thought within a particular historical location
that make certain things thinkable and sayble, and regulating who can say them. In his
view, discourse is a kind of larger themes, ideas, images, and understanding that
precede any actual language use. In fact, discourse is not only a matter of language,
but it is also about the person who speaks it, this is because, through discourse one is
able to identify the social class, gender, ideology and ethnicity of the speaker. This is
in accordance with Nagm (2015) who cogently argues that: ‘discourse is a two-way
process, an interactive phenomenon, and a verbal combat, some type of verbal
struggle’. In his research, he regards discourse as ‘a dyadic interactive process between
two interlocutors’.

As mentioned above, discourse is language beyond the sentence. Consequently,
(Tannen, 2010) points out that Discourse analysis is defined as the analysis of language
‘beyond the sentence’. This contrasts with types of analysis more typical of modern
linguistics, which are chiefly concerned with the study of grammar: the study of
smaller bits of language, such as sounds (phonetics and phonology), parts of words
(morphology), meaning (semantics), and the order of words in sentences (syntax).
Discourse analysts study larger chunks of language as they flow together.
According to Al Tohami (2012) discourse analysis is’ a broad and complex
interdisciplinary field including diverse theoretical and methodological approaches all

of which shares a commitment to studying language in context. It studies practices of
producing knowledge and meaning in concrete context’. That is, language is no longer
shaped by human being; it is shaped by digits and software. Since discourse analysis
has been described as an interdisciplinary study of discourse within linguistics, this
reveals the fact that the used theoretical perspectives and approaches in discourse
analysis include applied linguistics, conversation analysis, pragmatics, rhetoric,
stylistics, and text linguistics. In this concern, Kunc (2008) refers that ‘discourse
analysis encompasses all the areas of linguistics discipline such as phonetics,
phonology, lexicology, syntax, grammar, and pragmatics’ (p.8).

With the speed growth of internet and technologies, new internet linguistics
emerged, thereby enlarging the field of discourse and producing what is now known
by computer-mediated discourse (CMD). “The communication produced when human
beings interact with one another by transmitting message via networked computers
henceforth, it is a specialization within the broader interdisciplinary study of
computer-mediated communication (CMC), distinguished by its focus on language
use in computer networked environments, and by its use of methods of discourse
analysis to address that focus”(Herring, 2001: 612). Most of the research work
conducted on CMD generally agreed that it carries features of spoken and written
language or even as a blend of speaking and writing, “writing that reads like
conversation” (Davis & Brewer 1996, cited in Al Tohami, 2012). Furthermore,
Herring (2001) regards CMD as a distinct type of discourse since: “CMD exchanges
are typically faster than written exchanges (e.g. of letters, or published essays which
respond to one another), yet still significantly slower than spoken exchanges, since
even in so-called “real-time” modes, typing is slower than speaking ?? (p.613).

Moreover, on account of its modernity and vagueness, the term CMD used in a
variety of names that carry similar meaning. Terms such as “Netspeak” , “Netlish” ,
“Weblish” , “Internet language” , “Cyberspeak” , “electronic discourse” , “electronic
language” , “Interactive written discourse” , “written speech” , “wired style” ,
“Language of geeks” (Crystal, 2001) , and “linguistic centaur” (Baron,2003) are all
used as synonyms for CMD.
Using the term “Netspeak” to refer to CMD, Sabec (2007) defines Netspeak as a
kind of lingua franca: “Netspeak has very specific requirements that have to do

primarily with speed, efficiency and interactive nature of communication …it has
adjusted to these demands both in terms of form and function and has, as a
consequence, become a kind of lingua franca for internet users across the globe” (p.2).
Regarding CMD as a „Cyberlanguage? , Christopherson (2010) defines CL as the
conversational language resulting from the use of online modes such as chat, instant
messages, text messaging games , forums, etc. , which is characterized by transmitting
standard English into abbreviated form or into a few simple keystrokes carrying the
same meaning (Christopherson , 2010:2, cited in Al Tohami, 2012) .

Online communication massively occurs by means of discourse. That is,
communicators interact by means of verbal language, usually typed on a keyboard
and read as a text on a computer screen. Furthermore, due to the rapid spread and vast
use of CMD, a new type of discourse analysis emerged expanding the field of
discourse which is CMDA. According to Herring (2004) “CMDA can be defined as
the identification of patterns of structure and meaning in language use….what defines
CMDA at its core is the analysis of logs of verbal interaction (characters, words,
utterances, messages, exchanges, threads, archives, etc.)”(p.339) . In this regard, she
mentions three theoretical assumptions underlying CMDA. The first assumption is
that discourse analysis exhibits recurrent patterns which may be produced consciously
or unconsciously. The second assumption is that discourse analysis involves speaker’s
choice which can provide insight into non-linguistic as well as linguistic phenomena.
The third assumption is that CMD may be shaped by the technological features of
CMC modes.

Moreover, Herring (2004) clarifies that analytical methods in CMDA are taken
from discourse analysis and other related patterns of language, adapted to address the
proprieties of CMC and consequently any language-related method could be adapted.
Hence, the present study uses an adapted version of Hard af Segerstad’s (2002)
taxonomy of in the analysis of linguistic features of electronic discourse and type of
English used when chatting on facebook especially among Egyptian students. (see
table 2.1).

