& she was like “O_O”: Animation of Reported Speech on Twitter

Peter Wikström


This study relates discourse-pragmatic aspects of the use of the quotatives say, be like, be all, and go to the question of the supposed or actual spoken-likeness of written computer-mediated communication (CMC). 1,800 tokens of reported speech, collected from Twitter, were analyzed in a “constructed dialogue” framework (Tannen, 2007). The results show that users of Twitter employ various CMC devices to animate and modally enrich reported speech, especially in speech reports with be like, be all, and go. They perform a style of communication that is reminiscent of conversational speech, even while having qualities that seem to belong uniquely to CMC.



CMC; paralanguage; Twitter; reported speech; quotative; constructed dialogue; animation

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