Pictures, Parables, Paradoxes
Images and the Challenge of the Internet
Ágnes Veszelszki Emoticons vs. Reaction-Gifs Non-Verbal Communication on the Internet from the Aspects of Visuality, Verbality and Time 1. Overview The aim of this paper is to analyze a new form of non-verbal communication on the internet: reaction-gifs. After an overview of fundamental assumptions of linguistic research on digital communication, I am going to show different pos- sibilities of expressing emotions on the internet and in the third step I will present the results of an empirical research on reaction-gifs. 2. Fundamental Assumptions of Linguistic Research on Digital Communication 2.1. Technological Determinism Linguistic – in particular pragmatic – studies of non-verbal signs in digital com- munication are characterized to some extent by technological determinism, the claim of which has been made with various degrees of strength and exclusivity. The fundamental assumptions suggest that the constraints and affordances of the medium and technology determine (linguistic) behaviour. In other words, the digital language variant (also called digilect1) – determined by information and communication technology – continuously keeps up with the latest developments of information technology, thus it constantly changes itself. Based on the find- 1 The term, coined by the author, refers to the language use of computer-mediated com- munication (CMC). Digilect is a new language variant with specific features that are not characteristic of communication transmitted by other media. It can be considered as a new stylistic layer (register); or as a sociomediolect, a new provisional category located somewhere between sociolect and mediolect; or – as the most feasible op- tion – due to its novelty, continuous...
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