Table 2.7: Linguistic Features Characteristic of CMC, Hård af Segerstad (2002: pp.234-235)
Category Feature
1. Space, case, punctuation and

i. Space

a. Omitting blank space between words
b. Omitting punctuation
c. Unconventional punctuation

ii. Case
a. All lower-case
b. All capitals
c. Mix of lower-case and capitals

iii. Spelling and punctuation
a. Unconventional, spoken-like spelling
b. Typos
c. Repetition of letters
d. Repetition of words
e. Consonant writing
2. Grammatical features

i. Reduced sentences

a. Subject pronoun
b. Verb phrase
c. Exchange long words for shorter
ii. Word order

a. Inspiration from other languages than
(word order, prepositions
3. Logotypes

i. ASCII characters

a. Emoticons
b. Asterisks
c. Symbols replacing word
d. Addressivity marker
4. Lexical features and abbreviations

i. Lexical features

a. Colloquial lexicon (dialect, expletives)
b. Code switching
c. OCM features from spoken language
ii. Abbreviations

a. Conventional abbreviations
b. Unconventional abbreviations

The vast usage of social network sites particularly amongst adults and teenagers
urges linguistics to realize how the internet might shape our language and how
different varieties of language are used on the internet. In this concern, Hard af
Segerstad (2002) explains that there are three “variables conditioning language in
CMC: synchronicity, means of expression and situation”. That is, language uses
change in regard to these three variables. With respect to synchronicity, the
production and perception in IM is distributed in space and no time pressure.
Regarding means of expression, she clarifies that IM is dialogical – two way – and
interactive. Concerning the third variable situation, Hard af Segerstad refers that IM
occurs between friends dependent on shared background.

Chapter 3
Data Analysis and Results
3.1 Space, case, punctuation and spelling:

3.1.1 Omitting Blank Space between Words

In this section, Examples regarding the omission of blank space between words
are explained and discussed. Obviously, omitting blank space refers to words that are
written together without spaces separating them. In the analysis of Facebook chatting
(posts and comments), the following examples were found.

1. NN nothing to lose Goodluck {=There is nothing to lose. Good luck!}
2. NN Ofcourse it’s a huge burden on you {=Of course, it’s a huge burden on
3. NN hope everyone’s doing alright { I hope everyone is doing all right .}
4. NN Whatthefuck {What the fuck.}
5. NN You’re more than welcome at anytime to inbox as Id love to talk to you
xx {=You are welcome at any time to inbox as I would love to talk to you.}

6. NN Haha still remember how mindfucked I was on my birthday. Good job
bro {=you still remember how mind fucked I was on my birthday! Good job

In the previous examples, words such as ofcourse, Goodluck ,Whatthefuck,
anytime ,and mindfucked, are written without leaving any space to separate them
because the writer is in a hurry and wants to save time. In view of synchronicity,
Hård af Segerstad makes clear that the production and perception in web chat is
distributed in space and time pressure (2002 :). Accordingly, the omission of blank
space is probably a consequence of space and time pressure in Facebook chat.
Segerstad (2002 p: 216) says: “by omitting space between words the user saves

keystrokes as well as time and effort. Because Facebook is fast-paced, massages
must be written quickly in order not to miss to reply to a post or annoy others with a
long wait. Therefore, to keep up with the fast pace of Facebook, the blank space
between words is sometimes omitted to save time and space.

3.1.2 Omitting Punctuation

The omission of punctuation refers to the fact that punctuation in the form of full
stop, exclamation marks, question marks etc. is missing altogether. Regarding the
lack of punctuation, the following examples were found in the analysis of the chat

1. NN Is it me or does this pic really looks old… like the 90s or 80s..
{Is this me? Or does this picture really look old like the 90s or

2. NN it was the best day in my life {It was the best day in my life.}
3. NN What a day {What a day!}
4. NN ah it was amazing bas not for someone sick alf salamah
3alieky {ah ! it was amazing, but not for someone sick.}
5. NN Good old days {Good old days!}
6. NN Well yes it is smile {Well. Yes, it is a smile.}

As illustrated in the sample above, those sentences sent by different persons do
not have a single punctuation at all. The “save keystroke” principle is the major
reason for most Facebook chatters to omit punctuations in their messages, especially
when it will save more than one keystroke (such as: two keystrokes are needed when
typing question marks).Crystal highlights that “punctuation tends to be minimalist in
most situations, and completely absent in some e-mail and chat
exchanges”(2001p:89). Therefore, the omission of punctuation is just a time saving
stroking method. It does not convey any extra meaning to the other chatters, so it is

not expressive. However, the lack of punctuation sometimes leads to increased
waiting time due to ambiguous utterances.

3.1.3 Unconventional Punctuation

The original function of punctuation is to help readers make clear understanding
of the structure and meaning of a sentence. The term “unconventional punctuation”
refers to the fact that punctuation marks are used in an irregular and alternative way;
for example, overuse of punctuation marks as well as a mixture of punctuation
marks following one another. Regarding the deviant use of punctuation marks, these
examples, for instance, were found in the chatting conversations.

1. NN those hwo have less , give more !!!!! …… ?{Those who have
less, give more.}
2. NN Think outside the BOX !!!! :))))){ Think outside the box.}
3. NN Are u gonna hit a car with a Bugatti to make it stop ???!!!{Are
you going to hit a car with a Bugatti to make it stop?}
4. NN Oh im so happy for you!!! {Oh! I’m so happy for you.}
5. NN iv gone through a deep depression phase where I have
attempted suicide…{ I have gone through a deep depression phase
where I have attempted suicide. }
6. NN go there….i know u doubt u’ll find help there.. but who
knows??{Go there, I know you doubt, you will find help there, but
who does know?}

Considering the above sample, the use of this type of irregular punctuation is one
of the remarkable characteristics of Facebook chatting. The Facebook chatters
resort to unusual combination of punctuation marks, such as ellipsis dots (….) to
express pause or repeated use of exclamation marks or question marks to explain
emphasis and attitude. In (1), (2) and (4) above, there is an example of exaggerated
use of punctuation as to indicate emphasis. In (3), the mixture of several question

marks and exclamation marks also signifies emphasis the same way in (1). In (5)
and (6), the repeated use of full stops expresses a pause as in spoken interaction. As
Crystal explains “lacks the facial expressions, gestures, and conventions of body
posture and distance which are so critical in expressing opinions and attitude and in
moderating social relationships,” (2001p: 36) . So the adoption of repeated
punctuation marks for expressing emotions are giving fresh semantic value to the
chatting talks and lead to the introduction of emoticons or smileys.

