Code-switching in electronic writing : the weblog’s case

Marie-claude Penloup, Fabien Liénard

Université de Rouen, France Université du Havre

WS120: Code-switching in electronic writing: The levelling and maintaining of linguistic borders

The term Weblog is a portmanteau word, coming from the contraction of “web” and “log”. A log refers to the log book in the navy (the ship’s record) and in the American aviation. Thus a weblog is website on which one or several people freely express themselves periodically. When used in French and English speaking country, weblog becomes “blog” by the apherisis – or elision – of web. Il we don’t take the ever-increasing commercial blogs into consideration, we can say that a blog can be compared to a virtual diary through a format that integrates text, images and hypertext. A blog is more active than a personal online journal since the authors, the “scripters” can receive the comments that may be written by visitors. Our interest in this particular communicational practice stems from the fact that France has ranked 4th in the world in terms of blogs since 2006, with almost 9 million blogs, way behind the US (50 million), China (36 million) and Japan (10 million), but well ahead of the United Kingdom (4 million) and Germany (1 million) – Source: Blog Herald Tribune, Technorati, Journal du Net. According to a survey carried out by Ipsos Mori (November 2006), 40% of the bloggers are between 15 and 34, and blog readership in Europe is made up by 50% ofthis particular age group. Such a phenomenon cannot leave the researcher in Human Sciences indifferent. If studies have started to crop up here and there, they are still few and far between. Besides, they devote their attention to revealing remarkable features; they usually come up with the same conclusion: blogger are generally adolescents or young adults. If stands to reason for us to focus on the blog writers. We would like to contact phenomena that can be identified in these unilingual or multilingual blogs. Our intention is to carry out a spotting of scriptural processes that are typical of electronics writing so as to set into relief the effect of multilinguism on electronic writing and the status of the “scripter”. We will take these parameters into account to carry out a case study, (Liénard: 2005, 2007), a deep dive into the blogosphere. The case study will be based on the comprehensive study of 3 blogs (selected for the marks of multilingualism that they reveal) as well as interviews with each one of the “scripters”. This initial study should allow us to come up with a first description of language contacts in the blogs and the blogosphere which is gradually emerging as a virtual and / or linguistic community. We are thus keeping a close watch on ordinary pieces of writing, something our team has been doing for many years now (Penloup:1999, 2006, 2007).

Session: Workshop (part 1)
Code-switching in electronic writing: The levelling and maintaining of linguistic borders
Friday, April 4, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 01