CHAPTER body of knowledge. 2.2 Related Studies A

CHAPTER TWO 2.0 REVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE2.1 IntroductionIn this Chapter, a review of studies related to the topic under investigation is undertaken to reveal the relevance of such studies to this present one. This Chapter sets the theoretical foundation for the research and puts the current investigation into perspective with a view to revealing the extent of work that has been done by other scholars in this field of interest. This review combines summary and synthesis as well as discursive evaluation of the materials relevant to the research objectives. The purpose is to harness ideas and evidence in the literature as a basis to justify the approach to the topic in focus and the selection of methods, as well as to demonstrate that the research contributes something new to the vast area of literature. Levy,Y & Ellis T.

J. (2006:172) are of the view that an effective literature review should encapsulate four major criteria: (i) a methodologically analysed and synthesized quality literature (ii) a firmly provided foundation to a research topic (iii) a firm provision for the foundation to the selection of research methodology, and (iv) a demonstration that the proposed research contributes something new to the overall body of knowledge.2.2 Related Studies A wide range of scholarly writings was reviewed for this research, covering essentially three main aspects of this research: non-native English varieties, communicative strategies (CS) and new media discourse, with emphasis on social media. The reviewed works on non-native English varieties include: Standards, Codification and Sociolinguistic Realism: The English Language in the Outer Circle (Kachru, B.

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, 1985, 1990,1992, 2005); Asian Englishes Beyond the Canon (Kachru, 2005); Varieties of English in Current English Language Teaching (Bieswanger, 2008). From the Angle of Communication Strategies, the reviewed works include: Communication Strategies in the Written Medium, (Xhaferi, 2012); Techniques to Communication Strategies, (Maleki, 2010); Communication Strategies in the Written Medium: The Effect of Language Proficiency, (Aliakbari and Allvar, 2009); Communication Strategies and Foreign Language Learning, (Zhang, 2007); On the Teachability of Communication Strategies, (Dornyei, 1995); Communication Strategies: A Psychological Analysis of Second Language Use, (Bialystok, 1990); Strategies in Interlanguage Communication, (Faerch and Kasper,1983) and Conscious Communication Strategies in Interlanguage, (Tarone,1977). The works reviewed under Social media are: Humour in Microblogging: Exploiting Linguistic Humour Strategies for Identity Construction in Two Facebook Focus Groups, (Locher, and Bolander, 2015); Networked Multilingualism: Some Language Practices on Facebook and their Implications, (Androutsopoulos, 2013); The Linguistics of Social Networking: A Study of Writing Conventions on Facebook (Perez-Sabater, 2012); Functions of the Non-Verbal in CMC: Emoticons and Illocutionary Force, (Dresner and Herring, 2010); The Impact of Electronic Communication on Written Language, (Mohd, Hamzah and Saifuddin, 2009); A Faceted Classification Scheme for Computer-Mediated Discourse, (Herring, 2007) and Language and the Internet, (Crystal, 2006). The studies were reviewed for the purposes of identifying their breadth of coverage, points of intersection with this current research, their findings and aspects inadequately explored.

2.3 Language and CommunicationSeveral attempts made by scholars to concisely and effectively define language have resulted in a plethora of deductions which seems to situate the phenomenon as not being adequately definable. At its very essence, language can be defined as a tool used for the communication of meaning. Language, as a communicative instrument, can be broadly classified into the spoken and written forms. Exploring language from the point of its meaning potential, Cruse (2000: 18) posits that meaning is only sensible in the context of communication which provides a credible starting point for the exploration of meaning.According to Ford, C., Fox, B.

and S. Thompson (2002:3), ‘Language can work as the chief means by which human beings communicate their thoughts to one another.’ Language, in this sense, is seen as the basic instrument of thought used in the achievement of certain processed goals set by humans.

Falk (1991:3) believes that the investigation of any language should demonstrate that it is extremely complex, highly abstract and an infinitely productive mechanism that is meaning-oriented, starting with the sounds of the language and extending to other levels of language descriptions. Apparently, one important property of language captured by Falk is its productiveness which is a direct consequence of usage. Although the rules that govern language usage are few, the number of ways in which language can be appropriately combined is infinite because the rules lend themselves easily to manipulation. In this case, language is said to be highly creative and productive in nature. Drawing upon the connection between language and communication, one finds that the meaningfulness of a communicative exchange is contingent upon people’s everyday use of language in a given context. Situating language as a system type, Halliday (1978: 2) posits that, language is a system of meaning- a semiotic system….

A system of meaning is one by which meaning is contrived and exchanged in a given social context. Halliday shares the same view with Fox when he states further that: A language is almost the most complicated semiotic system we have; it is also a fuzzy one, both in the sense that its own limits are unclear and in the sense that its internal organisation is full of indeterminacy.Despite pointing out all the ‘assumed’ limitations of the language phenomenon, Halliday (3) notes that of all semiotic systems, language is the greatest source of power because its potential are infinitely large and it has the ability to match in scope all transformations that characterise the material condition of man’s existence. Basically, language is a vehicle used for the actualisation of meaning in speech or writing. People use language to achieve interactional and transactional goals as noted by Brown and Yule (2007:16) and through language; individuals establish social identities and relationships. In this research, language, a tool of communication and a means of maintaining and sustaining social interactions, is examined against the backdrop of how it is strategically managed in the meaning-making process by non-native English users in social media interactions. The communicative and functional essence of language which forms the major thrust of this research is encapsulated in the words of Thompson (2004:30) who states that:We use language to talk about our experience of the world, including the worlds in our minds, to describe events and states and the entities involved in them. We use language to interact with other people, to establish and maintain relations with them, to influence their behaviour, to express our own viewpoint on things in the world, and to elicit or change theirs.

Indeed, analysing any form of social interaction, especially discourse on an electronic platform can provide some insight into the communicative objectives, beliefs about the world and the attempts by individuals to communicate using available linguistic resources informed by both the means and medium of communication, which Eggins (1994:9) summarised as ‘the impact of dimensions of the immediate context situation of a language event on the way language is used’. The dimensions being examined by the scholar capture the concepts of intentionality, style and medium of expression. All of these have some effect on the communication strategy and language application, and it follows that context and availability of linguistic resources can affect the choices made by language users. The essence of language, to a large extent, lies in its significance as a vehicle of communication and a means of maintaining social cohesion. Language is unique because it defines all human interactions, actions and sometimes inactions. Atkins (2005:21) mentions that ‘language is integral to our culture; it helps each of us define ourselves’. Adetugbo (1984) as quoted in Uzoezie (1992:13) had earlier stated that, ‘It is language that defines man’s humanity … all human societies and institutions are made possible only by man’s possession of language.

‘ Indeed, the functions of language appertain to the ultimate development of the human society. The conception of language as a symbol of identification is premised on the fact that it is one of the most telling indices of group identities because through it every human society defines itself, by what it excludes and enriches itself by what it includes. To this end, language becomes a medium of social inclusion and exclusion (Kembo and Webb 2000:77-8; Babajide, 2000:1).

Language, as a phenomenon against whose backdrop every other thing is measured, studies of its underlying forces, from different perspectives, should provide scholars with vast areas of exploration and new findings. As a veritable communication tool and regulator of human societies, its vicissitudes and ever-evolving dynamics are clearly demonstrable in interpersonal interactions. Communication is achieved through effective linguistic and non-linguistic deployment (strategies), and since language is the nexus for the actualisation of meaning, developmental transformations in it are evident in the media through which communication is achieved. Therefore, meaning deployments in written communication reflect not only what is communicated but also how it is communicated in the context of non-native English interactions on social media.2.4 Written Communication and its Cultural DimensionOne of the defining characteristics of human beings lies in their ability to communicate meaning to others concerning every aspect of their activity, and every normal person achieves this exchange of information by both auditory and visual sensory stimulations and perceptions (Cruttenden, 2001:88). Communication in writing is the attempt to graphically represent speech and this constitutes one of the complex systems of human communication. Unarguably, every human language operates through a system of conventionalised inscriptions, letters or symbols which represents the values of sounds in a given language.

To this end, the Arabic, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and English have different writing systems which serve as distinctive ways of representing sounds in their languages. In the words of Crystal (1992:257), writing is seen as:A way of communicating which uses a system of visual works on some kind of surface. It is one kind of graphic expression ( other kinds include drawing, musical notation and mathematical formulae)… the graphic marks represent, with varying degree regularity, individual soundsIt is obvious that the communicative and representative functions of writing are highlighted in the above statement. In the communicative function of a writing system, the marks are distinct and meaningful both to the encoder and decoder of the message.

