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Title: Self-presentation and self-positioning in text-messages : embedded multimodality, deixis, and reference frame
Author: Lyons, Agnieszka
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 6522
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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Texting has often been treated as verbally minimalist, notionally transactional, and, consequently, expressively impaired due to its text-only (mono-modal) character. Despite this, even with the development of new modes of electronically mediated communication (EMC) which made available a wide range of rich (multi-modal) communicative possibilities, texting has maintained its well-established position. This thesis approaches texting as communicatively rich and explores its expressive possibilities in the context of establishing texters’ deictic centres and representing aspects of physicality. Based on the analysis of nearly two thousand text-messages written by British and Polish native speakers and subsequent semi-formal interviews with the senders, I argue that senders position themselves discursively at one of four locations: their own physical deictic centre, the deictic centre of their communicative partner, a mutually agreed space distinct from either of their deictic centres, or a joint (virtual) communicative location with the recipient. I recognise the existence of social location and negative location, as well as location expressed through actions and motion. Additionally, I establish that physicality and body are represented through a variety of enacted (rather than described) sensory information, including auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic. Through the employment of these discursive tools, which follow certain presentation rules, texters create their alterae personae through which actions are performed in virtual space. I argue that text-messages should not be treated as monomodal, but as characterised by embedded multimodality, a term which I introduce. Methodologically, I draw on interactional sociolinguistics (e.g., Gumperz 1982; Tannen semantics (e.g., Lyons 1977; Talmy 1985; Fauconnier 1985), text-grammar (Nunberg 1990), mediated discourse analysis (e.g., Scollon and Levine 2004), and multimodal discourse analysis (e.g., Norris 2004). This interdisciplinary study advances current knowledge about discursive self-positioning and self-presentation in EMC, and provides insights about texting as a mode of communication that offers wide expressive possibilities despite its physical restrictions. As well as adding to theoretical discussion about motion verbs and performativity, the study contributes to research on deixis, physicality, and place, the expression of which is manifested in text-messages. 1989), performativity and speech act theory (e.g., Austin 1962; Searle 1975, 1979).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics ; Texting ; electronically mediated communication