Volume 28, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



With unprecedented transformations taking place in the landscape of what to say and how we mean, interactions in the digital age take on various new forms of and . To make sense of “what it is that is going on” requires an understanding of the context wherein the computer-mediated communications take place. Focusing on a burgeoning online video commenting discourse in mainland China called (a media feature that projects viewer comments onto the video, like a ‘bullet curtain’), the present study applies the schematic construct of context of situation and its paradigmatic representation developed in Systemic Functional Linguistics to a functionally-driven discussion of Danmaku context. Drawing on a corpus of comments from 18 well-received videos on Bilibili.com (a major Danmaku site in mainland China), the study provides a fine-grained analysis that highlights emergent technological and semiotic variables in the Danmaku Mode, such as anonymity, invisibility, dynamicity, and pseudo-synchronicity. It then discusses how these variables mediate the properties of Field and Tenor and further impinge upon the experiential and interpersonal meanings made in Danmaku communication. The analysis also highlights the carnivalesque nature of Danmaku which makes it an increasingly popular social media platform in mainland China.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bakhtin, Mikhail
    1984Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics (Caryl Emerson, ed. and transl.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 10.5749/j.ctt22727z1
    https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctt22727z1 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bargh, John A. & Katelyn Y. A. McKenna
    2004 The Internet and social life. Annual Review of Psychology55. 573–590. 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922
    https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bowcher, Wendy L.
    1999 Investigating institutionalization in context. InMohsen Ghadessy (ed.), 141–176. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.169.09bow
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.169.09bow [Google Scholar]
  4. 2007 Field and multimodal texts. InRuqaiya Hasan, Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen & Jonathan Webster (eds.), Continuing discourse on language (Volume2), 619–646. London: Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. 2014 Issues in developing unified systems for contextual field and mode. Functions of Language21 (2). 176–209. 10.1075/fol.21.2.02bow
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.21.2.02bow [Google Scholar]
  6. 2018 The semiotic sense of context vs the material sense of context. Functional Linguistics5(5). 1–19. 10.1186/s40554‑018‑0055‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s40554-018-0055-y [Google Scholar]
  7. Butt, David
    2004Parameters of context: On establishing the similarities and differences between social processes. Sydney: Macquarie University unpublished mimeo.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Butt, David G., Alison R. Moore & John R. Cartmill
    2016 Transactions between matter and meaning: Surgical contexts and symbolic action. InSarah J. White & John Cartmill (eds.), Communication in surgical practice, 181–206. London: Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Cheng, Hong
    2019 Freedom and carnival: Cultural dissemination strategies of Danmaku videos: A case of Bilibili.com. [in Chinese]. Today’s Mass Media2. 136–138.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Cloran, C.
    1999 Context, material situation and text. InMohsen Ghadessy (ed.), 177–217. 10.1075/cilt.169.10clo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.169.10clo [Google Scholar]
  11. Collot, Milena & Nancy Belmore
    1996 Electronic language: a new variety of English. InSusan C. Herring (ed.), 13–28. 10.1075/pbns.39.04col
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.39.04col [Google Scholar]
  12. Derks, Daantje, Agneta H. Fischer & Arjan E. R. Bos
    2008 The role of emotion in computer-mediated communication: A review. Computers in Human Behavior24(3). 766–785. 10.1016/j.chb.2007.04.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2007.04.004 [Google Scholar]
  13. Djonov, Emilia & Theo van Leeuwen
    2018 Social media as semiotic technology and social practice: The case of Research Gate’s design and its potential to transform social practice. Social Semiotics28 (5). 641–664. 10.1080/10350330.2018.1504715
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2018.1504715 [Google Scholar]
  14. Firth, John Rupert
    1950 Personality and language in society. Sociological Review42. 37–52. 10.1111/j.1467‑954X.1950.tb02460.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.1950.tb02460.x [Google Scholar]
  15. Eisenlauer, Volker
    2017 Social network sites/Facebook. InChristian Hoffmann & Wolfram Bublitz (eds.), Pragmatics of social media, 225–242. Berlin: Mouton. 10.1515/9783110431070‑009
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110431070-009 [Google Scholar]
  16. Ghadessy, Mohsen
    (ed.) 1999Text and context in Functional Linguistics. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.169
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.169 [Google Scholar]
  17. Goffman, Erving
    1974Frame analysis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Halliday, M. A. K.