3.1.4 All Lower-case

In this part, examples related to the use of all lower-case are illustrated and
discussed. The term “all lower- case” means that sentences are written in small
letters without any capitalization from the beginning until end. In light of this usage
of non-capitalized letters, the following examples were found in the analysis of

1. NN best of lk ya magico is it on tv ? {Best of luck, magico. Is it on
2. NN go there….i know u doubt u’ll find help there..{Go there; I know
you doubt, you will find help there.}
3. NN i don’t know who you are, but i want to give you a hug. Can you
message me so i can hug you on sunday ? {I don’t know who you are,
but I want to give you a hug, Can you message me so I can hug you on
4. NN can you smell my swag? {Can you smell my swag?}
5. NN it was the best day in my life {It was the best day in my life.}

By observing messages of participants, it is not difficult to find out some
professional users showing a better use of capitalization while in other more
messages it is a common phenomenon that capitalization is ignored. As Crystal
clarifies that “Most of the Internet is not case-sensitive, which thus motivates the
random use of capitals or no capitals at all” (2001p: 87). As participants try to send
messages as quickly as possible, it is considered a waste of time to press a “Caps

Lock” or “Shift” key to type a capital letter. Therefore, the “save a keystroke”
principle is a major reason for the frequent use of lower-case.

3.1.5 All Capitals

In this part, examples related to the use of all capitals are illustrated and
discussed. The term “All Capitals” refers to the fact that sentences are fully written
by using uppercase while lowercase is ignored. In terms of the use of uppercase
only, the coming instances were found in the analysis of Facebook chatting.

1. NN SO to all the freshman out there: TAKE GOOD CARE OF
YOUR GPA, YOU WILL NEED IT ONE DAY” {So, to all freshman
out there: take good care of your GPA, you will need it one day.}
2. NN the idea of counseling is very beneficial IF YOU ARE
SERIOUSLY WILLING TO HELP URSELF {The idea of counseling is
very beneficial if you are seriously willing to help yourself.}
TO CHANGE. {Oh people, high fashion. Let’s focus, we have to
change. }
4. NN Ayman Tarek BIG HUG { Big hug }

As for the use of entirely capitalized sentences, Crystal signifies that “Message
wholly in capitals are considered to be ‘shouting’, and usually avoided; words in
capitals add extra emphasis ” (2001p:87). In Facebook chatting the use of capitalized
words or entire capital sentence is the common way of marking emphatic stress or
increased volume. In (1) above, for example, the powerful feelings are expressed by
ONE DAY. In example (2), the chatter wants to stress the meaning of what he/she is
saying by using letters in uppercase to emphasis his/her meaning. In (3), In order to
catch others? attention, the chatter unusually uses words in capitalized form. It gives
us a feeling that she/he is trying to speak loud in a quite “noisy” room. Therefore, as
noticed in messages, the use of all capital is considered to be shouting or emphasis.

3.1.6 Mix of Lower-case and Capitals
In this section, examples with regard to the mixture of lower-case and capitals are
illustrated and discussed. The term “mix of lower-case and capitals” refers to an
irregular way of writing in which internet users use both capital and small letters in
one word only. Examples written in this way were found in the following messages
of the internet users.

1. NN Be Yourself, Everybody Else Has Been Taken !! {Be
yourself because everybody has been taken.}
2. NN I Wish You All the Best of Everything Beautiful in this
World {I wish you all the best of everything beautiful in this
world .}
3. NN God Bless You!!!! Have a Wonderful Day {God bless
you! have a wonderful day.}
4. NN We Will not liVe AS slaVeS … {We will not live as slaves.}
5. >[email protected] 7 6 9 D H t H ' D Will Be The WorsT in mY liFe …
{This Valentine Day will be the worst in my life.}

From the above, writing in an unconventional as well as irregular way, by using
mix of lowercase and uppercase, is a common way in FB chats which indicates that
new functions of capitalization emerged in CMC. Crystal refers that ” another
distinctive feature of internet graphology is the way two capitals are used – one
initial, one medial- a phenomenon variously called bicapitalization (BiCaps)
,intercaps, incaps, and midcaps” (2001p:87). Moreover, he adds: “some style guides
inveigh against this practice but it is widespread”. In (1), (2), and (3), the chatters
use a non-standard way of capitalization where they capitalize the initial of every
word in the sentence to attract the attention of recipient and emphasis the meaning.
In (4) and (5), there was also a tendency to combine capitals and lowercase.
Bieswanger explains “word-internal capitalization a strategy used for emphasis in
CMC but often considered undesirable “shouting” (2013p:473).

3.1.7 Unconventional, spoken-like spelling

”Unconventional and spoken-like spelling” refers to the written form of words as
it sounds and reflects the way we talk. In light of this, Messages related to this type,
for example, were found in the analysis:

1. NN Are u gonna hit a car with a Bugatti to make it stop ???!!! {Are
you going to hit a Bugatti to make it stop?}
2. NN Good luck Amrr!! im sure itll be a walk through the park.{ Good
luck Amr ! I’m sure it will be a walk through the park.}
3. NN um here 3la fkra ur not alone… um trying as much as i can pray
for me pleaase (I’m here, by the way you are not alone , I’m
tr g Ds muF Ds , FD …)

4. NN I just wanna make it clear also that millions of ppl suffer from
this problem {I just want to make it clear that millions of people suffer
from this problem.}
5. NN When are you gonna be in Riyadh? {When are going to be in
6. NN really ? Yeah ive seen the new “pokemons”. Lol your loyal {
Yeah , I have seen the new pokemons }
luv it hope u r doing well {Oh! I love it . 7. NN Oh! I
Hope you are doing well.}

