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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 36, Issue 3


Metalinguistic comments in teenage personal blogs: Bringing youth voices to studies of youth, language and technology

Ksenija Bogetić
Published Online: 2016-04-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0012


The language that young people use in technologically mediated interactions has been sensationally exoticized by the mass media, constructed as a distinct form of communication barely comprehensible to adults, and presented as a threat to standard English, as well as to human relationships and the social order. The question of young people’s actual role in linguistic and social change is one that runs through much of the existing research on the subject, but also one that remains limited to adult perspectives. In the present study, I aim to address this gap by investigating young people’s own metalanguage in a genre where traditionally such metalinguistic awareness would be little expected – in teenage personal blogs. The material used is composed of 32 personal blogs written by American teenagers in the period between 2010 and 2013, collected from a popular dating website, Mylol.net. The teenage bloggers are shown to frequently orient to their peers’ Internet language and to norms of orthography, perpetuating many aspects of standard-language ideology and linking them with adolescent concerns. I wish to use these examples in order to draw attention to the diversity of teenagers’ attitudes to language and technologically mediated communication, which works to challenge particular dominant assumptions. More broadly, I will argue that a full understanding of young people’s online practices and their potential impact on language and communication crucially requires more nuanced attention to youth voices and youth agency.

Keywords: youth; CMC; blogging; language ideology; language change


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About the article

Ksenija Bogetić

Ksenija Bogetić obtained an MA in English linguistics at the University of Oxford and a BA in English language at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Her research interests include language ideologies, (new) media language, as well as language, gender and sexuality. She is currently a lecturer and PhD candidate at the University of Belgrade.

Published Online: 2016-04-30

Published in Print: 2016-05-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 36, Issue 3, Pages 245–268, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0012.

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