Reviewd 04 May 2014 Dalian China: Technology Coordinator @ Dalian American International School.


Conversational Analysis of Chat Room Talk PHD thesis by       Dr. Terrell Neuage  University of South Australia National Library of Australia.

THESIShome ~ Abstract.html/pdf ~ Glossary.html/pdfIntroduction.html/pdf  ~ methodology.html/pdf  ~ literature review.html/pdfCase Study 1.html/pdf~ 2.html/pdf~ 3.html/pdf~  4.html/pdf~ 5.html/pdf~  6.html/pdf~  7.html/pdf~ discussion.html/pdf  ~ conclusion.html~ postscipt.html/pdf~ O*D*A*M.html/pdf~ Bibliography.html/pdf~  911~ thesis-complete.htm/~ Terrell Neuage Home Appendixes  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.  DATA ~ Case Study   1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ These links are from early notes and not the final edits which are in the published version available at the University of South Australia only. Not all links are active due to changing domains. Home page see  /


Casual Chatroom Chat (CCC) (*TN) A conversation in a chatroom which is not serious or intended to discover details on a subject. Most casual chatroom chat, similar to non-formal pub casual chat, consists of conversation typical of, ‘hi’ ‘hows everyone’.

Chat Events (CE) (*TN) are all the individual turn-taking text of a particular participator in a chat room, including entering, leaving and lurking.

Chat Room Analytical Practices (CRAP) *TN

Chatroom graffiti *TN The messages conveyed through the work of graffiti artists are often highly political and deliberately aggressive. Some people will go from chatroom to chatroom leaving messages but not particpating in actual chatroom converation, I refer to this as chatroom graffiti.

Chat Utterance Sentence Structures (CUSS) *TN The sentences of a chat turn-taking. Unlike sentences of with nouns and verbs to establish a complete thought, chat sentences are typically made up of two to five words or emoticons. I have averaged the amount of words in twelve chatrooms, consisting of 1357 lines (turn takings) and found the average word count, including abbreviations and emoticons to be 3.7 items.

Chatter's-Event-Response-Gaps (CERG) *TN The pause between chatters who are 'speaking' with one another. There are often other voices which fill these gaps.

Conversational “lag”.  Conversational lag is a pause where the next speaker has been selected but it may be filled with responses from others in the chatroom responding to other turn-takings. The ‘lag’ may be caused by many other factors, as I have alluded to above.

Cut utterances – due to hitting the entrace key an utterance is cut between turn-takings in a chatroom. In some cases several turns of other chatters could occupy this space

Ethnomethodology refers to understanding the meaning systems and procedures people use in doing what they do, the ways in which people make sense of their social world. Ethnomethodology represents a recent sociological perspective, founded by the American sociologist Harold Garfinkel in the early 1960s. Garfinkel redrew the sociological map of the late 1960s and 1970s, with later developments extending to conversation analysis (CA) and actor-network theory (ANT). The main ideas behind it are set out in his book "Studies in Ethnomethodology" (1967).

Event Pause (EP) *TN The break between utterances of a user in a chatroom. The most usual incidence of this is when the sever places an ad in the chatroom and it appears between utterances. It also occurs when no one writes for a specific period of time.

Illocutionary is a complete speech act, made in a typical utterance which consists of the delivery of the propositional content of the utterance and a particular illocutionary force whereby the speaker asserts, demands, promises, vows or suggests. Relating to or being the communicative effect (as commanding or requesting) of an utterance <”There's a baby under you” may have the illocutionary force of a warning>.

Lag is the distance between speech events of a speaker in a chat situation, a pause between utterances.

Lexical Semantics A term in linguistics for the study of the meaning of words, phrases, and lexemes, especially in sets rather than in isolation. See Lexical Field/Set, Semantics. [Language]. T.McA.  The Oxford Companion to the English Language, © Tom McArthur 1992 online: 2 May 2002

Locutionary is defined with reference to the intentions of speakers while speaking. Locutionary acts are referring, predicating, negating and subordinating. A constative (see below) or locutionary act involves the utterance's proposition or its propositional content.

Metaphysical-chat-linguistics (MCL) *TN is anticipating what will be said before the completion of the utterance, either due to the writer-speaker hitting the “enter” key on the keyboard or the chat server not allowing more than a couple of lines at a time to be shown on the screen, thus breaking the conversation before it is completed.

Multilogue are the many conversations happening at one time within a chatroom as well as the overall conversation of all who are present.

Multiple Selves Chat (MSC) *TN A feature of chatrooms. The author is able to have several different representatives of his or her self in conversation at one time. As only one person can log on a chatroom at a time the person wanting to have multiple representation in a chatroom would need to have several windows open of the one chatroom but be logged on as a different username in each window.

Multiple-Authorship Chats (MAC) *TN  First discussed in Case Study 2.

MultiUser Talk (MUT) written by Jukka Pihl

Online Discourse Analysis Method (ODAM) (*TN) Online Discourse Analysis Method. The method I am developing to study the language of online communication using abbreviations, misspelled words and emoticons.