In the representative function, however, as with the musical notations and the mathematical formulae, meaning may be hampered and the communication goal not easily achieved if the signs are strange to a decoder.The opinion held by Cruttenden of writing is that it is inadequate and a misleading representation of the spoken form of the language of today and warns that if people are to examine the essence of English, the approach should be through the spoken rather than the written form. This argument raises the issue of the absence of a one to one correspondence between the sounds of a language and the letters used to represent them, and the irregular nature of English orthography.

Notwithstanding this incongruence, the role of writing to human language development remains undeniably complementary as it has contributed to the development of language and civilisation in general (Unsworth, Sorace and Young-Scholtan 2006). Again, since every language has two forms, the essence of any linguistic investigation should be the dual approach in order to account for its present-day uses and forms. On why the writing system evolved, Saxby (1990:42) observes that as communication developed, the need to store large volumes of information became imperative and writing came to the rescue.

Despite all the arguments against the writing system, it is obvious that its existence has made linguistic studies and language analyses easier to document. A diachronic as well as a synchronic study of the phenomenon can be carried out on the writing system since within a language; a variety can emerge as result of technological advancements in the system of communication.Communication involves all the possible methods by which information can get to a destination from a source in an organised way and through channels that are recognised and accepted by those in the communication process (Uzoezie,1992:10).This definition captures the systematic, symbolic and interactive nature of communication. However, it leaves out the feedback element probably because it is assumed that ‘feedback in machine-assisted communication is somewhat limited’ (Dominick, 2012:8).

Carey (2009:10) explores culture as the basis for communication. His view of communication from a cultural standpoint situates it as ‘a symbolic process whereby reality is reproduced, maintained, repaired, and transformed.’ He then argues by his definition that communication and reality are intricately linked since communication is a process embedded in everyday living and provides insight into the way people perceive, understand and construct their views of reality in their cultures.

As Martin-Barbero (1993:187) has observed, communication has become the meeting point of many conflicting and integrating forces, and the centre of the debate ‘has shifted from media to mediation,’ especially ‘the articulation of different tempos of development with the plurality of cultural matrices’.Communication can occur via various methods, adopted forms and styles. Based on the forms, communication can be classified as verbal and non-verbal.

Verbal communication includes the spoken and the written forms whereas the non-verbal includes paralanguage, kinesics, proxemics, facial expressions, visuals, diagrams and several others which serve communicative purposes. Written communication, which is the thrust of research, can assume different forms such as those carried out on the electronic interface reinforced by the Internet. Indeed, the effectiveness of written communication depends on the style of writing, communicative clarity and precision. Based on the style of communication, there may be two categories of communication- formal and the informal, and the electronic medium belongs to the informal category. Informal writing is not only an activity on social media but also the life-support mechanism of cyber culture. It provides the stimulating atmosphere for the fertilisation, generation and transmission of new-fangled expressions, neologisms and strategies of communication.2.

5 Communication Strategies in Written CommunicationCommunication needs are varied and equally unpredictable. One of the ways of overcoming them is through the effective use of strategies. The term Communication Strategies henceforth (CS) was first coined and introduced by Selinker (1972) in his seminal article titled ‘Interlanguage’.

He identified the use of CS as one of the five central processes in language learning. He first used the term to refer to one of the processes responsible for producing interlanguage errors by defining CS as the learner’s identifiable approach to communicate with native speakers. Usually, such strategies become necessary when the limited resources of language users make it difficult for them to express their intended meaning. Ever since CS was introduced, many important contributions have broadened the scope of this field and have identified it as one of the major areas of scholarly interest within Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research. Extensive research has also been carried out on CS in the area of Second Language Teaching and has also been incorporated into Modern Language Teaching (Maleki, 2010:640; Aliakbari and Allvar, 2009:3; Zhang, 2007:43).As earlier stated, drawing credence from the scholarly investigations by Aliabkari (2009: 4) and Manchon (2000:13), CS by non-native users of English in the spoken medium have received more attention both theoretically and empirically than CS in the written medium.

The attention given to some cover terms such as error analysis, writing strategy, dictionary use and several other nomenclatures does not truly provide a deep insight into CS in writing. In agreement with these scholars, Xhaferi (2012:121) avers that CS involve the effective employment of verbal and non-verbal mechanism for the productive communication of information but maintains that the concept of CS with written production has been concretised theoretically, while few studies have been devoted to the empirical investigation of this concept in the written tradition.Aliakbari and Allvar (2009) examine CS in the written medium by pitting it against language proficiency in the argumentative writing of Iranian students. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used in their analysis of the data.

Their findings, from the quantitative analysis, reveal that with higher language proficiency the rate of reconceptualisation strategies used by the participants increased and the rate of substitution strategies decreased while from the qualitative angle, the participants regarded reconceptualisation strategies more useful than substitution strategies. They conclude that teaching CS to lower-proficiency students can enhance their performance and in such situations, reconceptualisation strategies should be emphasised. Maya (1999:1) has argued in his work that language and effective communication are integral to the developmental success of a nation and that it is imperative that language syllabi be included at all levels of teaching, especially at the tertiary level.

He emphasises teaching functional communicative strategies as a means by which communicative intentions can be lucidly conveyed. Bou-Franch (1999) conducted a study that included some Spanish learners of English. She adopted a quantitative approach to data analysis which was elicited from oral interlanguage. The aim of the study was to identify the relationship between CS and topic sequencing. The findings of the study show that communication strategy use can be affected by an important factor of the communicative situation, especially the topic of discourse.

She suggested that further research is needed to establish other ways that the communicative context affects the use of CS. This is one of the gaps that this presents research has identified and has filled. According to Maleki (2010: 640), ‘A CS is an individual’s attempt to find a way to fill the gap between their communicative effort and available and immediate linguistic resources.’ Tarone (1981) describes communicative strategies as:Systematic attempts by the learner to express and decode meanings in the target language in situations where the appropriate systematic target language used have not been formed. Communicative strategies therefore serve to compensate for the inadequacies of speakers and listeners in the target language, which is be used. There is a theoretical assumption that CS can be investigated in both the spoken or written forms, with no marked obvious differences. This research investigates this theoretical path empirically, exploring the written interactions of non-native users of English on an electronic interface, with a view to validating or refuting the theoretical claim.One of the most important differences that influence non-native interactions is the varied adoption of linguistic strategies.

These strategies are classified into two in Second Language Analysis, namely learning and communication strategies. Brown (2000:87) writes that while communication is the output modality, learning is the input modality and further stresses that CS are used by second language users as well as native speakers to manage production problems. Similarly, Ellis (1995:60) points out that:As anyone who has tried to communicate in L2 knows, learners frequently experience some problems in saying what they want to say because of their inadequate knowledge. In order to overcome those problems, they resort to various kinds of CS.CS relate not only to the spoken medium but also to the written medium even though Ellis’ view tends to support the view that CS are directly connected to problems associated with speech production. Brown (2000) believes that:A learning strategy is a method of perceiving and storing particular items for later recall.

A communication strategy is a method of achieving communication, of encoding or expressing meaning in a language. The two types of strategies are quite different in their manifestation. (83)CS are further conceptualised as problem-solving mechanics consciously geared toward ‘balancing’ the imbalance between ends and means typical of the productive use of language (Manchon, 2000:141; Curkovic, 2007:270). Maleki’s view of CS seems to subtly suggest that it is a means exploited by both native and non-native users of a given language to harness the limited resources of language in an attempt to overcome communication problems. Manchon differs in his opinion.

He stresses that CS are necessitated by the obvious imbalance between ends (intentionality) and means (methodology), which non-native language users consciously and productively adopt as possible solution-yielding means in communication. Bialystok (1990:1), while acknowledging communication imbalances faced by language users, admits that the ease and fluency with which people navigate their way through one idea to another in the first language is circumscribed by some gap in the knowledge of a second language. This statement tends to agree with the one made by Manchon (2000) that CS are the lot of second language users and are made manifest in such contexts.