    1989Spoken and written language. Oxford: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. 1994An introduction to functional grammar, 2nd edn. London: Edward Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Halliday, M. A. K. & Ruqaiya Hasan
    1976Cohesion in English. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. 1985Language, context, and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Hasan, Ruqaiya
    1981 What’s going on: A dynamic view of context in language. InJames E. Copeland & Philip E. Davis (eds.), The seventh LACUS Forum, 106–121. Columbia, SC: Hornbeam Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. 1985 Part B. InM. A. K. Halliday & Ruqaiya Hasan, 51–118.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. 1994 Situation and the definition of genres. InAllen Grimshaw (ed.), What’s going on here? Complementary studies of professional talk, 127–172. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. 1999 Speaking with reference to context. InMohsen Ghadessy (ed.), 219–328. 10.1075/cilt.169.11has
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.169.11has [Google Scholar]
  26. 2009 The place of context in a systemic functional model. InM. A. K. Halliday & Jonathan Webster (eds.), Continuum companion to Systemic Functional Linguistics, 166–189. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. 2014 Towards a paradigmatic description of context: Systems, metafunctions, and semantics. Functional Linguistics1 (9). 1–54. 10.1186/s40554‑014‑0009‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s40554-014-0009-y [Google Scholar]
  28. Herring, Susan
    (ed.) 1996Computer mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.39
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.39 [Google Scholar]
  29. 2001 Computer-mediated discourse. InDeborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen, & Heidi E. Hamilton (eds.), The handbook of discourse analysis, 612–634. Maldenn: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. 2004 Slouching toward the ordinary: Current trends in computer-mediated communication. New Media and Society6 (1). 26–36. 10.1177/1461444804039906
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444804039906 [Google Scholar]
  31. Jacobson, David
    2007 Interpreting instant messaging: Context and meaning in Computer-mediated Communication. Journal of Anthropological Research63(3). 359–381. 10.3998/jar.0521004.0063.303
    https://doi.org/10.3998/jar.0521004.0063.303 [Google Scholar]
  32. Johnson, Daniel
    2013 Polyphonic/pseudo-synchronic: Animated writing in the comment feed of Nicovideo. Japanese Studies33(3). 297–313. 10.1080/10371397.2013.859982
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10371397.2013.859982 [Google Scholar]
  33. Jones, Rodney H.
    2004 The problem of context in computer-mediated communication. InPhilip LeVine & Ron Scollon (eds.), Discourse and technology: Multimodal discourse analysis, 20–33. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. 2015 Discourse, cybernetics and the entextualization of the self. InRodney H. Jones, Alice Chik & Christopher A. Hafner (eds.), 28–47.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Jones, Rodney H., Alice Chik & Christopher A. Hafner
    2015a Introduction: Discourse analysis and digital practices. InRodney H. Jones, Alice Chik & Christopher A. Hafner (eds.), 1–17. 10.4324/9781315726465
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315726465 [Google Scholar]
  36. (eds.) 2015bDiscourse and digital practices: Doing discourse analysis in the digital age. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315726465
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315726465 [Google Scholar]
  37. Jovanovic, Danica & Theo Van Leeuwen
    2018 Multimodal dialogue on social media. Social Semiotics28 (5). 683–699. 10.1080/10350330.2018.1504732
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2018.1504732 [Google Scholar]
  38. Lemke, Jay
    1995Textual politics: Discourse and social dynamics. London: Taylor & Francis.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Li, Jinying
    2017 The Interface affect of a contact zone: Danmaku on video-streaming platforms. Asiascape: Digital Asia4(3). 233–256. 10.1163/22142312‑12340079
    https://doi.org/10.1163/22142312-12340079 [Google Scholar]
  40. Ma, Xiaojuan & Nan Cao
    2017 Video-based evanescent, anonymous, asynchronous social interaction: Motivation and adaption to medium. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, 770–782. 10.1145/2998181.2998256
    https://doi.org/10.1145/2998181.2998256 [Google Scholar]
  41. Malinowski, Bronislaw
    1923 Supplement 1: The problem of meaning in primitive languages. InCharles Kay Ogden & Ivor Armstrong Richards (eds.), The meaning of meaning, 296–336. London: Routledge & Keegan Paul.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Martin, J. R. & Peter R. R. White
    2005The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English. Basingstoke: Palgrave. 10.1057/9780230511910
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230511910 [Google Scholar]
