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tanya schwinger

on 12 May 2013

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by Tanya Schwinger Language and the internet : a study into the acronym "LOL" Research Question and Aims Bibliography Research Aims: 1. BBC Article - "Why did LOL Infiltrate the Language?" A Quick Summary of Relevant Sources What Do I Plan on Doing With My Data? Methodology Examples of the Data I Will Use Question: "LOL": Where did it come from, how is it used and what influence has it had on our language? To discover the origins of the word "lol"
To identify its many possible functions as part of internet language use.
To look at the usage of "lol" and see if it has changed over the years and what age groups tend to use it the most.
To look at the influence "lol" has had on the way we use language in a wider context. Talks about how "LOL" has been added into the OED "to the mild dismay of language purists"
It is defined in the OED as " an interjection used chiefly in electronic communications to draw attention to a joke or humorous statement or to express amusement."
Mentions several usages for "LOL" including pronouncing the letters individually, pronouncing it as a word even in spoken language and even turning it into the verb "lolling."
Gives several explanations for the functions of "lol" - it can be used as a filler, it gives a piece of text some tone and meaning e.g. sarcasm, could be used to take the edge of potentially slightly offensive statements e.g. "you're so annoying lol".
Claims the first usage of "lol" dates back to the 1980s by a man called Wayne Pearson from Canada!
Fairly argue the debate about whether "lol" and similar netspeak is causing some deterioration of language. 2. Journal Article - " Lol: New Language and Spelling in Instant Messaging" Calls the notion of netspeak "a new language of abbreviations, acronyms, word combinations and punctuation." (2009:719)
Most commonly seen in instant messaging.
"lol" and other acronyms could have possibly been developed to "speed up the communication exchange," or to reduce the number of errors when typing full words. (2009: 720)
Suggests that this type of language is mostly used by adolescents - survey carried out by the Pew Internet and Family Life Project in the USA.
Suggests that this development of "contemporary slang" is a "process in the evolution of the English Language". (2009: 721) 3. Journal Article -"Linguistic Ruin?! LOL! Instant Messaging and Teen Language Takes into account the views of the linguists who think netspeak is contributing to "the linguistic ruin of the generation" (Axman 2002)
Talks about a study looking at " a corpus of 72 teenagers and over a million words of natural, unmonitored IM." (2008: 3)
Mentions a study by Baron (2004) which found that only 0.8% of the words used in an IM interactions were initialisms like "lol" (2008: 8)
The study conducted in this paper actually found that "lol" is used more as a way to keep the conversation flowing i.e. a filler. The researchers found that even though "lol" is "the highest frequency form typically associated with IM" it was in fact "haha" and its variants which featured more frequently in the IM conversations that were analyzed. (2008: 11)
This study conducted in 2009 found that only 2.4% of the entire words used from the students were netspeak forms, this is a dramatic change from a study conducted by Baron (2004) which found the use of these forms to be dramatically higher - is netspeak a fading language? Here are 2 examples of data I have already collected from 2 different One Direction fan forum sites. They show only three ways in which "lol" is used in CMC; there are far more ways in the other examples I have found.
These uses of "lol" are extremely recent; I plan to compare the recent usages of "lol" with how "lol" was used around ten years ago to see if the way we use it has changed, if the amount we use it has changed and if the meaning and function behind "lol" has changed. These comments here are taken from my personal Myspace account. As you can see all the comments are between 5 and 6 years old. I believe they are relevant to my research because I instantly saw an increase in the use of "lol" over a smaller span of comments than on the One Direction fan forum website. I will be using more material like this for my research to get an insight into how "lol" was used by teenagers several years ago. Ethics As I am using my old Myspace account to find appropriate comments there are some things I need to be aware of:
the anonymity of comments
- although I accessed the pictures via Google and therefore didn't have to log in to access them and do not need permission from the people who commented, it is still important to keep the comments anonymous. You can see on the previous slide that names and pictures have been blocked out.
In regards to the fan forum sites, they are completely public and available to anyone so anonymity is not as big an issue here.. Hypothesis I predict that I will see a decline in the use of the word "lol" over the years but I also expect more varients of "lol" to be used in more recent times. I also expect to discover that "lol" and other netspeak terms are not a hindrance to the English Language as first thought. Kwong,T.E, Pugh,N, Routledge,L, Sumida-Mcdonald,H & Varnhagen, C.K. (2010). Lol: New Language and Spelling in Instant Messaging. Reading and Writing. 23 (6), 719-733. Denis,D & Tagliamonte, S.A. (2008). Linguistic Ruin? LOL! Instant Messaging and Teen Language. American Speech. 83 (1), 3-27 Morgan, J. (2011). Why did LOL Infiltrate the Language?. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12893416. Last accessed 12th March 2013. http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/one-direction/links/16203167/title/one-direction-fans-forum Last accessed 12th March 2013. http://www.topix.com/forum/band/onedirection/T8A8N8D2JVHO1CLE1 Last accessed 12th March 2013. http://www.myspace.com/tann_xx/photos/albums/my-photos/40067#%7B%22ImageId%22%3A2295327%7D Last accessed 12th March 2013. Comparing and contrasting "lol" varients, usage and purpose from present day and as far back as I can source (see examples of data collected so far on next slide)
Constructing tables and charts to make the data collection results easier to understand.
Using theorist's knowledge of this area to analyse my data and either support it or oppose it.
Use opposing opinions about whether netspeak like "lol" has caused a help or a hindrance to the English Language. Opposing views will help me to attain a fair, balanced overview and come to an objective conclusion. For example Crystal's View ( for netspeak) vs Baron's View (against netspeak
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