Title

Features of Digital African American Language in a Social Network Site

Publication Title

Written Communication

Publication Date

2014

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1177/0741088314547188

Keywords

African American language, digital language, literacy, sociolinguistics, nonacademic, Netspeak, online writing, MySpace, social network site

Disciplines

English Language and Literature

Abstract

This study examines a social network site (SNS) where specific interlocutors communicate by combining aspects of academic American English (AE), digital language (DL), and African American Language (AAL)—creating a digital form of AAL or digital AAL (DAAL). This article describes the features of DAAL in the discursive, online context of MySpace, by analyzing a corpus of DAAL comments (1,494 instances). The use of SNSs affords a space where AAL exists in written form, serving the function of approximating spoken AAL. More interesting, however, is the function that DAAL serves as a text that is visually distinct from AE, emphasizing the orthographic freedom of DAAL on SNSs. By examining how DL and AAL exist and combine in an SNS environment, this research found DAAL to be a robust form of written communication.


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