  43. Murray, Denise E.
    1988 The context of oral and written language: A framework for mode and medium switching. Language in Society17. 351–373. 10.1017/S004740450001294X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S004740450001294X [Google Scholar]
  44. 2000 Protean communication: The language of Computer-Mediated Communication. TESOL Quarterly34(3). 397–421. 10.2307/3587737
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3587737 [Google Scholar]
  45. Poulsen, Søren Vigild & Gunhild Kvåle
    2018 Studying social media as semiotic technology: a social semiotic multimodal framework. Social Semiotics28(5). 700–717. 10.1080/10350330.2018.1505689
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2018.1505689 [Google Scholar]
  46. Poulsen, Søren Vigild, Gunhild Kvåle, & Theo van Leeuwen
    2018 Social media as semiotic technology. Social Semiotics28 (5). 593–600. 10.1080/10350330.2018.1509815
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2018.1509815 [Google Scholar]
  47. Scott, Claire Emily
    2011 Exploring diachronic register change in reports of armistice 1902–2003. Linguistics and the Human Sciences4(3). 241–264. 10.1558/lhs.v4i3.241
    https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v4i3.241 [Google Scholar]
  48. Shen, Yang, Li Shuchen, Ye Xiaoxiao & He Fangping
    2010 Content mining and network analysis of Microblog spam. Journal of Convergence Information Technology5(1). 135–140. 10.4156/jcit.vol5.issue1.16
    https://doi.org/10.4156/jcit.vol5.issue1.16 [Google Scholar]
  49. Shortis, T.
    2007 Gr8 txtpectations: The creativity of text spelling. English, Drama. Media8. 21–26.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Tannen, Deborah
    2013 The medium is the metamessage. InDeborah Tannen & Anna Marie Trester (eds.), Discourse 2.0: Language and new media, 99–117. Georgetown: Georgetown University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Thurlow, Crispin
    2006 From statistical panic to moral panic: The metadiscursive construction and popular exaggeration of new media language in the print media. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication11(3): 667–701. 10.1111/j.1083‑6101.2006.00031.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00031.x [Google Scholar]
  52. 2012 Determined creativity: Language play in new media. InRodney Jones (ed.), Discourse and creativity, 169–190. London: Pearson.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Thurlow, Crispin, Laura Lengel & Alice Tomic
    2004Computer mediated communication: Social interaction and the internet. London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Tuomela, Raimo & Kaarlo Miller
    1988 We-Intentions. Philosophical studies: An international Journal for philosophy in the analytic tradition5(3). 367–389. 10.1007/BF00353512
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00353512 [Google Scholar]
  55. Waseleski, Carol
    2006 Gender and the use of exclamation points in computer-mediated communication: An analysis of exclamations posted to two electronic discussion lists. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication11. 1012–1024. 10.1111/j.1083‑6101.2006.00305.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00305.x [Google Scholar]
  56. Wu, Qunfang, Sang Yisi, Zhang Shan & Huang Yun
    2018 Danmaku vs. forum comments: Understanding user participation and knowledge sharing in online videos. InAndrea Forte, Michael Prilla & Adriana Vivacqua (eds.), Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork, 209–218. New York: AMC. 10.1145/3148330.3148344
    https://doi.org/10.1145/3148330.3148344 [Google Scholar]
  57. Yang, Y.
    2020 The danmaku interface on Bilibili and the decontextualized translation practice: A semiotic technology perspective. Social Semiotics30(2). 254–273. 10.1080/10350330.2019.1630962
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2019.1630962 [Google Scholar]
  58. Yates, Simenon J.
    1996 Oral and written linguistic aspects of computer conferencing: A corpus based study. InSusan C. Herring (ed.), 29–46. 10.1075/pbns.39.05yat
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.39.05yat [Google Scholar]
  59. Zappavigna, Michele
    2015 Searchable talk: the linguistic functions of hashtags. Social Semiotics25(3). 274–291. 10.1080/10350330.2014.996948
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2014.996948 [Google Scholar]
  60. Zhang, Leticia-Tian & Daniel Cassany
    2020 Making sense of danmu: Coherence in massive anonymous chats on Bilibili.com. Discourse Studies22(4). 483–502. 10.1177/1461445620940051
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445620940051 [Google Scholar]
  61. Zhang, Yi
    2020 Adopting Japanese in a popular video-sharing website: Hetereoglossic and multilingual communication by online users of Bilibili.com. International Multilingual Research Journal14(1). 20–40. 10.1080/19313152.2019.1627856
    https://doi.org/10.1080/19313152.2019.1627856 [Google Scholar]
  62. Zhao, Sumin & Michele Zappavigna
    2018 The interplay of (semiotic) technologies and genre: The case of the selfie. Social Semiotics28(5). 665–682. 10.1080/10350330.2018.1504724
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2018.1504724 [Google Scholar]
  63. Zhao, Yuxiang, Peng Xixian, Tang Jian & Song Shijie
    2017 Understanding young people’s We-intention to contribute in Danmaku websites: Motivational, social and subcultural influence. iConference 2017, 359–369.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error