Gema Olaso - A Faceted Classification Scheme for CMDPresentation Transcript
Unit 4: LANGUAGE AND THE MEDIA By Gema Olaso Morant University of Valencia, 2009-2010
Herring (2007): “ A Faceted Classification Scheme for Computer-Mediated Discourse”
Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) = predominantly text-based human-human interaction mediated by network computers or mobile telephony.
CMC provides an abundance of
data on human behavior and language use.
Problem of information organization
Aim of Article
To classify CMC with a focus of online language and language use ( Computer-Mediated Discourse ), based on multiple categories or “facets”.
The goal of the CMD scheme is to articulate aspects of context ( technical and social ) that potentially influence discourse usage in CMC environments.
1980’s and early 1990’s: attempts to classify CMD in two modalities of language : speech & writing, as if it were a single homogenous genre or communication type.
Popularization of Internet: the focus was on describing the liguistic features of individual genres of CMD. But the concept of “genre” can be applied to communication at different levels of specificity and is imprecise.
Modes approach (technologically-defined subtypes). But CMD was sensitive to situational factors as well.
Not clear how genre and mode approaches could be used to classify new forms of CMD or discourse that takes place via customized systems that operate within restricted (educational, governmental, etc.) domains.
Need of a classification of CMD based on multiple categories or “facets” :
- Intended as a faceted lens through which to view CMD data in order to facilitate linguistic analysis.
- Intended to complement genre or mode- based analysis.
2- BACKGROUND Conceptual Foundations
Discourse analysts have traditionally classified discourse into types according to various criteria: modality, number of discourse participants, text type and genre or register, being in a non-exclusive and hierarchical relatioship to one another.
But classification facilitates analysis : exemplars of the same type of discourse tend to share features that distinguish them collectively from other discourse types; it facilitates comparison across types.
The communication model of Hymes comprises these categories:
S etting, scene
A ct sequence
It was adopted in spoken
Three Previous Classifications of CMD
Classification of CMD in relation to speaking and writing tended to consider only one form of CMD.
some researchers have suggested a continuum:
asynchronous CMD position closer to writing
synchronous CMD position closer to speaking
Classification of CMD that focuses on individual modes of CMD, describing the characteristics of communication in each.
Classification of CMD according to pre-defined set of categories.
Bayn identified 5 factors that condition variation in CMD: the external contexts in which CMC use is situated, the temporal structure of the group, the computer system infrastructure, the purpose of communication, and the characteristics of the group and its members.
It is grounded in empirical observations
It takes the contributions of the computer system into account
Utility demonstrated through application to data
Only 5 factors
In none of the studies was classification the primary objective.
3- FACETED CLASSIFICATION
Approach to the organization of information with origins in the field of library and information science.
Intended to highlight those features of CMC that most directly affect users’ linguistic choices.
Facets = categories or concepts of the same inherent type.
A faceted scheme has several facets and each facet may have several terms or possible values (E.g. Wine.)
It’s an analytico-synthetic method: a subject domain is firt analyzed into component facets, and relevant facets are then synthesized into combinations to characterise items of interest.
The facets don’t have to be ordered, nor be of the same type, although they should be clearly defined and mutually exclusive.
Its purpose is not to facilitate information storage and retrieval, but to facilitate data selection and analysis in CMD research.
4- THE FACETED CLASSIFICATION SCHEME FOR CMD Overview of the Faceted Classification Scheme
CMD is subject to two basic types of influence
open ended, unordered, non-hierarchical relationship.
Technological features of CMC systems
The inclusion of a set of technological factors in the approach does not assume that the computer medium exercises a determining influence on communication in all cases, although each factor has been observed to affect communication in at least some instances.
One reason for including medium factors as a separate list is to attempt to discover under what circumstances specific system features affect communication and in what ways.
The inclusion of a set of situation factors assumes that context can shape communication in significant ways, although it does not assume that any given factor is always influential.
Categories may or may not interact, just as there may (or may not) be patterned correspondences between medium and situation factors.
The categories are realized by more than one possible value.
The categories may be heterogenous, with values that are binary, scalar, or a list of discrete items.
The scheme may be applied to data samples of almost any size, although not all categories are relevant for very small samples.
M1: Synchronicity of articipation
Asynchronous systems: users don’t have to be logged on at the same time to send and receive messages
Synchronous systems: sender and addressee must be logged on symultaneously (real-time chat.)
