Conversational Analysis of Chatroom ‘talk’  in Hurricane Floyd chatroom updated 19/07/01 14:17 PM (Murray River Houseboat)

Ř     previous page methodology http://se.unisa.edu.au/phd/one/method.htm

Ř     notes and references for ‘analysis’ section

 

 

Note:1 This document reflects the opinions and ideas of Terrell Neuage who is solely responsible for its content. The contents of this document are copyrighted to Terrell Neuage (copyright (©) 2001). Please recognise that this document is only a draft of a PhD thesis at the University of South Australia to be published at a later date.

 

Note:2 Chatrooms in this thesis refer to text based chatrooms and not electronic Internet based chatrooms which can be used with voice and videocams.

 

 

ANALYSIS OF STORM     -

A.     Using Reception and Reader-Response Theory

B.     Reading Theory       <o:p></o:p>

 

 

I will begin my analysis of Storm using ‘Reception and Reader-Response Theory’. 

 

Comprehension and dialogue in ‘Storm’ will be viewed from a holistic form, rather than as a series of fragmented components. To communicate through a chatroom has different requirements than face-to-face dialogue, and by looking at several of how these requirements work together I hope to show how meaning is established in ‘Storm’.

 

Before we isolate this particular chatroom we will show how we need certain requirements to begin with any chatroom discussion.

 

Firstly, readers of chatroom ‘talk’ need a means in which to communicate such as a computer, or other transmission device. Currently mobile phones, Palm Computers, Laptop computers as well as desktop computers are used in chatroom dialogue. Communicating via chatroom is available in many airports worldwide, as well as on planes, trains, buses and ships and within shopping centres, restaurants. The growing availability will mean that eventually it will be as common to chat via computers and easy as making a phone call.   The difference being that more than one person is engaged in conversation in a chatroom situation.

 

Secondly, one must have different skills and strategies in order to participate in chat talk than one would need in face-to-face conversation.  As well there are certain requirements to accomplish face-to-face conversation that is not needed to converse electronically.

 

The overt processes involved in language - the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking change their focus in a chatroom. Electronic conversation is carried on most successfully through a process-task approach. The emphasis is put on reading and writing and the processes of listening and speaking are done through text on the screen we are reading from. Quite simply put, a person who cannot read nor type cannot participate in a text-based chatroom.

 

Each of the process-tasks of reading and writing are composed of component sub-skills. Grabe(1992:50-3) lists six in particular in the case of reading. These are: 1) the perceptual automatic recognition skill; 2) linguistic skills; 3) knowledge and skills of discourse structure and organisation; 4)knowledge of the world; 5) synthetic and critical evaluation skills; 6)metalinguistic knowledge and skills.[1]  Below I will use each of these sub-skills in the anaylsis of  ‘Storm’.

 

One of the features of ‘Reception and Reader-Response Theory’ as I am using it in chatrooms is that it shows how a reader brings certain assumptions to a text based on the interpretive strategies he/she has brought to a particular community. The community here is the Internet community and every chatroom is an individual textual based social community. Interpretation of the text will depend on the perceived purpose or dynamics or sphere of the chatroom community. The ‘talk’ within a community can at times be ‘policed’ by others within the chatroom.  For example, a ‘speaker’ maybe harassed into either conforming or leaving a chatroom if their talk is inappropriate for that room.

 

A mild form of this is present in the lines I will be working with in this first section. The ‘speaker’, <SWMPTHNG>  in turns 105 and 115 is starting a process of getting the chatroom interested in talking about Mexican roofers.  The ‘speaker’ <Zardiw> in turn 123 makes a short sharp comment to let <SWMPTHNG> know that his/her line of dialogue are not necessarily appropriate.  Of course this is a very mild rebuttal compared to when several participators push a person out.  An example of this can be found in a chatroom where a voice appearing as a rude-male has entered and is harassing a room of females who do not want the male impute. Then the voices become more harsh and attack the ‘intruder’ until he leaves.

 

105       <SWMPTHNG>          YOU AINT TALKING ABOUT MEX ROOFERS ARE YOU?

