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‘Although the boundaries can blur, there are basically five different forms of internet chat:: telnet[1], IRC[2], web chat[3], direct chat[4], and world chat[5].  All of these mediums are different ways of allowing people from all other the world to come together and interact and interact on a real-time basis.’ (Cyberdude[6])

The language frontier: Chatrooms as the beginning and end of language.

 

With the wide availability and increase in devices to receive and relay text messages, languages have become the latest frontier in communication.  Language is perhaps the biggest remaining hindrance to any interaction online. The Internet has made the world a global village, with English as the lingua franca of cyberspace, but the numbers of non-English speakers and those who don't share English as their first language are rising rapidly and will soon overtake the number of native English speakers. One of the fastest growing non-English speaking Internet communities is in China, where Web sites are springing up in local languages faster than ever before.

 

According to IDC, the number of people accessing the Internet in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan is expected to reach more than 200 million by 2003. There are also more Web sites specific to Spanish speakers found online as well as other Asian and European languages. Not surprisingly, all these people prefer talking in chatrooms in their native language. However there is a way for interaction between people of different language by using automated translating services. There are already a number of these on the Internet and perhaps the most famous is AltaVista's Babel Fish site, which boasts high accuracy and has a growing number of users. The name Babel Fish stems from a fictional device (a small fish) which intergalactic travellers put into their ears to understand any language. The Babel Fish translator was dreamt up by Douglas Adams in his novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

 

 

Whether we use Halliday’s (1994: 68-71) approach to interaction from a functional-semantic perspective; or Crystal’s (1992: 409) listing of theoretical approaches to grammatical analysis (Case grammar, Relational grammar, X-bar (x) grammar, Montague grammar, Generalised phrase structure grammar, Functional grammar, Realistic grammar, and Network grammar (2). (which may be the closest to the study of on-line grammar using emoticons and abbreviations)

 

 

notes and references

 



[1] Telnet is the oldest, and uses a type of software that allows you to log on to another computer and use it directly via your own computer.  This was originally for accessing university databases etc but is now used mainly for chatting.   These involve incorporation of role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons.  There are two types of telnet - MUD (Multi-User Dungeons (or Dimensions) and MOO - (Multi-user Object-Orientated) with differ in only minor respects.  Both allow many different users to converge and meet in a virtual space on a single server .  The interface is just a basic text screen, there being no scope for fancy graphics and so on. (Cyberdude6)

[2] IRC - Internet Relay Chat - allows many users on a network of linked servers at different locations around the world to converge in one "room" or "channel" and have a discussion, similar to a conference call or telephone party line.   Most IRC programs also allow funny little graphics and sound files. (Cyberdude6)

[3] Web chat is a term that can be used to describe any real-time chat that is run off a website and can be accessed through a standard web-browser like Netscape Communicator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.  These are generally slower than IRC, due to the web’s greater bandwidth requirements. (Cyberdude6)

[4] Direct chat involves chat programs that allow you to connect to a friend or group of friends directly, instead of meeting on a server as in Telnet and IRC.  Many of these (such as the very popular ICQ) can just be left to run in the background on your desktop, so your friend can page you when he or she comes online, or let a group of people chat together.  Depending on the program, they can use voice (PowWow), video (Intel video phone), and/or shared whiteboard (for freehand drawing - e.g. Microsoft Netmeeting) as well as text. (Cyberdude6)

[5] Direct chat involves chat programs that allow you to connect to a friend or group of friends directly, instead of meeting on a server as in Telnet and IRC.  Many of these (such as the very popular ICQ) can just be left to run in the background on your desktop, so your friend can page you when he or she comes online, or let a group of people chat together.  Depending on the program, they can use voice (PowWow), video (Intel video phone), and/or shared whiteboard (for freehand drawing - e.g. Microsoft Netmeeting) as well as text. (Cyberdude6)

[6] IRC on AustNet - an example of a virtual community (9485 words 22 pages) Cyberrdewd 'This essay looks at the developing world of virtual or cyberspace communities, with specific reference to IRC on the AustNet servers. My qualifications in this area are based on five months experience as an "internet junkie", this being the amount of time I have had my new computer and hence been on the Internet ;-) I focus specifically on IRC community on AustNet becuse this is the network I regularly access. The essay concludes with a few imaginative speculations regarding the future of digital communities'. http://members.aol.com/Cybersoc/is2cyberdude.html LAST ACCESSED ON-LINE Tuesday, 14 November 2000 (15)

Conversational Analysis of Chat Room Talk PHD thesis by Dr. Terrell Neuage  University of South Australia National Library of Australia.

THESIShome ~ Abstract.html/pdf ~ Glossary.html/pdfIntroduction.html/pdf  ~ methodology.html/pdf  ~ literature review.html/pdfCase Study 1.html/pdf~ 2.html/pdf~ 3.html/pdf~  4.html/pdf~ 5.html/pdf~  6.html/pdf~  7.html/pdf~ discussion.html/pdf  ~ conclusion.html~ postscipt.html/pdf~ O*D*A*M.html/pdf~ Bibliography.html/pdf~  911~ thesis-complete.htm/~ Terrell Neuage Home Appendixes  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.  DATA ~ Case Study   1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ These links are from early notes and not the final edits which are in the published version available at the University of South Australia only. Not all links are active due to changing domains. Home page see http://neuage.co