Discourse Analysis and Text Messages: Part 1

This project will be worth 75 of the TBD points.

The purpose of this mini-discourse analysis is to wrestle with the following questions:

1. What’s the main purpose for which people use texts? Look for frequency of use of key words and/or phrases.

2. How does relationship with recipient change the register/language? Attend to word use, use of emoticons, compressing words [text spelling], and punctuation.

3. How does the length of the text conversation reflect life style and attention span? Examine frequency, who initiates conversation, number of words used by each person, number of texts in each conversation, times conversations occur, and time between responses.

After reading this article, and with our class discussion in mind, select text streams with three different individuals:

  • A person of authority (parent, supervisor, professor)
  • A good friend
  • A romantic partner or a person of differing gender than your good friend

Set parameters–will you examine the last 50 texts exchanged or the texts exchanged over the last week/month/your choice.

Either type out the texts AS THEY APPEAR (don’t correct them!!) or take screen shots and print them out.

Gather your data based on the above questions. Count, track, articulate your findings on paper.

On Monday, November 17th, we’ll aim to make something of this data and to write up our findings.


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