Ampersand (2018-01-01)

Individual variation in reduction processes in L2 English academic textchat

  • Jonathan R. White

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5
pp. 18 – 28


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This article presents a study of individual variation in computer-mediated communication. Different reduction processes, which reduce the formality and usually the orthographical form of an expression, are used at varying frequencies by non-native speakers of English in academic textchat seminars. Such processes are classified into four categories: clipping, homophone respelling, phonetic respelling, and mixed processes. It is demonstrated, by comparing the relative frequencies at which these processes are used, that most individuals actually follow the norm of the speech community by having frequencies within ±1 standard deviation of the mean frequency of each process for the Cohort. There is, thus, very little true variation in the form of outlier individuals. This result supports research into individual variation which argues that individuals may vary in their linguistic behavior, but generally follow community norms. Keywords: Reduction, Clipping, Homophony, Individual variation, Standard deviation