However, O’Malley and Chamot (1990:43) are different in their view. They point out that CS are particularly imperative, ‘in negotiating meaning where either linguistic structures or sociolinguistic rules are not shared between a second language learner and a speaker of a target language’. This assertion underlines the point that CS are speech-bound deployments which exist because of the inherent structural voids at linguistic intersections where meaning is negotiated or transmitted. Stating overtly or covertly that CS appertain to second language communicative efforts, they choose not to mention that even native speakers of a language sometimes also ‘struggle’ to make up for linguistic inadequacies in their languages. The juxtaposition of four definitions relating to CS in Bialystok’s book, Communicative Strategies: A Psychological Analysis of Second Language Use published in 1990 provides more defining insight into the concept around which this research revolves. 1.

A systematic technique employed by a speaker to express his meaning when faced with some difficulty (Corder,1977)2. A mutual attempts of two interlocutors to agree on a meaning in situation where requisite meaning structures are not shared (Tarone, 1980)3. Potentially conscious plans for solving what to an individual presents itself as a problem in reaching a particular communicative goals( Faerch & Kasper, 1983a)4. Techniques of coping with difficulties in communicating in an imperfectly known second language (Stern, 1983).The above definitions reveal, in varying measures, the main thrust of CS which is the application of techniques in the hope of solving communication problems. Corder’s (1977) and Tarone’s (1980) definitions share the participant feature in common; they mirror the spoken medium in their definitions, hence their choice of the lexical terms ‘speaker’ and “interlocutor’ respectively.

However, Corder’s definition seems to create a visual perspective of a non-native speaker while Tarone’s definition focuses on the underlying factor that both the native and non-native speakers need in communication. From Faerch ; Kasper and Stein’s definitions, we can deduce specific descriptions for CS, which are invented techniques by language users to overcome problems of expression.Faucette (2001) is of the opinion that CS play an important role in the development of strategic competence and therefore can be defined within the purview of strategic competence framework. As observed by Canale and Swain (1980:30), strategic competence refers to ‘verbal and non-verbal CS that may be called into action to compensate for breakdowns in communication due to performance variable or to insufficient competence’.

2.6 Taxonomies of Communication StrategiesSeveral taxonomies of CS have been proposed by leading scholars in this academic domain. These taxonomies have developed mostly from the works of Tarone (1977); Dornyei (1995) and several other scholars, with the interactional nature of human communication forming the analytic pivot of research on interlanguage and foreign language discourse in the 1970’s. This focus contributed towards establishing the centrality of CS in Second Language Analysis (Tarone,417). Those earlier studies focused on identifying, defining and classifying CS.

However, the foci of subsequent studies were on the link between CS and language education among second and foreign language users of English. However, two major approaches to CS are the linguistic and cognitive. The first approach is found in the works of Tarone (1977, 1980), Faerch and Kasper (1980, 1983, 1984), Harding (1983) and Paribakht (1985).

The second approach can be found in the works of Bialystok (1990) and Poulisse (1990). From the linguistic standpoint, the works of Tarone and Faerch and Kasper have held the most influence. Their conceptualisations are markedly different as far as CS is concerned.

Tarone’s stance espouses the existence of interactional constraints while Faerch and Kasper’s study psychologically evaluates plans, behaviour and objectives in CS. As Bou-Faerch (155) observes, a linguistic basis can be observed in the final taxonomy proposed in the studies of these scholars. This observation reveals the interrelated nature of their approaches, and the processes at work when an attempt is made to solve a communication problem. The linguistic approach to CS was first suggested by Tarone, (1977, 1980, 1983) and was later expanded by Faerch and Kasper (1983, 1984). Exploring the interactional approach, Tarone (1977), asserts that learners’ linguistic inadequacy warrants CS use by interlocutors who try to convey a meaning in question to one another. Tarone (419) further elaborates on the term CS by stressing that they are ‘mutual attempts of two interlocutors to agree on meaning where requisite meaning structures do not seem to be shared’ and ‘the meaning structures include both linguistic and sociolinguistic structures’.

Conversely, the cognitive approach to communicative strategies is examined within psychological delineations. CS are perceived as problem-solving mechanisms of self-expression as Faerch and Kasper (1983:212) explain that they are processes in the L2 speech production domain which are activated whenever the learner encounters a problem. However, Mali (2007:41) puts it that the beginning of the execution process of CS may be cognitive in nature but ultimately ends in interaction. Poulisse (1989:171) has argued that the same strategy can encapsulate the two elements, those of control and analysis.

This view is reiterated by Kellerman, et al., (1987:46) who view CS as manifestations of the development of the cognitive processes of analysis and control. Within the cognitive domain, the works of Poulisse (1990) and Bialystok (1990) are worthy of consideration. The latter is of the opinion that CS are responses to the cognitive mechanisms that are operationalised by mental representations in the case of linguistic processing. Thus, she establishes a general cognitive framework where two components of language processing, namely analysis of linguistic knowledge and control of linguistic processing form two cognitive communication strategy types (Bou-Faerch, 2011: 155). While the first component relates to the process of structuring mental representations of language at the level of meaning into explicit representations at the level of symbols, the second component is the capability to control the flow of information and to harness relevant resources in the most productive way during interactions (Bialystok, 1990:125).

According to Bialystok: The definition of CS that follows from this framework is that they are the dynamic interactions of the components of language processing that balance each other in their level of involvement to meet tasks’ demands (138).Poulisse’s (1990) view also considers the study of CS which she terms compensatory strategies as the general study of communication. For her, there are two main CS types, namely the conceptual and the analytic. She defines CS as follows:Compensatory strategies are processes, operating conceptual and linguistic knowledge representations, which are adopted by language users in the creation of alternative means of expression when linguistic shortcomings make it impossible for them to communicate their intended meanings in the preferred manner (192-193)Obviously, the strategies that respond to the cognitive processes identified in communication are present in both studies. Similarly, the scholars agree that these processes deal basically with both the concept and application of linguistic knowledge. Therefore, a fusion of the linguistic (interactional) and the cognitive approaches to the analysis of CS can be integrated to develop typologies for the identified CS.

AVOIDANCE STRATEGIES DIRECT STRATEGIESResource Deficit-Related Strategies Topic avoidance Message abandonment Message Abandonment Message ReductionMessage Replacement Circumlocution, Approximation Use of all-purpose words Word Coinage, Restructuring, Literal Translation, Foreignising, Code-Switching, Use of Similar Sounding Words, Mumbling, Omission, Retrieval PARAPHRASEApproximation Word Coinage Circumlocution CONSCIOUS TRANSFERLiteral Translation Language switch APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE MIME Own Performance- Problem- Related Strategies)Self-rephrasingSelf-repair Other Performance-Problem-Related StrategiesOther repairs INTERACTIONAL STRATEGIESResource Deficit-Related Strategies Appeal for helpOwn Performance- Problem Related StrategiesComprehension check, Own accuracy check Other performance-problem related strategiesAsking for repetition, Asking for clarification, Asking for confirmation, Guessing, Expressing non-understanding, Interpretative summary INDIRECT STRATEGIES Processing Time Pressure- Related Strategies Use of fillers, Repetition Own Performance-Problem Related StrategiesVerbal strategy markersOther Performance-Problem Related StrategiesFeigning understandingTarone, (1977) Dornyei & Scott (1995a, 1995b)Tarone’s taxonomy is simpler and appears to accommodate fewer categories when compared with Dornyei’s taxonomy. Both taxonomies share seven aspects in common with regard to message abandonment, topic avoidance, circumlocution, approximation word coinage, literal translation and appealing for help. Moreover, their explications of the seven aspects do not reveal any perceptible difference. For example, the term ‘circumlocution’ is viewed by Tarone (1977) as, ‘describing the characteristics or elements of an object or action instead of using the appropriate target language structure…’ (Cited in Bialystok, 40); and Dornyei and Scott’s definition captures it as describing or exemplifying the target object of action (Brown, 128). It is observable that there are apparently more introduced concepts that establish the differences than the similarities in the typologies.

