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Linguistic accommodation in teenagers’ social media writing: convergence patterns in mixed-gender conversations

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The present study analyzes the phenomenon of linguistic accommodation, i.e. the adaptation of one’s language use to that of one’s conversation partner. In a large corpus of private social media messages, we compare Flemish teenagers’ writing in two conversational settings: same-gender (including only boys or only girls) and mixed-gender conversations (including at least one girl and one boy). We examine whether boys adopt a more ‘female’ and girls a more ‘male’ writing style in mixed-gender talks, i.e. whether teenagers converge towards their conversation partner with respect to gendered writing. The analyses focus on two sets of prototypical markers of informal online writing, for which a clear gender divide has been attested in previous research: expressive typographic markers (e.g., emoticons), which can be considered more ‘female’ features, and ‘oral’, speech-like markers (e.g., regional language features), which are generally more popular among boys. Using generalized linear mixed models, we examine the frequency of these features in boys’ and girls’ writing in same- versus mixed-gender conversations. Patterns of convergence emerge from the data: they reveal that girls and boys adopt a more similar style in mixed-gender talks. Strikingly, the convergence is asymmetrical and only significant for a particular group of online language features.
Tijdschrift: Journal of Quantitative Linguistics
ISSN: 0929-6174
Volume: 99
Aantal pagina's: 28
Jaar van publicatie:2020