Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2542-9477
  • E-ISSN: 2542-9485
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This article focuses on the question of whether online news comments are like face-to-face conversation or not. It is a widespread view that online comments are like “dialogue”, with comments often being referred to as “conversations”. These assumptions, however, lack empirical back-up. In order to answer this question, we systematically explore register-relevant properties of online news comments using multi-dimensional analysis (MDA) techniques. Specifically, we apply MDA to establish what online comments are like by describing their linguistic features and comparing them to traditional registers (e.g. face-to-face conversation, academic writing). Thus, we tap the and the Canadian component of the . We show that online comments are not like spontaneous conversation but rather closer to opinion articles or exams, and clearly constitute a written register. Furthermore, they should be described as instances of argumentative evaluative language.


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