Dornyei and Scott (1995) classify CS into three categories – direct, indirect and interaction which are subsumed under avoidance and compensatory strategies. These classifications do not exist in Tarone’s (1977) classification which presents five major strategy types: avoidance, paraphrase, conscious transfer, appeal for assistance and mime.By integrating several aspects of previous research, Dornyei and Scott (1997), extended the perimeter of communication strategies. They contend that CS should be an inclusion of every linguistic problem known to the speaker and the potential purpose aimed at coping with it during communication (179). The basis of their contention is that the ‘primary source of L2 speakers’ communication problems is insufficient processing time, stalling strategies which allow them time to think, thereby keeping the communication channel open as a problem-solving strategies’ (178). Indeed, when the channels of communication are left open, language users leverage on it to generate modified and comprehensible output owing to some understandable input and feedback received. The taxonomy of communication strategies or ‘Coping Devices’ created by Dornyei and Scott identifies four types of language-related problems that are experienced during interactions as follows:I. Resource deficits: These are gaps in the L2 speakers’ knowledge which make it difficult for them to verbalise a planned message.

II. Processing Time Pressure: These are the L2 speakers’ constant requirement for more time to process and plan their speech against what exists in a natural speech interaction. III. Own-Performance Problems: These are processes by which the L2 speaker monitors and detects inadequacies in their own speech and this involves three types: (a) the realisation that one’s production is incorrect,(b) the realisation that one’s production was less than perfect, and(c) uncertainty about the correctness of what has been said and the delivery of the intended meaning.IV. Other-Performance Problems: These are problems informed by the interlocutor’s speech and can be divided into three subtypes depending on what the speaker finds problematic: (i) something perceived to be incorrect (ii) lack or uncertainty of understanding something fully (iii) a lack of some expected message/response. (p. 159) In addition, Dornyei and Scott (1995), created three problem-management categories based on how communication strategies can contribute to resolving language-related problems and achieving mutual understanding (160).

These ‘problem-management’ categories are as follows:1. Direct Strategies: These provide an alternative, manageable means of overcoming language-related problem and getting some modified meaning across.2. Indirect Strategies: These are not problem-solving devices as they do not provide an alternative-meaning structure themselves, but facilitate the conveyance of meaning indirectly by creating the conditions for achieving mutual understanding during difficulty. 3. Interactional Strategies: These involve a third approach to problem management whereby the participants carry out trouble-shooting exchanges cooperatively. (160)Again, Dornyei presents three more types of compensatory strategies than Tarone, and these are termed the use of all-purpose words, prefabricated patterns and stallings or time-gaining strategies positively associated with the success of communication (Zhang, 2007:43). Dornyei’s typology further parallels mime with gesture, facial expression and sound imitation to non-linguistic signals while Tarone typological specification addresss mine as a discrete category and a strategy which encapsulates ‘all non-verbal accompaniments’ which probably provide learners a more comprehensive description than mime (Brown, 2000: 128).

Language switch in Tarone’s typology can be assumed to be the combinatory effort of foreignising and code-switching in Dornyei’s typology. For Tarone, ‘the straightforward insertion of words from another language is foreignising’, which Dornyei presents as ‘ using an L1 word by adjusting it to L2 phonology and or morphology’ and code switching means using an L1 word with L1 pronunciation or an L3 word with L3 pronunciation while speaking in L2 (Brown, 2000:128). Apparently, Dornyei’s taxonomical parameter is predicated on communicative outcomes which can either be successful when avoidance strategies are adopted. In contrast, Tarone’s classification appears to be simpler with similar sub-types placed under one category as Bialystok has observed; nevertheless, it may not be as systematic and integrative as Dornyei’s.

The existing typologies of CS came under severe criticism from scholars at Nijmegen University, the Netherlands, in the 1980’s. The scholars held that the typologies were lopsidedly descriptive and product-oriented in approach and revealed strategies with isolated examples which did not explicitly explain their applicability to cohesive discourse because they focused on linguistic production. Consequently, the Nijmegan scholars identified two shortfalls in the product-oriented classification of CS, namely the failure to differentiate the psychological process from the linguistic product and the inability of the typologies to specify the linguistic and the non-linguistic constraints that influence the choice of a given strategy. Owing to this submission, the scholars proposed an alternative CS which was predicated on the concept of identifying the cognitive processes which undergird the choice of a strategy. Their typology is as follows:1. Conceptual archistrategy (manipulating the target concept to make it expressible through available linguistic resources).a.

Analytic Strategies (specifying characteristic features of the concept e.g. circumlocution)b.

Holistic Strategies (using a different concept which shares a characteristic with the target item. e.g. approximation)II Linguistic/ Code Archistrategy (manipulating the speakers’ linguistic knowledge)2. a.

Morphological creativity (creating a new word by applying L2 morphological rules to an L2 word e.g. grammatical word coinage)b. Transfer (from another language) Poulisse (1993), in her criticism of the typology of the Nijmegen scholars, suggests a different typology. The major kernel of her criticism revolves around the point that the distinction between conceptual and linguistic strategies refers to the same processes involved in the production of the strategies. She argues that both conceptual strategies of the holistic type and the linguistic strategy of the transfer type refer to the same process. The obvious contention is that great discrepancies exist in the processes underlying analytic and holistic conceptual strategies.

Analytic strategies require the conscious planning and execution of new messages, which involves creating new syntactic plans and selecting new lexical items from the mental lexicon. Poulisse stresses further that the holistic strategy such of approximation requires the addition and replacement of some of the conceptual features. In sum, researchers have generally agreed with Bialystok’s (1990) that CS are undeniable linguistic phenomena whose existence can provide faithful evidence of an aspect of communication and its outstanding function in second language interactive situations, (116).2.7 Non-Native English and its Varieties The increasing number of people who use English for different purposes across all regions of world today is evident of its power of ascendancy as the language of globalisation, which has metamorphosed into the pluralistic status of ‘Englishes’ (Jenkins, 2003). In these times of globalised English and the prevalence of non-native paradigms, the pervasive impact of the English language has resulted in an important resource for research on its direct influences on corpus and status planning in non-native English contexts such as Singapore, Nigeria, India, the Philippines (Kachru, 2005; Kettle, 2005; Bamgbose, A.

, Banjo, A., and Thomas, A.,1997). Non-native varieties of English or New Englishes open up new vistas for the exploration of the converse of the regional variation divide, the native variety. The two sides of the divide are hypothetically conceptualised differently by three models. The first is the ‘Strang/Quirk status’ model, labelled after the scholars who developed it (Strang, 1970), adopted it (Quirk, et al. 1985) and popularised by Gorlach, MacArthur and several others (Schneider, 2013: 134). The second one is Kachru’s (1985) model and the third is Schneider’s Dynamic model (2003; 2007).

In patterning the status of English in countries, the Strang model draws up a tripartite classification scheme into the following: English as a Native Language (ENL), English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Kachru’s (1985) model of the three concentric circles is used to conceptualise the new variants of English that have developed under the influences of globalisation and the accompanying linguistic consequences as New Englishes. His model of the three overlapping circles categorises countries based on the diffusion, acquisition and functionality of English across the world. This model is more concerned with the evolution of English in the Outer Circle as evidence of the well-established culture-bound varieties of English. The Inner Circle refers to countries where English has a primary base and first prominent use (English as a Native Language) and is comprised of those varieties which constitute a centre with ‘norm providing’ tributaries. The Outer Circle (English as Second Language) captures countries where English plays an important role as second language owing to its history of colonial contact (such as India and Nigeria) and comprises a variety capable of generating its own norms but depends on the Outer Circle for models of formal written English. With emphasis on the Outer Circle, the model attempts to bring to equilibrium the rights of non-native English users in terms of ownership and the conditions of usage with those of native users.

Consequently, the paradigm of conferment of linguistic authority and ownership shifts from genetic to functional nativity as the outer circle domain is perceived as developing its own patterns and dynamics. The Expanding Circle (English as a Foreign Language) is the socio-linguistic label for countries where the importance of English as an international medium of communication is recognised but without a corresponding consensus of any special or official pride of place in the language policy. This Circle comprises contexts where internal norms have not developed and consequently, there is great reliance on external norms. (Schreier & Hundts, 2013:133; Crystal, 2003:107). Undeniably, many of the realities and properties of the Outer and Expanding Circle Englishes are informed by contact-inducement.

