“Facebook Style”: The Use of Emoticons and Graphic Signs by Users in the Cape Flats

Chariatte, Nadine (2014). “Facebook Style”: The Use of Emoticons and Graphic Signs by Users in the Cape Flats. In: Arua, Arua E.; Abioye, Taiwo; Ayoola, Kehinde A. (eds.) Language, Literature and Style in Africa: A Festschrift for Professor Christopher Olatunji Awonuga (pp. 62-84). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

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Over the last few years Facebook has become a widespread and continuously expanding medium of communication in Africa and worldwide. Being a new medium of social interaction, Facebook produces its own communication style. It is a style conditioned by the medium and the community of users. My focus of analysis is how Facebook users from the city of Cape Town create this style by means of emoticons and other graphic signs in order to reflect the reality of living in Cape Town’s underprivileged areas. This study is based on a theoretical framework which combines sociolinguistics with Computer-Mediated-Communication to study the emergence of a style peculiar of the online social networks. In a corpus of Coloured Facebook users from the Cape Flats, I have analysed the emergence of emoticons and other graphic signs related to Capetonian gang culture and then tracked the spread of these features to the extensive use by users not related to gangs. It can be deduced that in this process the analysed features amplify their meaning and are employed in a much broader context as their original use. Due to the development and spread of these features we can consider the peculiar electronic communication of Facebook as a style constrained by the electronic medium and its users. It is a style which serves the users to create social meaning and to express their linguistic identities.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Spanish Languages and Literature > Linguistic Studies
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Spanish Languages and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Chariatte, Nadine

Subjects:

400 Language > 460 Spanish & Portuguese languages

ISBN:

978-1-4438-7044-3

Publisher:

Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Language:

English

Submitter:

Nadine Chariatte

Date Deposited:

12 Jan 2015 11:53

Last Modified:

12 Jan 2015 11:53

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.61404

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/61404

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