Regarding the above examples, many English students’ chatters in Egypt tend to
use informal ”phonetic” spelling in order to save time and effort because one does
not have to be as careful in spoken as in writing as Segerstad clarifies ” in many
cases unconventional spelling, or spelling which imitates the phonetic value of
speech, saves keystrokes and time and effort” (2005p:43). In (1), (2), (4), (5) and (6)
above, for instance, there is a tendency to save time and effort because it is faster to
write (gonna, im, itll, wanna, and ive) than (going to, I am, it will, want to, and I
have). Sometimes, though, this sort of unconventional phonetic spelling results in
nearly the same number of keystrokes as well as in even more effort spent. In (3)

and (7) above, for example, the words um and luv did not save keystrokes, but
rendered the words a spoken-like feel. Consequently, the use of unconventional
spoken- like spelling sometimes “proves that the economy principle is not absolute
and that what is considered rational behavior is instrumental, it is rational for the
purpose it serves” (ef Allwood, 2000). Accordingly, this also helps brings friendly
tone to the message.

3.1.8 Typos

In this section, examples related to this style of typos are discussed. “Typos” is a
common way of misspelling and writing words wrongly as a consequence of speed
as well as hurry in writing. In light of this, messages regarding misspelled words in
the Facebook chat were found in the analysis:

1. NN Ur fone contacts. Once we install the fb app and we agree on
the boaring notice. It sync all our fone contacts with fb.{your phone
contacts! Once we install the Facebook application and
agree on the boring notice, it syncs all our phone contacts
with the Facebook.}
2. NN those hwo have less , give more !!!!! …… { Those who have
less , give more }
3. NN I’m sure it could ve been if I did not get out of the place by a
mircale { I ‘m sure it could have been if did not get out of the palace
by a miracle }
4. NN hope everyone’s doing alright {I hope everyone is doing all
5. NN what will you people feel/do if your were
physically/emotionaly/verbaly abused all your lives..{What will you
feel/do if you were physically, emotionally or verbally abuse all your

Regarding the above messages, it is most probable that misspelling words are a
result of accidental keystrokes because the writers are in a hurry and they are

unwilling to correct them and gradually they are accepted by more and more people.
(ZHU Kui, 2013) underscores that ”misspelling is common and cannot only save
time but also make the language humorous”. Additionally, most messages are
written fast and often with no concern regarding spelling in order to make the
language much easier. Accordingly, ”this way has two benefits: one is for rapid
typing; the other is for humorous and interesting style” (ZHU Kui, 2013).

3.1.9 Repetition of letters

In this section, examples with regard to the repetition of letters are illustrated and
discussed. The successive repetition of letters in the same word actually refers to the
fact that letters occur more than twice in a row. In light of this, examples related to
this type, for example, were found in the analysis:

1. NN Before the accounting exam………… theeeeeees…… new
glasses {before the accounting exam , these are my new glasses.}
2. NN Yalla let’s gooo!!! {Let’s go.}
3. NN Sammmmyyy I was Hereeee and its my choice ? u kw
{Samy, I was here and it’s my choice you know.}
4. NN I’ll say congrats duuuuuude! {I will say congratulations,
5. NN ” never settle for less ” …. few words with a biiiiiiiiiig
meaning {“never settle for less ” few words with a big meaning .}
6. NN damnn girrrrrrl. { damn girl }
7. NN goooood luck { Good luck .}
8. NN i knowww w still envy u {I know we still envy you.}
9. NN I Love Youuu Awiii ?{ {I love you so much.}
10. NN Focus focus focuss bleeeeez come to meeee nawwwww
{Focus, please come to me now.}
11. NN I can see youuuuuuu {I can see you.}
12. NN Thankss Marwan Dbg,thats soo sweet of you!hope

”The messages written by users in Facebook usually contain very casual language.
It is frequent to find words with repeated letters” (Alvaro, Martín, Carro, 2014).
Clearly, the chatters resort to reduplicate the letter in order to compensate the lack of
intonation and paralinguistic cues that interactive written discourse imposes on its
users. For instance, in the above examples (1), (2), (3) and (4), the letters were
reduplicated to reflect the intonation of spoken language. However, in (5), (6), (7),
(8), and (9), the letters were repeated to indicate emphasis. In spite of the fact that
examples (1), (2), (3) and (4) also indicate emphasis, it is a particular evident in the
examples (5), (6), (7), (8), and (9). Consequently, when the chatter repeats a letter of a
word, it serves to stress the meaning of this particular word and to show the chatter’s
attitude at the same time.

3.1.10 Repetition of words

In this section, examples related to the repetition of words are illustrated and
discussed. The repetition of words refers to the fact that an individual word may be
reduplicated for more than once. In light of this, the examples that follow were, for
instance, found in the analysis of the conversations transcripts:

1) NN Glory Glory Man United !!!! { Glory man united }
2) NN Focus focus focuss bleeeeez come to meeee nawwwww ?
{Focus, please come to me now.}

From the above examples, it is most probable that the Facebook users may repeat
the single and the same word several times in a row to express their attitude and
emphasis the meaning. With this way of repletion, repetition of words, like repetition
of letters, indicates emphasis. It is also common in the spoken language that repetition
of saying the same word refers to emphasis. Consequently, for emphasis of meaning
and conveyance of attitude, an individual word may be repeated more than once.