However, the third and most recent attempt at systematising the concept of World Englishes based on their evolutionary processes is Schneider’s ‘Dynamic Model’ (2003; 2007). This model focuses on the diachronic development of World Englishes and draws from the perspective of language contact variability. The model assumes that there is an underlying congruity in the evolutionary process shared by the varieties. This commonalty is made apparent when the varieties are compared as products of contact situations where sociolinguistic adjustment processes of identity formation and linguistic accommodation are involved (Schneider, 2003: 239-56). In his model, he incorporates sociolinguistic identity variables and stresses that despite obvious differences in the varieties of English, transplanted Englishes globally were shaped by uniform sociolinguistic and contact processes which can be described as a progression of five characteristic stages: foundation, exonormative stabilisation, nativisation, endonormative stabilisation and differentiation. These models are necessary to this research because they provide a springboard for re-examining non-native Englishes and the strategies of communication which have evolved from the dynamics of language contact and technological innovations, especially from a synchronic standpoint. Bieswanger (2008:27) explores the varieties of English adopted in the teaching of English and submits that the systematic description of native and non-native varieties is on the increase. He observes that a lot of attention has been focused on the pluralistic nature of English and its uses in non-native contexts where it has been experimented with as both a second language and lingua franca.

Seidlhofer (2005a: 339) and Jenkins (2005) reason that there is a widespread agreement about the fact that the vast majority of verbal exchanges in English, which probably define the new status of English, are found in the non-native domain. Similarly, House (2010:363-364) notes that:Non-native speakers of English outnumber English native speakers by 4:1. One may safely assume that the vast majority of interactions where English is used as a foreign or second language take place in the absence of native speakers. English is thus no longer “owned” by its native speakers, but instead shows a strong tendency towards further, ever more rapid de-owning. The result is an increasing degree of diversification of the English language through hybridisation, acculturation and nativisation processes. The linguistic consequences of such merging and converging processes are, of course, numerous non-native “World English” varieties from Singaporean and Nigerian to Indian; Fijian and Indonesian English.The implication of the above argument is that the outer and expanding circles provide incontrovertible evidence of the ‘new’ ownership of English in relation to usage. The view held above by House appears to be that language ownership should be defined by centrifugal dynamics and the growing numerical strength of language users.

Consequently, the nativity of the Inner Circle is no longer a plausible touchstone for determining linguistic ownership. House (2010:363) further maintains that ‘…the English language has largely outgrown the norms of the Kachruvian inner circle and has become not only a useful default means of communication but is often also used as a tool for national, regional and local renaissance and resistance by its new expert non-native users.’ What is deducible from House’s submission is that the Kachruvian three concentric circles may no longer be tenable as a useful descriptive model because of the constant spread and diversification of English; its social function and structural flexibility across many geographical and cultural areas of the world.

2.8 Information and Communication TechnologyAdvancements in ICT and new (digital) media stimulated human developments in the 21st century, especially interpersonal communication. ICT refers to a diverse set of technologies that are used to generate, access, store, disseminate and communicate information in a digitalised way. It includes both computer hardware and software, namely mobile phones, computers, Internet, telecommunication systems, and several other related systems; services and applications such as social networking and e-communities (Bardici, 2012:1). As noted by Hopper (2007), ICT and digital media are catalysts for the new wave of communication patterns and new-fangled expressions today.

Consequently, people have renewed interests in how computers and the Internet can best be harnessed to improve human communication generally in recent times. The corollary of the upsurge in interest has stimulated research and innovation in ICT with effects on digital media and the emergence of participatory technologies, namely Web 2.0. Apparently, ICT has advanced human communication in the twenty-first century, thereby positioning language usage on the electronic platform as an area for potential academic exploration, especially to communication and language scholars. 2.9 Computer Mediated Communication Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is a term which refers to all the available options of interacting with people via the instrumentality of computers, a social interactive medium where data is processed through networked computers and telecommunication systems. It is broadly classified under two different types: the synchronous and asynchronous. In synchronous communication, active participants are online at the same and the simulated processes work simultaneously, though not at the same location.

Video conferencing and instant messaging are both forms of synchronous communication. Conversely, asynchronous communication refers to those instances where interactive processes happen at different times and rates and are defined by time constraints and the absence of immediate feedback mechanisms. Emails, video messaging, wall posts and text messages are examples of asynchronous communication. This research straddles the synchronous and asynchronous forms of computer-mediated communication in its investigation of Yahoo Chat Room interactions which belong to the former and Facebook and WhatsApp interactions which belong to the latter. Pérez-Sabater (2012) presents some insight into Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) from a sociolinguistic angle, by analysing comments published on the official Facebook sites of ten universities in Europe and America. He observes the level of formality and informality of online communication in English. His work also considers online writings of native and non- native speakers of English with regards to the nature of etiquette and protocol used for salutation, opening, pre-closing and closing as indices of the degree of orality and informality. The findings reveal stylistic variations that were informed by the unconventional nature of institutional Facebook discourse.

He observes that non-native speakers of English display more formal traits than native speakers on social network sites. This study, in its methodology considers non-native speakers of English in contexts where English is the first and only medium of communication and instruction, considering the population used in the study. His study departs markedly from what this research set out to achieve even though the form of communication (writing) and the medium where it was carried out (Facebook) are the same.

Similarly, Da Silva and Luis Garcis (2012) in YouTubists as Satirists: Humour and Remixes in Online Videos investigates the role of humour in politics in a media-driven context with excess user-generated videos. They observe that on YouTube, remixes and humour are used as strategies of exposing the weaknesses of politicians and the political system. Through image manipulation, politicians and media actors are turned into their own discrediting representatives who unknowingly participate in their own vilification. Their work shares some commonalty with this research in the aspect of humorous imagery. However, theirs is different because it focuses on both spoken and written words on a channel that is outside the coverage of this research.Sreekumar and Vadrevu (2013) explore the practice of posting static visual online memes on Facebook in Singapore.

In their study, the memes are used as satirical political commentaries and their account of how the memes are used to convey meanings are analysed using Semiotics. As part of their methodology, they interviewed Singaporeans within the ages of 18- 24 about their memes to understand how the circulation of memes influences the quality of political participation and engagement. The result of their study reveals that memes hold the potential for powerfully enhancing political engagement among a citizenry often assumed to be de-politicised, and that youth perception of memes holds some indeterminacy as it concerns their efficacy. They conclude that memes are devices of humour that bear cultural resonances and identity representations which have burgeoned under cyber-culture as a localised avenue for displaying socio-political sensitivities. Their study shares a lot of things in common with the directional intention of this present research: the choice of platform (Facebook), the object of inquiry (writings on memes) and the context of usages (L2 English context). While Sreekumar and Vadrevu focus on Singaporean writings on Facebook memes, this present research includes WhatsApp and Yahoo Chat Rooms to account for the various strategies of communication deployed by Nigerians and Indians. Plevriti (2013) in Satirical User-Generated Memes as an Effective Source of Political Criticism, Extending Debate and Enhancing Civic Engagement explores the meme territory as an area that has not been fully investigated by uncovering the creators and distributors of memes as well as the motivation behind such behaviour.

His findings validate the existing research in user-generated content. His findings reveal that memes can make politics more inclusive and accessible, especially for the younger generation who are active and enthusiastic consumers of popular culture on the Internet. He further suggests that meme creation, diffusion and consumption should be expanded to include other socio-linguistic variables such as education, race, socio-economic and others. This research has filled the gap created by the above study by accounting for how meaning is created through memes in non-native English communication on social media. While Tay (2012) focuses on humorous political memes as a manifestation of non-serious play, Street, in Thorn and Scott (2013) argue that popular culture texts offer points of engagement with politics. Shifman (2014) outlined meme categories, as well as their role in digital culture, before identifying them as modes of political participation.

Eli Dresner and Susan C. Herring (2010) explore the boundaries between linguistic and non-linguistic communication. Investigating the functional and illocutionary force of emoticons as forms of non-verbal communication in computer-mediated textual communication, they argue that emoticons are iconic indicators of emotions, which are conveyed through a communication medium that parallels the linguistic one. They reason that the conception of emoticons does not appropriately account for some of their core uses. In their study, the speech acts theory is used to interpret the illocutionary functions of emoticons as facial emotion indicators, non-emotional meaning indicators and as illocutionary force indicators. This present research theoretically intersects with the study by Dresner and Herring (2010) because it adopts linguistic theories of meaning in the analysis of its data. The illocutionary force of the speech act theory, following Austin (1962) and Searle’s (1969) positions, is an integral concept adopted to explicate meaning in the data for this research. Also, the research explores the deployment of emotions as strategies of communication in the face of paralinguistic absences.

