Linguistic Individuals in Virtual Space
Copyright © 2000-2007 Isabel Pedersen
Davis and Brewer examine the corpus of an interactive conference and provide a discourse analysis of their findings.
The electronic conference takes place in a highly controlled manner. A number of students are required to participate in a discussion of newspaper articles with students in their own class, others classes and other classes on separate campuses. They are not wholly anonymous.
The writers argue that electronic conference discourse is not a genre, but an emergent register that is different from electronic messaging or email communication. They spend a great of space outlining the way that this register aligns itself with neither written nor oral communication, but a combination of the two resulting in something different and new.
They use the metaphor of chiming to explain the way that the students interact with each other and use emulation and repetition to communicate within the conference. One “chimes in” to respond to ongoing discussion. Davis and Brewer state that “a chime of bells is a repetitive, recursive patterning; to chime in is an act that aligns the new ringer of chimes within the overall pattern discerned, hypothesized, projected (137).
Overall, it is a very thorough analysis of the beginnings of a register.