3.1.11 Consonant writing

In this part, the examples regarding the consonant writing are illustrated and
discussed. The term “consonant writing” refers to the fact that words are written with
consonants only and without vowels .With regard to this usage, the following
examples were found in the Facebook conversation:

1. NN millions of ppl suffer from this problem {millions of people
suffer from this problem.}
2. NN Pls don’t kick me out :(((((( {Please don’t kick me out.}
3. NN booking is open now and pls hurry up cos our places r limited
{Booking is open now and hurry up because places are limited.}
4. NN Mohammed Abdulsalam gd luck { good luck }
5. NN best of lk ya magico is it on tv ? {Best of luck, magico! Is it on
As for consonant writing, Herring and Danet explain that “the Phoenician alphabet,
which is the common origin of all alphabets, was exclusively consonantal, as are the
Hebrew and Arabic alphabets. It has been demonstrated that a short text written in
French or English deprived of vowels can be read rather easily “(2007, pp: 101-102).
Moreover, they underscores: “in the English written word has a heavy consonantal
framework. In English CMC corpora, on finds pls for “please” and ppl for “people”
(ibid). In linguistics, elision or deletion is the omission of one or more sounds such as
vowel, a consonant or whole syllable in a word or phrase and sometimes sounds are
elided to make a word easier to pronounce. Accordingly, English chatters in Egypt
use the vowel- deletion technique in order to save time and space in typing. For
example in (1), (2), (3), and (4) above, it is easier and more timesaving to write ppl
than people , pls than please, cos than because, gd than good and finally, lk than luck.
Therefore, by avoiding consonant letters the “save the keystroke principle is in use,
resulting in increased time saving.

Table 3.1 Illustration of Space, case, punctuation and spelling:
Electronic Feature Facebook English Form Standard Form
Space Goodluck Good luck
Mindfucked Mind fucked
Ofcourse Of course
watthefuck What the fuck
take good care of your
We Will not liVe AS
We will not live as slaves
i can hug you on sunday I can hug you on Sunday
Punctuation What a day What a day!
Good old days Good old days!
Well yes it is smile Well. Yes, it is a smile.
!!!!! !
…… .
???!!! ?
?? ?
Spelling Gonna Going to
Wanna Want to
Gotta Got to
Luv Love
um I am

3.2 Grammatical features:

3.2.1 Subject pronoun

In this section, examples with regard to reduced sentences in the form of
subject/pronoun are illustrated and discussed. A reduced sentence refers to the
deletion of the subject or a pronoun in a sentence. As for this type of omission, these
examples were found in the analysis:

1. NN Didn’t know u can sing ;_; and that u were with Joe Joe and
Eissa in the thing they went to lol XD (I didn’t know)
2. NN Just saw this thank you brother (I just saw)
3. NN Miss u bro { I miss you, brother}
4. NN Didn’t know you can sing {I did not know }

In terms of the subject being omitted in a sentence, Farfeleder (2000) highlights
that “the omission is a common phenomenon of web-chat English in which the
omission of subject is a vivid characteristic. Furthermore, it is brilliant that online
English, unlike our traditional English, pays more attention to time-saving. Without
the subject, the sentence meaning is still complete and can be understood by each
other. As seen in examples (1), (2), (3), and (4) above, for instance, the subject
pronoun “I” is omitted. However, the sentence meaning is still unchanged.
Accordingly, it is obvious that on the premise of time-saving principle, every strategy
can be adopted to reduce the complexity in the conversation if it is necessary.

3.2.2 Verb phrase

In this section, examples with regard to reduced sentences in the form of verb
phrases are illustrated and discussed. A sentence reduced in this way refers to the
deletion of the verb phrase in a sentence. In light of this, the examples that follow
were, for instance, found in the analysis of the conversations:

1. NN.. it happens?!!! … well that’s a SHAME .. enjoy the
pic!(does do this happen?)

With reference to the omission of verb phrase in Facebook chatting, like the
omission of subject/ pronoun, it is most likely a result of fast writing. Consequently,
Facebook users tend to reduce sentence by omitting verb phrase in order to save time.
Moreover, a reduced sentence in terms of verb phrase is understandable and the

meaning is clear. Hence, the omission of verb phrase in online conversation, like the
omission of subject/phrase, is a consequence of ‘save keystroke’ principle.

3.2.3 Exchange long words for shorter

In this section, examples related to the use of short words instead of longer words
are illustrated and fact, the exchange of long words for shorter refers to
using short word with the same meaning as longer words in online chatting.
Examples regarding this type of exchanging words were found in the analysis:

1. NN Fatma am so glad ( delighted….)that the words I wrote u
manage to still be in ur heart… May u find so much happiness
within ur life journey
2. NN thats too bad, i cant imagine {That’s extremely bad}

In terms of exchanging long words for shorter ones, the FB chatters reflects their
own choice of words in their writing. The short words used instead of longer ones are
not that much shorter than their longer equivalent and thus do not take much time to
save. Thus, this exchange of words does not save time of writing but depends on the
choice of the participants. Moreover, the words that are used instead of longer
equivalent are more colloquial which is more convenient to the nature of online

3.2.4 Inspiration from other languages than English (word order,

In this section, examples related to inspiration from other languages than
English are illustrated and discussed. Inspiration from other languages than English
in terms of word order or prepositions refers to the assumption that a person’s choice
of certain word order or preposition is influenced by other languages than English.

When it comes to the inspiration from languages other than English these examples
were found in the conversations:

1. NN But it’s really striking me how every thing is going bel 7obb if
you know what I mean!”
2. NN wtf were do u guys even find trash? maybe auntie anne’s aw
food court but thts it
3. NN ah it was amazing bas not for someone sick, alf salamah

When it comes to obtaining inspiration from other languages than English on FB,
it becomes apparent from the examples above that Facebook is an attractive medium
for communication that catches the attention of people from most parts of world. The
examples above could, for instance, be inspiration from Arabic word order as well as

3.3 Logotypes

3.3.1 Emoticons

In this section, examples regarding the use of emoticons are illustrated and
discussed. The term ’emoticon’ refers to the representation of facial expressions. It is
most likely a blend of the nouns ’emotions’ and ‘icons’, and it is used to convey the
sender’s feeling or intended tone. In relation to this, these examples were found in the
conversations of Facebook:

1. NN Sending you millions of smiles ! ??? {smile}
take one each morning, because i want to see you smiling always ?

Have a blessed day sweetie ? Good Morning sweetheart ? ? ?
Safaa Moussa{heart, kiss }
2. NN Hello Dina Sweetie Great to hear from you darling
I Wish You All the Best of Everything Beautiful in this World
God Bless You!!!! Have a Wonderful Day .. xoxoxo {smile,
3. NN Miss you more than you can imagine
Gros Bisous xoxoxoxoxoxox {heart}
4. NN will hehehehehe .. we are already living as Slaves {tongue}
5. NN Glory Glory Man United !!!! {tongue, devil}
6. NN LoL you are doing great in the champions league this year
7. NN you have been doing great in the last 8 years as well {grin}
8. NN Best safety enforcement EVER ? {grin}
9. NN She didn’t message me
10. NN howa fein el counseling center dah? {gasp}
11. NN Focus focus focuss bleeeeez come to meeee nawwww{cry}

With regard to the use of emoticons in Facebook chat, Park explains that
”emoticons are graphical representations of interpersonal and emotional features
expressed through gesture and facial expression in face-to-face setting, in the online
setting” (2007:151). Since it is impossible to express feeling and emotions in a
textual online conversation, emoticons have been used to compensate for the facial
and other non-verbal communication. ”CMC users are presented with a range of
emoticons to compensate for the loss of non-verbal cues” (Crystal, 2001). Moreover,
emoticons give visual representations of what the speaker is feeling. Thus, if the
speaker is happy a smiley face () is used to show it without ambiguity. In
addition there is a large „bank? of emoticons, which makes it a very convenient
means of expression. For instance, in (1) above, the graphical expression () and (
) indicates smile and love corresponding to the writer’s facial expression and

feeling. In (6) above, the graphical expression () signals the writer’s thinking or
facial expression, whereas in (4) the graphical expression () illustrating an
outstretched tongue, indicates that the writer is exasperating.

Therefore, emoticons are often used to alert a responder to the tenor or temper of
a statement and can change and improve interpretation of plain text. The emoticons
expressing positive feelings such as the big grin, the wink, the smile, the angel, the
kiss and the heart are used in the data collected to express a friendly tone. The
emoticons expressing negative feelings such as sad, grumpy, upset, cry, confused
and devil are used in interesting ways by the participants to denote the stress and
frustration. Consequently, Facebook users use emoticons to enhance the non-verbal
aspect of their online communications and emoticons enhance the quality of

Table 3.3 Illustration of emoticons & their standard form
Electronic Feature Facebook Form Standard Form/shortcut
Emoticons Smile
Frown (sad)
Gasp( shock ,surprise, wow,)


Colonthree (happy, blissful, peaceful,
cute face like a cat)

3.3.2 Asterisks

In this section, examples related to the use of asterisks are illustrated and
discussed. The use of asterisks refers to the usage of (*) in order to frame words or
phrases. In light of this, these following examples were found in the conversation:

1. NN My other guilty pleasure is loving Simon Cowell,
although many people think he is an a**hole, but I just love
2. NN *trying not to cry…rolling over and crying. .. alot*
3. NN * I Love Youuu Awiii x ? ?
4. NN * WAIT :OO .. Take Care I own It ALONE :Z ? ?
5. NN “*Trigger Warning* Okay how do I start this?

From the above examples, it is obviously clear that the usage of asterisks in order to
enclose a word or phrase may mean more than one thing. For example, in (1) above,
the Facebook chatter used asterisks in order to highlight a correction to a previous
mistake. In (2), (3), and (4) above, it is used to put more emphasis on phrases.
Moreover, it is a better way to emphasize without the use of CAPS which seem like
shouting. In spite of the fact that (5) above indicates emphasis, it is probably denotes
an action. Consequently, asterisks can be used in online chatting in order to correct a
previous mistake, to put more emphasis, or to denote an action.

3.3.3 Symbols replacing word

In this section, examples related to symbols replacing word are illustrated and
discussed. The term ‘symbols replacing word’ refers to the condition in which a
symbol is used instead of a word. In light of this usage, the following examples were
found in the analysis:

1. NN Miss you more than you can imagine
Gros Bisous xoxoxoxoxoxox
2. NN Over & above going to ur dealership
3. NN Im happy for you bro stay happy you 2 !
4. NN congr8s my friends , i wish the best of luck for you both , with
5. NN what about joining 1 of these entities?
6. NN * WAIT :OO .. Take Care I own It ALONE :Z ? ?
7. NN Hello guys, we r starting our new cooking classes on the 7th
of September. We r offering: Moroccan cooking & Cake

According to Hård af Segerstad, ” By replacing a word with a symbol that stands
for the word, several keystrokes may be saved” (2002 p:227).Accordingly, the use of
symbols instead of letters and words is most probably a consequence of the space as
well as time pressure in the online communication. In order to save time and
keystrokes, the symbols used instead of words. For example, in (1), (2), (3), (4), and
(5) above, it is easier and more timesaving to write xo than hug and kiss; & than and;
2 than two; congr8s than congratulations and, finally, 1 than one. However, in (6)
above, the symbol (:OO) used instead of surprised also expresses the writer feeling.
Hence, using symbols rather than words or letters in online communication always
saves time or denotes emotion.

Table 3.3.3 Illustration of symbol replacing word & their standard form
Electronic discourse Feature Facebook Form Standard Form

Symbols replacing word
Eat , eight
Hugs & kisses


Surprise, shock

3.3.4 Addressivity marker
In this section, examples related to the use of addressivity marker are illustrated
and discussed. The term” addressivity marker” refers to the mentioning of the
receiver’s name prior to or inside the message in Facebook chatting. Regarding the
use of addressivity marker, the following examples were found in the analysis:

1. NN Thankss NNMarwan Dbg,thats soo sweet of you!hope
2. NN And does NN Is’ra Khaled know that you’re in a
relationship with me?

