21st May 2014 4:30pm-6:00pm
Checkland Building, Falmer Campus
Greek-Alphabet English: Vernacular transliterations of English in social media
Dr Thiresia Spilioti, Cardiff Univesity.
This paper examines the use of English-related forms in Greek computer-mediated discourse. Early work on computer-mediated discourse attested to the spread of English on the Internet, privileged by the dominance of the ASCII character set in technological environments. Since then, the Internet has become increasingly multilingual (Danet & Herring 2007), with localised software enabling the representation of diverse languages online. At the same time, typographic resources, such as Roman characters, have been used in creative and unexpected ways, resulting in the emergence of localised forms like Romanised Arabic, Greek, Punjabi, Chinese, etc.
Rather than focusing on such transliterations of local languages, this paper explores the use of English-related forms in online mixed language practices, with a focus on the new phenomenon of vernacular transliterations of English in local scripts (e.g. Arabic, Korean and Greek). Drawing upon examples of communication between Greek speakers via social media platforms, the paper analyses the functions and social meanings of such code-centred choices in the users’ (re)appropriation of English in the specific contexts. Rather than assuming a priori the indexical values and social meanings of the use of English in global new media contexts, mixed language practices with improvised vernacular transliterations attest to an increased complexity in the use of English and other languages in digital communication (Seargeant & Tagg 2011). This paper explores how the complex notion of ‘super-diversity’ provides an adequate framework to approach English as a resource in the speakers’ repertoire and understand its social meanings by taking into account the social, cultural and/or political discourses invoked by such mixed language practices.