 

115       <SWMPTHNG>          i SAW A BUS LOAD HEADING ACROSS THE GEORGIA STATE LINE THIS MORNING

 

 

123               <Zardiw>                          smptthing................go back to your SWAMP

 

 

 

This particular group of words will be isolated later for other analysis.

 

Reading Theory      

The first task in understanding meaning within a chatroom is through the reading of the text. My first section of this analysis will focus on Reading Theory.  Reading Theory is important for the interpretation of the text.  The next task is to create a response to the reading of the text through typing a text.[2] 

 

The following lines 97 – 131 have been isolated from the STORM chatroom.  In table 1 below is the turn-taking as it appears before looking for a thread of conversation to interpret.

 

TABLE 1

  1. B/   1j.  <EMT-Calvin> /\75 >22   folks need to be careful for con artest after the storm
  1. B/   20b. <davesbraves>       20 mi. south of raleigh here
  1. G/   31a. <ger3355>                where is that at werblessed?
  1. G/ 17c.   <guest-mandy> /\96  werblessed where are you
  1. C/ 4g.    <Kitteigh-Jo>       hi jojo
  1. B/ 25b.   <KBabe1974> /\97 >5 i agree with emt-calvin
  1. B/8g.    <guest-MoreheadCityNC>    /\ 97 >5 Fortunately our best friend is a roofer!
  1. B/15f.    <playball14> /\97 >7     everybody out for a buck unfortuneately
  1. F/ 14g. <SWMPTHNG>       YOU AINT TALKING ABOUT MEX ROOFERS ARE YOU?
  1. D/ 6h. <ankash>     /\94 >12  Hi guest JoJo......I'm from Wilmington, the hurricane bullseye.
  1. 11k.      <KikoV>             you mean carpet baggers
  1. 23d.      <lookout4110>       ankash is alot of Wilmington flooded?
  1. 24b.      <guest-Jojo>             Hi
  1. 3h. <Werblessed>        In Bladen County Outside of White Lake
  1. 16c.      <guest-sweetthing> the wind feels good and we turned air off and opened windows here
  1. 1k. <EMT-Calvin>        i aint worried our new 99 home is under warrentyu
  1. 26a.      <mcend5177>         how is everyone? is everyone safe?
  1. 17d.       <guest-mandy>           where is that
  1. 14h.      <SWMPTHNG>          i SAW A BUS LOAD HEADING ACROSS THE GEORGIA STATE LINE THIS MORNING
  1. 20c.      <davesbraves>       blessed...sampson co.?
  1. 6i. <ankash>            Right many roads are closed! Many streets are unpassable.
  1. 1l. <EMT-Calvin>        morehead guess how many tie downs are on here
  1. 11l.      <KikoV>             we got gun laws to deal with them.........
  1. 16d. <guest-sweetthing>      i am safe here I hope we live in a doublewide
  1. 1m.  <EMT-Calvin>       68 tie downs
  1. 24c.      <guest-Jojo>             I know the anxiety you must be feeling~I was in two typhoons in Taiwan last year
  1. 27a. <Zardiw>                smptthing................go back to your SWAMP
  1. 8h. <guest-MoreheadCityNC>   phone call brb
  1. 30a.      <guest-kodiak>           does anyone know why UNCC has not closed
  1. 16e.       <guest-sweetthing>      where is floyd now
  1. 13c.       <JEWELLADY>        ankash hows the wind there?
  1. 24d. <guest-Jojo>       pretty freaky
  1. 3i. <Werblessed>        I have doublewide we got out..
  1. 16f.      <guest-sweetthing>       I am kinda scared b/c of wind
  1. 14i. <SWMPTHNG>         WHAT AABOUT THE CONTRACTORS WHO HIRE THEM?? THEY OUGHT TO BE TRIED FOR TREASON DURING A NATIONAL EMERGENCY LIKE THIS

 

 

In table 2 the turn-takings which are on the particular topic of Mexican roofers has been isolated.