Regarding the above examples, it is most probable that the addressivity marker is
conventional for speakers to indicate the intended addressee by typing the person’s
name at the beginning of an utterance. Moreover, it becomes important to use
addressivity marker in order to clearly highlight at whom a message is intended.
Finally, ”mentions enable users to converse directly with other specific users, thus
sustaining a high level of interactivity and engagement among users who seek to
connect and converse” (Honeycutt and Herring 2009).

3.4 Lexical features and abbreviations
3.4.1 Colloquial lexicon (dialect, expletives)

In this section, examples related to the use of colloquial lexicon in terms of dialect
and expletives are illustrated and discussed.

1. NN Not sure if it is for high speed pursuits or for high luxury
show off (I’m not sure)
2. NN Just dont lose hope..always pray for god and thank him
for whatever you face.

3.4.2 code-switching
In this section, examples related to code-switching are illustrated and discussed.
Code-switching refers to the fact that the speaker may shift from one language to
another, precisely in this case from English to Arabic and vice versa, in the same
utterance. In case of this change in the conversation, these examples were found in the

1. NN Kabar enta mo5ak w go make friends with other people.
W law 3al scholarship fa mo3zam el gam3a bet2adem 3ala
financial aid aslan bas they are too proud to say it.

2. NN its for showing off w ana bsara7a lw mashy mo5alif
ha2aflohom 3alashan arkab m3ahom

3. NN We need a respectable environment, kol wa7ed yekhali f 7alo
ba2a w nesa3ed om el balad shouia.”
4. NN howa fein el counseling center dah?
5. NN um here 3la fkra ur not alone… um trying as much as i can
pray for me pleaase rbna m3ana kolna dont worry there’re
many people who care for this country and want it to be as it
deserves “the best”

6. NN Law mashy mo5alef 7ayedook mo5alfa w yemashook mesh
7aterkab ma3ahom
7. NN law kant el scholarship 3eeb makanosh 7atoha 3al
C.V erfa3 rasak foo2 ya a5y ! scholarship and proud.

When it comes to code-switching, Grosjean (1982) clarifies that “code-switching is
the alternate use of two or more languages in the same utterance, and this can be in a
form of a single word, or a phrase, or a sentence/s”. The reason for switching may be
due to the lack of facility and that the FB users code switch when they cannot find an
appropriate expression or vocabulary item or when the language of conversation does
not have the particular word needed to carry on the conversation smoothly. For
instance, in (1) above the speaker uses the Arabic expression kabar enta mo5ak (take
it easy) and this obviously because the speaker does not have English word for kabar
enta mo5ak. In (2) and (3) above, speakers switch to Arabic at the end of the
statement just to emphasize the point and to add more force to the statement.
Moreover, in (4) and (5) above code-switching is used to attract the attention of the
readers i.e. that something is extremely necessary in this case. The chatters mix
between Arabic and English but start and end the comment with Arabic in example
(4) while in example (5) the comment starts and ends with English and Arabic is in
between. Thus, code- switching is commonly used in Facebook for different reasons:
lack of facility, emphasizing, and to attract attention.

3.4.3 OCM features from spoken language
In this section, examples related to OCM features from spoken language are
illustrated and discussed. The concept ” OCM features from spoken language ” refers
to characteristic that are discrete to spoken language (e.g. intonation, accent/stress,
pause/silence, tone of voice). In light of this, the following examples were found in
the analysis:

1. NNyou can never beat me in a race in your life hahahahaha
2. NN Hahahah wow really nice , I just remembered that day ah it
was amazing bas not for someone sick, alf salamah 3alieky
3. NN disco night hahahaha
4. NN will hehehehehe .. we are already living as Slaves
5. NN Tbh (to be honest) i got startled for the first 0.5 secs heheh
6. NN umm wow.. i never really thought id find someone who has the
same fitting in problems and social awkwardness, respect to you lady
and we can be friends if you’d like.
7. NN ummm , i just saw it right now sorry
8. NN WOOOWOWOWOWOWOWOW I am proud of u my man.
9. NN yaaaaaaaaaaaaaah i really miss these days so much

On online communication, where everything is text-based, the users are lack of
prosody and paralanguage to help the receiver understand the message. Therefore, the
unique way is emerged on Facebook chatting. By using onomatopoeic expressions,
the user could exploit many kinds of letters which could represent their emotion. An
onomatopoeic word is a word that phonetically imitates or suggests the source of the
sound that it describes (Crystal, 1997). Moreover, OCM features are routinely used to
signal, for example a speaker?s attitude to what they are saying, their emotional state
or different rhetoric functions. Laughter in CMC is formed by use of onomatopoeic
and or stylized spellings. One well known example is ” D D D” to indicate laughter.
For example, in (1), (2) and (3) above, “hahahaha” is a sound of laughter that is used
by Participants to signal positive laughter. In (3) and (4),”hehehehe” on the other
hand, is a sound of laughter but with connotations of giggling which shows that the
Participant seems to be sarcastic about what is said by the sender of the message. In
CMC the repetition of the laughter markers is used to show Chatters are laughing a lot
or they are sarcasm. In (6), (7), and (8) above, the expressive spelling of ummmm and
yaaaaaah resembles the intonation that could have been the case of speech. In (9)
above, the onomatopoeic ”woowowow” expresses that the writer was amazed.

In Computer-mediated Communication, abbreviations can be classified into:
3.4.3 Conventional abbreviations

In this section, examples related to the use of conventional abbreviations are
illustrated and discussed. The term ‘conventional abbreviations’ refers to abbreviations
that are generally accepted in Standard English. Considering the use of conventional
abbreviations, these examples were, for example, found in the analysis of the

1. NN plus he never told u anything about grad school
{graduate school}

2. NN Tbh (to be honest) i got startled for the first 0.5 secs
heheh {seconds}

3. NN One of the best most interesting exciting courses u can
take in ur life esp u girls {especially}

When it comes to the use of conventional abbreviations on Facebook, it becomes
evident by looking at the examples above that Facebook is a fast-paced medium for
communication that motivates chatters to abbreviate words. Moreover, the three
examples above, for instance, indicate that abbreviated words are used to save time
and space. Therefore, to keep up with the fast pace on Facebook, conventional
abbreviations are used to save more time and space.