However, this research argues that non-native users of English do not attempt to convey more meaning than they intend in the emoticons used in their interactions.The studies carried out by David Crystal (2011; 2008; 2006), examine how the emerging language styles that have arisen under the influence of the Internet and other new media can help improve conceptual organisation, translation and web usability which would be of benefits to both linguists and web users. He explores Short Message Service (SMS) text messages as an offshoot of human-computer interaction (HCI) that has led to computer-mediated communication (CMC) and internet- mediated communication (IMC).

He addresses the issue of how the evolution of new media forms of communication has raised much interest in relation to the way language is being used. Crystal suggests four perspectives that should be surveyed to account for the interface between language and the Internet: the sociolinguistic, the educational, the stylistic and the applied. He concludes that these perspectives are effectively interlinked and affect one another. 2.

10 New MediaNew Media have become a global influence and an inextricable part of human existence in an information-driven age. Functionally, new media promote interconnectedness and interdependence in a culturally-polarised world. As platforms for social interactions, they afford users, who have become citizens of the virtual community, outlets for interactions with others across the world. The term, ‘new media’ is grounded in digital interactivity and is used contrastively in relation to the ‘old’ media forms that represent static representation of texts and graphics. The phrase ‘new media’ is a term that refers to usable content made available through computer technology to people who patronise different communication outlets. The term is generally used to describe the information on-demand made possible through the Internet. The content can be viewed on any digital device that contains interactive feedback and creative participation with the potential to bring people in different locations together for interactions in real-time.

This technological affordance allows the inclusion of users’ comments and makes it easy for people to share contents online with other people who are spatially separated. Goodman and Graddol (1996: 39) note that we live in a time of increased informalisation. This word is used to describe the process whereby the linguistic forms that were traditionally and exclusively reserved for close personal relationships are now used in much wider social contexts. Making a reference to the work of Norman Fairclough, they note that the nature of professional interactions will to a greater extent contain traces of informal English because are they are increasingly becoming ‘conventionalised’, a term adopted from Fairclough. Castells (1996:470–471) while examining the socio-economic effects of networks powered by technology stresses that:Networks are open structures, able to expand without limits, integrating new nodes as long as they are able to communicate within the network, namely as long as they share the same communication codes .

. . Networks are appropriate instruments for a capitalist economy based on innovation, globalization, and decentralised concentration; for work, workers, and firms based upon flexibility, and adaptability; for a culture of endless deconstruction and reconstruction; for a polity geared towards the instant processing of new values and public moods; and for a social organization aimed at the suppression of space and the annihilation of time Making a case for the emergence of a technology that has re-defined patterns of communication globally, Manovich (2002:6) submits that this new media represents a convergence of two separate historical trajectories: computer and media technologies, and whose synthesis has resulted in the translation of all existing media into data accessible through computers such as graphics, moving images, sounds, shapes, spaces, and texts that have become computable. Cook (2008:11) writing on ‘Technological Revolution and the Gutenberg Myth’ in response to how the twenty-first century emerged from the technological revolution of the 1990’s stresses that: ‘The Internet, the World Wide Web, and their next-generation cousins have captured the imagination of the public and of specialists in numerous fields. What is imagined is nothing short of revolutionary changes in our lives, our society and our world.’ The scholar avers that the structure of the printing revolution- the Gutenberg experience-has shown that:the model of sweeping social change being caused by a single technological innovation is historically and conceptually faulty and misleading.

Such changes are not caused by the appearance of a single gadget; they are constituted in multiple, mutually influencing technological and social innovations. The scholar further suggests that:A new model of the structure of technological revolutions must reflect these facts. Moreover, it must be able to embrace the deeply held values that inform our cultures and underlie the choices we make about the direction our technologies ought to take – even when those choices are made by default rather than by design.The underlying argument above is that the new technologies of this present time are indeed exciting and powerful and can be put to both positive and negative uses.

And they would probably gain more influence if they are driven by cultural undercurrents and unimpeded usability. Sawyer, (2011: 2) and Edosomwan, et al., (2011: 81- 84) support the above submission by adding that the type of communication that occurs in the virtual contexts promotes greater freedom of interactive dialogues that build mutual co-existence and understanding.Ostensibly, people explore new media for many reasons. The need for interactions and connectedness is foremost. Maslow’s (1943) third Hierarchy of Needs- ‘belongingness’ supports this argument. According to this Theory of Need, after satisfying physiological needs, people strive to make themselves relevant by seeking support from relationships. New media provide this opportunity and even more where people can communicate with others and belong to different networks via virtual communities on the Internet.

Information and communication technology actuates social networking which, to a large extent, is fuelled by continuous user participation. Though the diffusion of new social media has different effects on different cultures across the world, it has facilitated interconnectedness and strengthened social understanding among global societies. Boyd and Ellision (2007) define social networking sites as ‘web-based services that allow individuals to (i) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (ii) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (iii) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system’ (Boyd and Ellision, 2007 in Veltri and Elgarah, 2009). Shapiro has noted that the radical shift in the control of information, experience and resources is largely owed to the emergence of new, digital technological signals (Shapiro cited in Croteau and Hoynes, 2003: 322). Neuman (1991) admits that while the power of new media has the technical capabilities to pull in one direction, economic and social forces pull back in the opposite direction. According to him, ‘We are witnessing the evolution of a universal interconnected network of audio, video, and electronic text communications that will blur the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication and between public and private communication’ (Neuman cited in Croteau and Hoynes, 2003:322). Furthermore, Newman contends that new media is on the verge of creating a new understanding of geographic distance by allowing for increase in the speed of interactive communication, and the emergence of new forms of communication and a confluence for the overlap and interconnection of aspects that were separately distinct .

While examining the effects of new media technologies in the light of what other scholars have documented, Lister et al., (2003) suggest that some of the early works on new media studies are guilty of technological determinism whereby the effects of media were determined by the technologies themselves, rather than accounting for the complex social networks which encouraged their development.2.11 Social Media DiscourseThe development of information and communication technology, alongside the widespread use of the Internet, has rapidly promoted social media as a common medium for interpersonal interactions. An important reason for the challenge of using this medium is that it lacks, unlike face-to-face talk, paralinguistic cues such as vocal inflection, gestures, facial expressions, and a shared mental and physical context (Murray, 1995).

Arguing further, Murray stresses that the paralinguistic cues are constituents of meta-messages that embody social meanings which serve as social lubricants. Therefore, without paralinguistic cues, the meta-messages ferried through the electronic platform would be revealed solely by the strategies that account for how the written words are chosen, organised and expressed in communicative interactions. Communication strategising thus, become more crucial in written communication than in face-to-face interactions.Interestingly, social media provide a new standpoint for evaluating the intervening dynamics between languages and culture in a defined context and how strategies in one mode can be made operational in another mode. As Halliday and Hasan (1990:82) have observed, computer-based media place new demands on language and how language is used in a given context.

They note that ‘when new demands are made on language … and when we are making language work for us in ways it never had to do before, it will have to become a different language in order to cope’. Their observation is that language must take on a new identity in order to cope with the new demands made on it, especially when it is saddled with responsibilities it never had before. Computer-based media present new demands which have the potential of promoting variations in language use as noted by Halliday and Hassan.Apparently, owing to the pervasive influence of mobile and web-based technologies, the mechanisms and contexts of interpersonal communication are rapidly changing in response to the new domains of interaction of new global cultures which are sustained by information generation, management and dissemination in virtual communities. These mechanisms and contexts provide new artefacts of study and new tools for discourse analysts.

In sum, this research leverages on the mechanisms available in the virtual space as tools for a discursive exploration of non-native English communication strategies. Social media discourse (SMD) has witnessed remarkable growth since the advent and spread in the use of technology in the 21th century. Equally, the field has become a highly academic sub-field of linguistics, subsumed under Internet Linguistics as advanced by David Crystal (2011). As a new domain of discourse that has sprouted under the influential potency of the Internet and other New Media, Social Media Discourse investigates new language dynamics in communication, defined by its perceptible forms and stylistics.

As noted by Crystal (1):Since the beginning of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) leading to Computer-Mediated-Communication (CMC) and Internet–Mediated Communication experts have acknowledged that linguistics has a contributing role in it, in terms of web interface and usability. He adds further that ‘studying the emerging language on the Internet can help improve conceptual organisation, translation, and web usability’. The empirical reality is that language is the key medium of human communication and a force whose immanence cannot be undermined by technological advancement.

