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Errors outside the lab: the interaction of psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic variables in the production of verb spelling errors in informal computer-mediated communication.

We will investigate how social and mental processes interact in the production of spelling errors in informal computer-mediated communication (CMC). Unlike many CMC-studies, the research will not focus on prototypical CMC-features, but on unintentional spelling deviations on verb forms whose pronunciation corresponds to two spelling forms (homophones). We will study an extensive corpus of informal CMC produced by Flemish adolescents. The correct rendering of verb homophones presupposes the time-consuming application of grammatically informed spelling rules. Psycholinguistic findings show that, when working memory runs out of resources, the higherfrequency homophone can cause intrusion errors. While we expect social variables to affect (1) the NUMBER of spelling errors, we assume that they are less likely to affect (2) the PATTERN of these errors. Hypothesis (1) is inspired by sociolinguistic findings on gender and age differences with respect to norm sensitivity. Norm sensitivity should affect working-memory (conscious processing); hence, only error rates. We will also include the youngsters' educational track. Hypothesis (2) is related to the online writing process, which triggers speedy interaction. We will investigate whether the CMC-context leads to the same intrusion errors that writers find so hard to control under time-pressure. This interdisciplinary approach should lead to innovative contributions to psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and CMC-studies. -
Date:1 Jan 2018  →  Today