Online Lingo  (OL)  (*TN) Using all the parts of speech in a chatroom includes the emoticons, abbreviations, sounds (if available in a chatroom setting) and the words typed in.

Online Native Speaker (ONS) (*TN) Speaking fluently online using properly emoticons, abbreviations and miss spelt words to communicate.

Optimality Theory.  Theory of constraints in phonology, floated in the early to mid-1990s, in which any universal constraint on the form that units can take is capable, in principle, of being broken; in any particular case, however, the constraints will be arranged in a hierarchy from least readily to most readily broken, and their optimal application to forms in a particular language can be computed from this. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics, © Oxford University Press 1997 online: 2 May 2002

Performative Verb - A term used in philosophy and linguistics for a type of verb (apologize, forbid, inform, promise, request, thank) that can explicitly convey the kind of speech act being performed. In saying I apologize for my behaviour, someone is making an apology, which could also be done in part at least without such a verb: My behaviour was utterly deplorable. Generally, the performative verb in such sentences is in the simple present active and the subject is 1, but the verb may be in the simple present passive and the subject need not be 1: Smoking is forbidden; The committee thanks you for your services. A test for whether a verb is being used performatively is the possible insertion of hereby: I hereby apologize; The committee hereby thanks you. In hedged performatives, the verb is present but the speech act is performed indirectly: in saying I must apologize for my behaviour, the speaker is expressing an obligation to make an apology, but implies that the acknowledgement of that obligation is the same as an apology. In contrast, I apologized is a report, and Must I apologize? is a request for advice. The Oxford Companion to the English Language, © Tom McArthur 1992

Perlocutionary is the effect of their utterances, 'This means that every utterance can be analysed as the realization of the speaker's intent to achieve a particular purpose' (Eggins &Slade 1997, p. 40). Perlocutionary acts are persuading, intimidating and incriminating. Perlocutionary and llocutionary are both kinds of speech acts found in this chatroom.

Person2Person-offline (p2P-off) *TN

Person2Person-online (P2P-on) *TN

Phenomenology: ‘A system of "presuppositionless" philosophy developed by Edmund Husserl, who sought to investigate the pure data of human consciousness -- its Lebenswelt, or "lived world." According to Husserl's key concept of intentionality, consciousness is always consciousness of something; it is always directed to an object. Bracketing external reality (epoché) and making neither epistemological assumptions about the foundations of knowledge nor ontological assumptions about the nature of being, the phenomenologist examines the intentional objects of consciousness without making reference to any external objects or real existence.’ © Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown, University of Toronto .

Readerly and Writerly Texts: Translated from Barthes' neologisms lisible and scriptible, the terms readerly and writerly text mark the distinction between traditional literary works such as the classical novel, and those twentieth century works, like the new novel, which violate the conventions of realism and thus force the reader to produce a meaning or meanings which are inevitably other than final or "authorized." © 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.

Speech Act Disruptions (SAD) *TN Sponsorship ads appearing chatrooms are a performative speech act disruption.

Speech Act Community A group of speakers, whether located in one area or scattered, who recognize the same language or dialect of a language as a standard. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.  2000.

Speech Act Community Online ( SACO ) *TN is where people come together to exchange. What is exchanged is dependent on the chatroom topics. The ability to share meaning and continuous conversations within the SACO is what makes it a community. (CS 2.1.2)

Speech situations (chatroom situations) are composed of “speech events” (chatroom events) (Hymes, 1974) and these activities have rules governing the use of speech (e.g. getting-to-know-you conversations - (Gudykunst and Kim 1997 p. 328).

Tangent Topic Thread (TTN)  *TN For example, see appendix 6, CS-6.5 Table 5.

Text-Based-Chatrooms (TBC). *TN Text-Based-Chatrooms are a blip in the history of human writing and only short time period of computer-mediated communication (CMC). As more and more chatrooms add multimedia attributes, writing may become a minor or even a non-existent form of online communication. With voice-boards and voice-forums such as available from Wimba ( and chatrooms being 3D with virtual worlds which use voice and keyboard commands to move around the screen and with the growing use of avatars, TBCs may fade into a past genre of electronic writing peculiar to the period from approximately 1993-2003. Virtual chat is available from several sources such as Traveler (, The Palace ( Active Worlds (

Thread – A line of conversation

Thread-framing - Thread-framing is a phenomena in chatrooms, where a topic beginning and ending are marked. In a chatroom these framed pieces of conversation are not necessarily sequential. They twist around, stop and start, and several may occur at one time in a seemingly chaotic fashion. Framing gives a starting and finish point to a thread.

Turn-taking  A pragmatic conversation principle usually (but, heaven knows, not always) respected in which each participant in a dialogue takes turns at speaking. The rules that govern turn-taking are rather complex and involve subtle factors like intonation, contour and pausing as well as the more straightforward invitations from the other person to speak, such as questions and partial lead-ins. The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology, © Arthur S. Reber 1995

Virtual-Mindfield *TN Creations of one’s world view online.