Granted, linguists are concerned with the influence that social media may have on a living language. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that a sort of symbiotic relationship between language and technology has increased the advocacy for studies that would account for the effects of these phenomena on each other.From a linguistic angle, Crystal argues that we are on the brink of the biggest revolution in language ever and that ‘Netspeak’, his term for online language, is not a monolithic creation, but rather a disparate set of communication methods and type. He further adds that online language is best viewed as a new species of interactions, a genuine ‘third medium’ which is evolving its own systematic rules to suit new circumstances (Crystal, 2011: 216; Baron,1984: 22).2.

12 Popular Social Media PlatformsSome of the most popular social media networking sites include Facebook, Google+,Myspace, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Viber, WeChat, WhatsApp and other platforms which have several million users. Of interest to this research are interactions that take place on Facebook , WhatsApp and Yahoo Chat Rooms, interactive online platforms from where the data were generated. 2.12.

1 FacebookFacebook is a prototype of a social media platform that is used to promote the cross-fertilisation of ideas and information among people across the world, ranking as one of the largest social network sites in the world. It was founded in February 2014 by Mark Zuckerberg, a psychology student, with his college roommate and fellow, Eduarado Saverin at Harvard University. Its primary focus was on interactions among high school and college students. However, Facebook has since then gained market share ascendency and an unprecedented supportive user base.

‘The Facebook’, its original name originated as the nickname of directories handed out to university students that aided in their getting to know fellow students. It became in August 2005 after the address was purchased.

The site is a directory of the world’s people, and a place for private people to create public identities. The mission for the creation of Facebook was to bring people with different backgrounds together and to encourage social interaction (Facebook, 2010).The ever-increasing network was extended beyond educational institutions to anyone with a registered email address. The site remains free to join, and makes a profit through advertising.

Millions of people are registered to Facebook, making it the largest social-networking site with an education focus. It has expanded membership eligibility to companies like Apple Inc. and Microsoft. As of the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.

2 billion monthly active users, making it the first social network ever to have this volume of patronage. Just like other social networks, Facebook has something called groups. Users can create new ones or join and participate in existing ones. This is also displayed in their profiles. There are two types of groups: a normal group and a secret group.

A normal group is like any other, but users can also invite others into secret groups. Facebook’s numerous users make it a cultural, economic and social phenomenon. The importance of the online social media site to journalism, business communication and social relationships cannot be overemphasised. With numerous users across the world who engage themselves on the site, Facebook has grown in influence as an increasingly important gateway to getting information, establishing identities and creating new relationships. .

Although other social sites may be popular in one country or another, but the presence of Facebook is everywhere. In the area of functionality, it has the broadest coverage. For example, Linkedln is a social networking site which is restrictive in nature because it places emphasis on career networking and professional information., on the other hand, is strictly for relationships. Initially, Twitter restricted its tweets to 140 character posts but in 2017, it doubled the tweets (see page 18) and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) encourages its members to share pictures like YouTube, with mobile phones.

2.12.2 WhatsAppWhatsApp is an instant messaging platform that depends on the internet to send messages, documents, images, video, user location and audio media messages to people who are connected to the same medium. Brian Acton and Jan Koun founded WhatsApp in 2009. They chose the name ‘WhatsApp’ because it sounded like ‘what’s up’.

As of February 2016, WhatsApp had a user base of one billion, making it the most popular messaging application. Interestingly, WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook. The acquisition was carried out in February 2014.While Facebook is a social networking platform that connects people to others who use it, WhatsApp is an instant messaging application that uses data to exchange texts or multimedia messages among people who use it.2.12.

3 Yahoo Chat RoomsThe term ‘chat room’ is distinctively used to describe any form of synchronous communication. A chat room is a web sites or online platform that provides a meeting point for communities of users with a common interest to communicate in real time. Basically, the primary function of a chat room is the creation of a fertile virtual environment for sharing information via texts. Generally speaking, the ability to have interactions with a lot of other people in the area of discourse differentiates chat rooms from other instant messaging platforms.

To this end, Yahoo Chat Rooms are live online contexts where users must be connected to a computer or any electronic device that is linked to the Internet to communicate through textualised messages or other extra-linguistic means such as emoticons with other people who are separated in space and time. Yahoo chat rooms are open interactive spaces which allow participants some anonymity. However, a participant is allowed entry to a chat room if the person registers with a nick name. The difference between the three chosen platforms is that while messages on Facebook and WhatsApp are retrievable because passive participants do not necessarily need to be online when such interactions take place, participants must be actively involved online, in the case of Yahoo Chats to be able to follow the tempo of the interactions because by their nature, they are irretrievable, fluid and free-flowing.2.13 Online Posts, Comments and Chats as DiscourseOnline posts, comments and chats are interactive messages generated and sent to Internet discussion groups, and such messages have the capacity to elicit varied reactions from people who read them. Online interactions and their accompanying responses are discursive in nature in that they border on issues that are basically meaningful and of social significance to the people interested in them. The extensive nature of posts that generate comments may stem from the most pedestrian issues to the most stimulating ones.

Therefore, online posts, comments and chats are perceived as discourse because they are extensive and scrutable forms of communication that reflect the unrefined resourcefulness of language users in the portrayal of everyday experiences and the social phenomena that precipitate them. The view of discourse as a form of extended verbal communication has received some attention in a lot of works (Brown ; Yule, 1983: 1; 65; McGregor, 2003:1; Renkema, 2004: 64). The term ‘discourse’ has been defined by different scholars in different ways, using different parameters and has taken various, sometimes broad meanings. In this research, however, we accommodate the meaning of discourse from the vantage point of linguistics and thus, the definitions captured here reflect this stance. Scholarly opinions differ as to the use of the term discourse.

In some cases it is used to refer to texts, while in some others it used to reference speech. From an etymological point, the word ‘discourse’ comes from the Latin word ‘discursus’ which denotes conversations or speech-like productions. For Crystal (1992: 25), discourse is a continuous stretch of (especially spoken) language larger than a sentence, often constituting a coherent unit as a sermon, argument, joke, or narrative. Perhaps, from a humorous angle, Cook (1990:7) adds that novels, as well as short conversations or groans might qualify to be named discourses.

Cook makes this assertion considering the fluid nature of the definition of the term. Beaugrande and Dressler (1981) suggest seven criteria which should be fulfilled to qualify either a written or spoken text as discourse. These include: cohesion, (grammatical relationship between parts of a sentence essential for interpretation); coherence, (the order of statements should relate to one another by sense); informativeness, (the discourse should convey some new information); situationality, (the places where the linguistic acts are carried out are of significance); intertextuality, (reference to the outside world of the text or the interpreters’ schemata). Interestingly, however, not all criteria mentioned by Beaugrande are perceived as being of equal importance in today’s discourse studies as some of them are only valid and applicable in only some areas. However, the general consensus is that discourse involves the systematic study of language as defined by the context of usage. The context in which language is put to use to achieve any set objective is the preoccupation of any discourse analysis. As such, it cannot be restricted to the description of linguistic forms independent of the purposes or functions which these forms are designed to serve in human affairs.

As a characteristic of discourse, its extensive and multidisciplinary capacity to connect other domains should be taken into consideration, as van Dijk (2002) notes:discourse analysis for me is essentially multidisciplinary, and involves linguistics, poetics, Semiotics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, and communication research. What I find crucial though is that precisely because of its multi-faceted nature, this multidisciplinary research should be integrated. We should devise theories that are complex and account both for the textual, the cognitive, the social, the political and the historical dimension of discourse. (10)From Dijk’s opinion, the analysis of discourse should not only be concerned with linguistic facts but also should consider language use in relation to social, political, religious and cultural aspects. This, no doubt, would situate discourse as any area that captivates varied interests. To this end, discourse is a reflection of how language is used as a barometer for measuring social phenomena.

Discourse has often been divided into the written and the spoken types. Apart from the differences between these two forms, the fact that writing includes some medium which keeps records of the conveyed message, there are certain dissimilarities that are less apparent. Among other significant aspects of speech are rhythm, intonation, speed of utterance and, what is more important, the inability to conceal mistakes made while speaking (Renkema, 2004: 64). In contrast to speech, writing develops in space in that its needs a means to carry the information. One of the features typical of writing, but not of oral discourse, is the organisation of tablets, formulas or charts, which can be portrayed only in the written form (Crystal, 1999:291).2.14 The Language of Electronic DiscourseThe term ‘electronic discourse’ or E-discourse refers to the way people use language to exchange ideas while exploiting the channels made possible by the Internet.

