The Multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication Online

The Multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication Online

The Multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication Online

The Multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication Online

Synopsis

Two thirds of global Internet users are non-English speakers. Despite this, most scholarly literature on the Internet and computer-mediated-communication (CMC) focuses exclusively on English. This is the first book devoted to analyzing Internet related CMC in languages other than English. The volume collects 18 new articles on facets of language and Internet use, all of which revolve around several central topics: writing systems, the structure and features of local languages and how they affect internet use, code switching between multiple languages, gender issues, public policy issues, and so on. The scope of languages discussed in the volume is unusually broad, including non-native English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Spanish, Japanese, Thai, and Portuguese. This book will be of great interest to anyone studying linguistics, applied linguistics, communication, anthropology and information sciences.

Excerpt

This book marks the culmination of the second stage of a two-stage project initiated in 2002. In that year, we co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication about multilingualism on the Internet (published in 2003). Our call for papers, distributed online, yielded far more proposals than we had expected, and many of high caliber. Because of this evident interest in online multilingualism, and knowing that we could include only a limited number of articles in the special journal issue, we conceived the idea of an extended volume.

This book reproduces the eight articles originally published online, some in slightly abridged or modified form. These studies were authored by David Palfreyman and Muhamed Al Khalil, Yukiko Nishimura, Hsi-Yao Su, Dimitris Koutsougiannis and Bessie Mitsikopoulou, Salvador Climent and colleagues, Mercedes Durham, Sandi de Oliveira, and Siriporn Panyametheekul and Susan Herring.

Most of the other chapters were commissioned by us in response to proposals submitted by authors, with a few exceptions. Two pioneering attempts to investigate aspects of multilingualism online that had previously been published elsewhere are reprinted here, with minor modifications—these are the chapters by Mark Warschauer and colleagues about online communication in Egypt and by Ann-Sofie Axelsson and her collaborators on attempts to switch languages in a graphical chat environment. We invited several other scholars to submit articles based on their expertise in relevant areas. Ruth Wodak agreed to prepare a chapter about her work on multilingualism in Europe and in the European Union; she was joined by Scott Wright, whose doctoral dissertation at Lancaster University proved relevant. Jannis Androutsopoulos contributed a study of language choice and code switching . . .

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