Iconicity, intermediality, and interpersonal meanings in a Social Semiotic Space

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Sets of strategies labelled ‘markers’ were identified in email texts based on features which have not traditionally been considered conventional or desirable in written text due to its more ‘reflective’, more editable affordances. The analysis attended both to their interpersonal function as well as their use as iconic of the technologically mediated context in which they appear. In these contexts participants address an unseen audience, where both response and reduced potential misunderstandings are necessary. The iconicity of these textual markers is related to participants’ need to frame their contributions with recognised forms which make reference to the same types of hesitations, politeness markers, and acknowledgement of heteroglossic space common in synchronous contexts. Such markers then become not only iconic of those real-time cues, but also iconic of the context of interaction itself.


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