The emphasis is always on the language {and probably the strategic use of language} of communication rather than the medium (Marcelo and Perera, 2013:268; Thurlow, 2001: 280). The language of electronic communication is related to what Manovich (2002: 32) terms the ‘language of new media’, which refers to the words, metaphors and narratives used routinely to describe an ‘informationalised’ society. This can be referred to as language of change that reflects a real-world process of change. Implicitly or explicitly, the change described is no change in the literal sense of the word, but a rapid and far reaching transformation brought about by the information super highway, through the permeating intensity of its interactive outlets.

Of importance to this research is the assumption that an analysis of the language of e-discourse is not essentially comparable to that of a conversation because its type of discourse is “asynchronous, with an immediacy in retraction and response that is sometimes restrictive” (Marcelo and Perera, 268). They further emphasise that: Electronic discourse differs from face-to-face communication in the to-and-fro, since interruptions and overlaps are not possible. In electronic discourse, interactivity has two poles: that of the message sender and that of the respondent. The submission about the difference between the two discourse types is perhaps strengthened by the fact that a time-lag exists in interactions between the sending of a text and when the sender receives a response and this makes interruptions impossible in e-discourse. Davis and Brewer (1997:1), while focusing on the analysis of discourse in social media contexts, stress the point that e-discourse is one form of interactive communication that is complex and multifaceted. Interest in E-discourse is often predicated on the multi-disciplinary nature of the field and its diverse layers of textual applicability and analysis.

Crystal (2006:19) draws a distinction between electronic discourse and computer-mediated-discourse when he says ‘electronic discourse’ emphasises the interactive and dialogic components while ‘CMC’ focuses on the medium itself. In his book, Language and the Internet, the author argues that the Internet is not just a technological revolution but a social one as well. He reasons that language is inescapably central to the revolution and explores the role of language on the Internet and the effect of the Internet on language. He coins the word ‘Netspeak’ as the word for the language of the Internet, a new medium which is ‘neither spoken, written nor sign language, but a new language dimension – computer-mediated language.

‘ Crystal perceives of ‘netspeak’ as a creation for the expansion and enrichment of language. According to him, ”Netspeak is marked by brevity and sufficient functionality that reminds us that ‘speak’ here involves a fusion of writing as well as speaking, and that the ‘speak’ suffix also has a receptive node that includes ‘listening and reading”’.Having examined language use and language change via the Internet, which he describes as ‘a linguistic singularity … a genuine new medium’, Crystal underscores the point that the Internet is less a technological fact than a social one, and ‘its chief stock-in-trade is language’ (236). He asserts that with the advent of the Internet ‘we are on the brink of the biggest language revolution ever’ (2006:241) probably because of the phenomenal effect of technology on human communication. 2.15 English as the Global Language of the InternetIn discussing the global status of the English language as the language of the Internet, Crystal (1) states that there have been several attempts at ‘presenting to the world an uncomplicated scenario suggesting the universality of the language’s spread and the likelihood of its continuation’, as it is ‘rapidly becoming the first global lingua franca’. Ostensibly, the global status of English is accentuated by the fact that the media find the language as a veritable emblem for the thematic burnishing of certain concepts such as globalisation, diversification, progress and identity. Crystal (2003:3) makes a case for the global status of English when he mentions ownership as a determining factor.

This ownership factor highlights the functional plasticity of English and the ever-evolving dynamics of an effective language that should deservedly earn the global status. He asserts that: Indeed, if there is one predictable consequence of a language becoming a global language, it is that nobody owns it anymore. Or rather, everyone who has learned it now owns it- ‘has a share in it’ might be more accurate – and has the right to the use of it in the way they want. The relationship between the global spread of English and its impact on other minority languages is still generating a lot of debate among language experts, globally.

The advent of the Internet has further heightened and broadened the scope of the argument since the language of the internet is prominently English. Crystal (2003: 21), a leading scholar in this debate, notes that for any language to compete for global status, three concepts should be fully examined: linguistic power, linguistic complacency and linguistic death. In the area of linguistic power, the consideration should be whether the {native} speakers of a global language are likely to be in a position of power more than those who learnt it as official or foreign language. In the aspect of linguistic complacency, the focus should be on whether the usage of the global language has the capacity to eliminate the motivation for learning other languages and for linguistic death, the question should be if the emergence of a global language will hasten the death of minority languages and widespread language death. His position is that English is an embodiment of the concepts raised and therefore merits the global status. The English language enjoys a prominent position outside its ‘native’ territory as the adopted language that is used to accomplish a lot of things in non-native contexts and at the global level. Naturally, this global status seems to threaten the existence of other languages as Crystal has subtly admitted. Warschauer et al.

, (2002:310) have expressed fear concerning the frontline posture of English as the language of the Internet. They argue that the degree to which the use of new technology would further strengthen the global status of English to the point of replacing other languages should be the most feared consequence of the overwhelming influence of English. To deal with this problem, they suggest that speakers of other languages should develop new forms of writing. The issue raised in this statement is one that points to linguistic dominance. The assumption is that since English is the flagship of technological advancement in human communication, a continuous use of the platforms of the Internet would strengthen its status to the detriment of other minority languages in the world. As noted by Barber, Beal and Shaw (2009:255), English has become a world language because of its wide diffusion outside the British Isles, to all continents of the world through trade, colonisation and conquest. The world language status of English has indeed been made possible by its centrifugal and interventionist tendencies. 2.16 New Media and GlobalisationThe rise of new media has increased communication between people all over the world and the centrality of the Internet in this upswing is a truism. New media have encouraged self- expression through blogs, websites, videos, pictures, and other user-generated media, hence establishing globalisation as a social reality. Croteau and Hoynes (2003: 311) stress the point that new media are radically breaking the connection between physical place and social place, making physical location much less significant for our social relationships. The point underscored is that virtual communities established online have eroded geographical boundaries and existing social restrictions to interpersonal relationships. The concept of new media raises the issue of globalisation and the self-defining nature of social networks. Virtual communities are occupied by people who carry out activities that people engage in real life. Holmes (2005) reasons that people in virtual communities use expressions on screens to achieve a lot of objectives where the computer becomes a second self that has its own soul that can serve as a possible replacement for human relationships (184). Opinions are divided when the factors responsible for the process of globalisation are broached. Arguments in favour of technological determinism are frowned on by mainstream media studies experts. For academics, however, the preoccupation should be an exploration and understanding of the myriad of processes by which technologies attain their globalising nature, with a view to making predictions for their future development. In response to the foregoing argument, Castells (1999) contends that:Technology does not determine society. Nor does society script the course of technological change, since many factors, including individual inventiveness and entrepreneurialism, intervene in the process of scientific discovery, technical innovation and social applications, so the final outcome depends on a complex pattern of interaction. Indeed the dilemma of technological determinism is probably a false problem, since technology is society and society cannot be understood without its technological tools (5).Castells’ position espouses a middle course or ‘soft deterministic’ approach which evaluates the relationship between society and technology as a symbiotic one. Similarly, Manovich (2001: 42) has argued that new media follow the dictates of the globalised society whereby citizens are solely responsible for the construction of their own lifestyles and the selection of their own ideologies from an array of choices, thereby refocusing marketing as a strategy that should target each individual separately rather than a mass audience.Unarguably, new media change continuously because they are constantly undergoing modification and redefinition by the interactional forces between users, emerging technologies, cultural changes and several other variables. The technologies described as ‘new media’ are digital, interactive and often susceptible to manipulations. Facebook, WhatsApp and Yahoo Chats Rooms are common models of participatory social media. Virtual spaces provide new and interesting insights into the strategies of communication on these new interactive platforms. The language of the Internet that has risen and still rising through user interactions in text-based chat rooms and computer-simulated contexts has inspired new language developments within digital communities and a resource for scholarly exploration. In this Chapter of the research, an attempt has been made to provide a review of related studies, thereby setting the theoretical base for the research and putting the research into perspective. The review has summarised and synthesised as well as discursively evaluated the materials relevant to the research. The purpose has been to harness scholarly ideas and documented evidence in the literature to reveal the missing gap which this present research has filled. It is believed that through this review, some insight into the literature and the current state of scholarly efforts has been shown.


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