The Pragmatics of Reduced Forms in an Internet Community of Practice
Jonathan R. White, Högskolan Dalarna
In this chapter, reduced forms in English chat language data are analysed. They consist of both orthographically reduced forms, and informal, more phonetically spelled forms. For most forms, the reduction is recoverable from the explicit discourse context. Most reduced items have their full form as an antecedent, or otherwise it is clear from the discourse context what full form they are related to. If the item is salient in these ways, then it can be recovered if reduced. This procedure is explained through Relevance Theory as part of the process necessary to decode propositions. Reduced forms are decoded from the context as full forms, and then can be explicated along with the rest of the contribution. Some forms can be reduced because they are high frequency lexical items, or are functional categories related to specific speech acts, often with a discourse-linking function. Reduced forms can become standardised through use by a community of users, and the effort of decoding a reduced form is offset by the weak implicature that users are members of an online community of learners.
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