3.4.4 Unconventional abbreviations

In this section, examples related to the use of unconventional abbreviations are
illustrated and discussed. The term ‘unconventional abbreviations’ refers to

abbreviations that are not generally accepted in Standard English. Considering the use
of unconventional abbreviations, these examples were, for example, found in the
analysis of the conversations.

1. NN miss u too …. sis {miss you too, sister}
2. NN we have nothing to lose bbe {we have nothing to lose
3. NN LOL {laugh out loud}
4. NN Suits ur personality very well yabo 7emeid. U should go work
with them { this suits your personality}
5. NN he never told u anything about grad school { he never old you
anything about graduate school}
6. NN Send me what you want to do and ill see how i can help you sir.
Good post btw, but you must understand where are we coming from,
however if your “organization” is serving a really important cause im
sure the student senate can make very limited exceptions
7. NN OMG yes !!! I love him too !! And guess what .. I like
piers Morgan too hehe .. But I just love simon NN maybe just
MAYBE u’ll find the answers to ur problems there.. so its bettter to take
a step { maybe you will find the answer to your problems there. So, it is
better to take a step}
8. NN I went there for 3 years or more, they are gr8!
9. NN Screw them… Im on a scholarship and im proud that im helping
my family pay for my own education! … Ur UNIQUE!!!
10. NN wtf were do u guys even find trash? maybe auntie anne’s aw food
court but thts it
11. NN can you smell my swag? Coz I put it in your bag.
12. NN.. it happens?!!! … well that’s a SHAME .. enjoy the pic!
13. NN booking is open now and pls hurry up cos our places r limited
14. NN Tbh (to be honest) i got startled for the first 0.5 secs heheh
15. NN Plz Don’t tell me this is in Saudi
16. NN Is it me or does this pic really looks old… like the 90s or 80s..

17. NN Absolutely bro, all’s gr8.. hope to see u and houssam soon !!
18. NN disco night hahahaha
19. NN Thankss Marwan Dbg,thats soo sweet of you!hope
20. NNMohammad Abu AlRob IKR !! It was our pleasure broo. Btw
couldn’t find ur name on fb to tag u idk why..!
21. NN IKR !!! I drove these loops up and down like 3-4 times,, they have
the tightest turns ever yet the most exhilarating views ever Oh
and nice monkeys as well !
22. NN Miss u too bro hope all’s going well at beirut
23. NN well i dont think it gets better from now
24. NN No one can compate with your talent!! U will b z one
25. NN Good luck bra.
26. N Mabrooooooook our magician u deserve the best gbwu
27. NN Congrats bro

Regarding the use of unconventional abbreviations on Facebook chatting, these are
used for the same reason as conventional abbreviations. Facebook users use
unconventional abbreviations in order to save time and energy. Abbreviation is also
called clipping. That is, a new word is created by cutting the final part, the initial part
or cutting off both the initial and the final part with only the middle part left.
(Zhuanglin Hu, 1988, p: 178).

Abbreviation can be divided into several types including clipping, initialism,
replacement, and contractions. Clipping which is always used when people chat
online can be classified into several common types: front clipping, middle clipping,
end clipping, and middle and end clipping. First, front clipping which can be used as
the deletion at the beginning of the word, for example “U” for you,”Ur” for your, and
“cause” for because. Second, middle clipping means the deletion in the middle of the
word in Facebook English such as”ppl” for people, “wat” for what, “Lk” for luck,
“Gd” for good, “bbe” for babe, and “congrats” for congratulation. Third, end clipping
is the deletion at the end of the word such as “edu” for education, “uni” for university,
“info” for information, “bro” for brother, “sis” for sister, ‘ b” for be, “grad” for
graduate, “disco” for discotheque, “pic” for picture, and “esp” for especially. Fourth,

middle and end clipping is the deletion in the middle and end of the word, for
example, pls for please, b/t for between, pvt for private, and “fb” for Facebook.

Additionally, initialism is another form of abbreviation which can be used on
Facebook chatting in order to save time and space. The term initialism stands for “an
unpronounceable abbreviation comprising the initial letters of a term and commonly
used in place of that term” (Taylor ; Metzler, 2008). Therefore, it is easier to write
Gbwu than Gdod be with you, BTW than by the way, WTF than what the fuck, LOL
than laughing out loud, Tbh than to be honest, IKR than I know right, Idk than , Go ‘t
know, and OMG than oh my god. Moreover, replacement of a part of a word or a
whole word by letters or numbers rapidly accelerates the process of typing a message
since the amount of characters is reduced. The replacing can be done only on
condition that the letter or number is pronounced the same way as the unit replaced
(Sun, 2010, p. 100).For example, r substitutes are, u substitutes you, z substitutes the,
b substitutes be, ur substitutes your, 2 replaces too or two, 4 replaces for or four, and 8
replaces eat or eight. Hence, unconventional abbreviation is a common way of
chatting on Facebook which is used to save time and space.

Table 3.4.4 Illustration of abbreviations and their standard form
Electronic Feature Facebook English Form Standard Form
Conventional Punctuation AUC American University in
Esp. Especially
Gt. Great
App Application
Tbh To be honest
btw By the way, between
wtf What the fuck
IKR I know right
Idk I don’t know
OMG Oh my God
LOL Laugh out loud
grad graduation
bro Brother
bra brother
sis sister
uni university
anne anniversary
pic picture
congrats congratulation
disco discotheque
fb facebook
ppl peaople
pls Please
plz please
bbe babe
cos Because
coz because
lk luck
gd good

r are
u you
ur your
ur You are
z the
b be
2 two
2 To , too
4 For, four
U’ll You will
I’ll I will
im I am
its It’s
dont Don’t
Gr8 great

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