There are many researches who are or have investigated why people use chatrooms. I am interested in what happens on a linguistic level in chatrooms. It is through linguistics, the use of words that we establish and create and interpret meaning. I am not concerned with gender, age, nationality, and race or beliefs of people in a turn-taking situation. It is what is said that conveys the message. The words of the person is paramount. What they look like or are wearing or what day of the week it is does not matter.
For example, in the case study ‘ball-chat’ there is this exchange:
<smith-eric> cinni has already changed rules for jr.
<Pizza2man> he'll hit sixty in cincy...maybe sixty five
What do we know from this? Do we know what the user ‘smith-eric’ was wearing, how old the person was, their gender, beliefs, nationality, location, race, whether they were blind, had one leg, was on the Cover of Playboy last month, or on the FBI’s most-wanted, are they writing from a hospital, prison, in the dessert, or on a houseboat? We don’t even know if ‘smith-eric’ knows ‘Pizza2man’ or likes or dislikes this person. When we analysis this chatroom dialogue I will have a lot to say on this turn taking but none of it will be based on what we usually base our communication on.
Conversational Analysis of Chat Room Talk PHD thesis by Dr. Terrell Neuage University of South Australia National Library of Australia.
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