Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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The purpose of this study is to examine language choice, language alternation and code-switching practices in Instant Messaging (IM). Specifically, this article presents the results from an analysis of the written conversations of a specific community formed by Valencian adults fluent in English. Taking a computer-mediated, discourse-centred ethnographic approach to online discourse, the study has shown that, in this specific trilingual online community of language teachers, language choice and the choice of a specific written variety is intimately related to audience. The group members mix Catalan, English and Spanish regularly, their language choice and code-switching strategies serving to establish in-group solidarity, familiarity and lessen face-threatening acts. Switches to English, sometimes followed by a switch to Catalan, are usually employed for humorous word play. Interestingly, the case study exemplifies how the use of a certain language may be highly correlated to ideological and political considerations.


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