Features of English in CMC and their implications for language learning
The similarities and differences between written and spoken forms of language have been a focus of interest of many scholars. There is agreement that instead of being a dichotomy or one single continuum, the differences between spoken and written forms can be measured along several dimensions. The coming into existence of computermediated communication (CMC) has made the line of distinction even less obvious. It is technically a writing (key-pressing) behaviour but may be used to carry out spontaneous communication. This study is intended to investigate the special linguistic features of CMC versus non-CMC texts. The study adopts a corpus linguistic approach to analyse a host of 67 linguistic features in synchronous and asynchronous CMC genres and finds interesting differences in the use of these features when used in different temporalities of CMC contexts. A comparison of these features in CMC genres with those in non-CMC texts also reveals some special characteristics of language developed through the use of CMC. The study suggests that, within the general development of CMC, there are emerging genres reflecting particular contexts. As CMC may soon become a major means of communication, and corpus linguistics is an innovative linguistic approach, awareness of CMC is likely to be of increasing importance for language learning. Some pedagogical suggestions are proposed from the experience and findings that have been gained.