 

 

 

TABLE 2

  1. B/   1j.  <EMT-Calvin> /\75 >22   folks need to be careful for con artest after the storm
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1. B/ 25b. <KBabe1974> /\97 >5   i agree with emt-calvin
  1. B/8g. <guest-MoreheadCityNC>  /\ 97 >5 Fortunately our best friend is a roofer!
  1. B/15f.    <playball14> /\97 >7    everybody out for a buck unfortuneately
  1. F/ 14g. <SWMPTHNG>       YOU AINT TALKING ABOUT MEX ROOFERS ARE YOU?
  1.  
  1. 11k.      <KikoV>             you mean carpet baggers
  1.     
  1.     
  1.  
  1.     
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1. 14h.      <SWMPTHNG>          i SAW A BUS LOAD HEADING ACROSS THE GEORGIA STATE LINE THIS MORNING
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1. 14i. <SWMPTHNG>         WHAT AABOUT THE CONTRACTORS WHO HIRE THEM?? THEY OUGHT TO BE TRIED FOR TREASON DURING A NATIONAL EMERGENCY LIKE THIS

 

 

READING THEORY APPLIED TO CHATROOM ‘TALK’ OF storm

 

 

1)     the perceptual automatic recognition skill

2)     linguistic skills

3)     knowledge and skills of discourse structure and organization

4)     knowledge of the world

5)     synthetic and critical evaluation skills

6)     metalinguistic knowledge and skills

 

 

Several theorists and writer I will borrow from in my exploration of chatroom talk are Umberto Eco (1979, 1986, 1995), J. Kristeva (1980) and Michael Payne (1993).

 

Kristeva (1980, 1986) builds on the works of Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Bakhtin to examine the speaking subject and the signifying structures of social practice. It is Kristeva's work on intertextuality which is useful in this study of Internet "conversations".

Kristeva (1986) charts a three-dimensional textual space whose three "coordinates of dialogue' are:

1. the writing subject

2. the addressee (or ideal reader)

3. exterior texts

Kristeva describes this textual space as intersecting planes which have horizontal and vertical axes.

"The word's status is thus defined horizontally (the word in the text belongs to both writing subject and addressee) as well as vertically (the word in the text is orientated towards an anterior or synchronic literary corpus) ... each word (text) is an intersection of words (texts) where at least one other word (text) can be read ... any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another." (p. 37)

 

Essentially, every text is informed by other texts which the reader has read, and the reader's own cultural context. The simplest articulation of intertextuality can be seen in the footnotes that indicate source materials to which a given text is alluding, or which are known to have influenced the author. A constructive hypertext can make this notion of intertextuality an externally accessible "mosaic" of multiple texts, placing the internal connections about which Kristeva theorizes into a visible forum which can be expanded by each subsequent reader.

My own work seeks to extend Kristeva's modelling of the layering of text, into the ever more complex and shifting systems of talk-texts. By combining her highly theorised models with the analysis of conversation and discourse linguistics, I hope to establish both a theory-rich, and methodologically complex, means of analysing contemporary electronic talk-culture.

A SEMIOTIC MODEL FOR NATURAL LANGUAGE

     Eco (1995) states that natural language (or any other semiotic system) is articulated at two levels: the expression-plane and the content-plane. On the expression-plane, 'natural languages consists of a lexicon, a phonology and a syntax'. The concepts which we can express are on the content-plane (Eco, 1995 pp 20-24). Eco further subdivides these two planes into 'Form, Substance and Continuum'. How we think and express ourselves, according to Eco, is dependent on our 'content-form'.

 

 

 

 [1] . Thread – A line of conversation

 

 

 

 



[1]. McCarthy, Ciarán P. Reading Theory as a Microcosm of the Four Skills. http://indigo.ie/~sdblang/personal/papers/reading.htm  accessed Tuesday, 22 January 2002

[2]. Further references to Reception and Reader-Response Theory can be linked from http://www.geocities.com/kristisiegel/theory.htm - Reception and Reader-Response accessed Tuesday, 22 January 2002