Title page for ETD etd-11152010-220929

Type of Document Dissertation
Author LeBlanc, Tracy Rene
Author's Email Address tfont11@lsu.edu, tracy.leblanc@gmail.com
URN etd-11152010-220929
Title 1337 \/\/4YZ 0F $p34K1NG: Toward a Unifying Pragmatic Theory of Virtual Speech Community Building
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Linguistics (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Brody, Mary Jill Committee Chair
Buckingham, Hugh Committee Member
Hegarty, Michael Committee Member
King, Jeremy Committee Member
Casbergue, Renee Dean's Representative
  • intertextuality
  • holism
  • ethnopragmatics
  • flaming
  • topic shifting
  • corpus linguistics
  • leet speak
  • pragmatics
  • discourse analysis
Date of Defense 2010-10-29
Availability unrestricted
Building a speech community requires building a shared history of communicative interaction. Within a virtual medium, speech community members employ accommodations for the lack of shared physical space that face-to-face interactions provide. These accommodations, amassing through extended discourse, bring to light the communicative strategies that virtual interlocutors employ in order to build community. Drawing from a corpus of unscripted, naturally occurring discourse of a particular virtual speech community, I engage three frames of linguistic analysis in order to recognize the communicative strategies that constitute speech community building. Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995) accounts for the individual cognitive work involved in asserting membership in a speech community. (Im)politeness Theory (Culpeper 1996) accounts for the negotiation of membership in a speech community via impolite interactions. Stance Theory (Du Bois 2007) accounts for the intersubjectivity of said negotiation, where members situate themselves within the community through their discourse. Each of the three models serve to highlight particular aspects of speech community building but fall short of accounting for the intricate endeavors of entering, maintaining membership in, and negotiating place in a speech community that exists with other speech communities within a larger culture. I propose the ethnopragmatic method, or EPM, which emphasizes the importance of each level of the discourse world (the EP world) the individual, interlocutors, speech communities, and the larger culture. Each level of the EP world contains histories of interaction, which ultimately inform discourse meaning. While the EPM is too cumbersome for utility as a discourse analytic model, it nonetheless serves to showcase the multi-faceted and interdependent phenomena involved in communicative interaction.
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