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Title: Text-messages and social interaction : genre, norms and sociability in Greek SMS
Author: Spilioti, Thiresia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3475 3201
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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Text-messaging or Short Message Service (SMS) concerns the asynchronous, instant, and two-party exchange of digitally composed texts in an environment of mobile communication. Unlike previous sociolinguistic studies of SMS, this thesis sets out to explore text-messaging not only as individual texts but also as contributions to SMS-sequences, embedded in the participants' everyday interaction. The empirical data collected for this purpose concern primarily everyday exchanges of text-messages among participants who belong to the age group of 'youth' (15-25 years old, as defined in marketing campaigns of SMS) and live in urban centres (e.g. Athens, Greece). Rather than presupposing a 'new SMS language', this study focuses on how users of text-messaging manipulate verbal and graphemic choices as resources in order to suit the interactional needs of the environment at hand. The graphemic representation of Greek SMS is explored in terms of the participants' use of alphabetical encoding, capitalization, and punctuation. The norm of Greek-alphabeted upper-case script in my data is discussed in relation to the medium's technological affordances and the participants' stance towards new media. At the same time, my findings indicate that unconventional graphemic choices, such as letter-shape alternation and multiple punctuation, operate as contextualization cues, compensating for the paucity of paralinguistic signals in SMS and indexing the participants' emotive stances. Moreover, the exploration of sequential patterns in Greek text-messaging reveals that the prototypical structure of 'opening-body-closing' orients to and co-varies with specific interactional issues, related to establishing contact, participants' relationships and SMS communicative purposes. Last, but not least, the focus of analysis shifts to the inter-relations between text-messaging and other social activities. The practice of topicalizing current location and ongoing activities is linked with social theory's concept of 'perpetual contact' and is demonstrated to foster a sense of 'co-presence at-a-distance' which sustains and reinforces social relationships between co-participants.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available