M2: Message transmission
1-way: message by message; the receiver does not have any indication that the sender is composing a message until it is sent and received, so the receiver can’t give simultaneous feedback.
2-way: character by character; the sender and the receiver can see the message as it is produced, so the receiver can give simultaneous feedback. It can alter the structure of turn taking.
M3: Persistence of transcript
How long messages remain on the system after they are received (email, discussion lists, etc. vs. chat systems.)
Greater persistence of CMD heightens meta-linguistic awareness: it allows users to reflect on their communication and keep track of and participate in multiple conversational threads.
M4: Size of message buffer
It’s the number of characters the system allows in a single message (email vs. chat, mobile phones.)
Smaller buffers mean shorter messages and different discourse organizational strategies, like abbreviated language.
M5: Channels of communication
Visual channels: text + graphics/video
The presence of video images affected the amount and gender distribution of discourse on an educational website.
Audio channels: videoconferencing systems (skype)
M6: Anonymous messaging (chats, forums)
M7: Private messaging (chats)
M8: Filtering (messages)
M9: Quoting (emails)
It is possible for users to engage in these behaviors without any special technical means, but when such means are available, they facilitate the behaviors, making them more likely to happen.
M10: Message format
It determines the order in which messages appear, what information is appended automatically to each and how it is visually presented, and what happens when the viewing window becomes filled with messages (chat, forums vs. blogs vs. wikis.)
S1: Participation structure
One-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one
Degree of anonymity/pseudonymity
Group size; number of active participants
Amount, rate, and balance of participation
S2: Participant characteristics
Demographics: gender, age, occupation, etc.
Proficiency: with language/computers/CMD
Experience: with addressee/group/topic
Role/status: in real life; of online personae
Pre-existing sociocultural knowledge and interactional norms
Attitudes, beliefs, ideologies and motivations
Of group, e.g., professional, social, fantasy/role-playing, aesthetic, experimental
Goal of interaction, e.g., get information, negotiate consensus, develop professional/social relationships, impress/entertain oters, have fun
S4: Topic or theme
Of group, e.g., politics, linguistics, feminism, soap operas, sex, science fiction, South Asian culture, pub
Of exchanges, e.g., the war in Iraq, the project budget, gay sex, vacation plans, personal information
Serious/playful, formal/casual, contentious/friendly, cooperative/sarcastic, etc.
Activities are discursive means of pursuing interactional goals. E.g., “debate” as a means of impressing others with one’s intellectual insight.
Of social appropriateness
Language, language variety
Medium factors may correlate
with situation factors
In principle the 8 situation dimensions are independent of one another. In practice, they tend to combine in predictable ways.
5- SAMPLE CLASSIFICATION
1st blog: LiveJournal.com
It has hosted over 11.9 million blogs
2nd blog: Quest Atlantis
It’s a game-like online learning environment for children 9-12 years old, used mainly in the USA, Australia and Syngapore, under the supervision of their classroom teachers, and maintained by a fictional Atlantian girl, Alim
Common medium features:
M2, 1-way message transmission
M3, persistence of messages in archives linked from the sidebar of the blog
M5, web-based delivery and a tendency for messages to be text only
M10, display of blog entries in reverse chronological sequence with a “comment” option below each entry
Common situation features:
S1, one-to-many participation
structure and imbalanced participation
S2, holding blog author gender
S8, use of the English language
Differences in medium features:
M6. Whereas LJ allows anyone to create a blog from a made-up name, anonymity is impossible in the QA blogs, since all users must register throgh their classroom teachers.
M7. LJs are publicly available on the web unless designated as “friends only”, whereas QA activity is closed to the public.
M10. The LJ interface is more sophisticated, providing users with more options.
Differences in situation features:
S1. Group size (the potential audience of each blog) varies widely as a consequence of the public/private nature; rate of participaion is slower on the QA blog; and posting rights are asymmetrical (only “Alim” can post entries; in the LJ only the blog owner can post in her own blog, but commenters all have their own blogs, so everyone has a chance to both post and comment).
S2. Age, roles, previous experience and the relationship among participants differ between the two samples
S3, S5, S7. The purpose, its topic/theme, the tone of messages and comments, and the norms of interaction and norms of language use are different.
As the Internet expands, it continues to create new varieties of discourse that call out for analysis and classification.
The faceted classification scheme is intended to complement existing mode-based classification of CMD.
The faceted classification scheme classifies discourse samples in terms of clusters of variable dimensions, thereby preserving their complexity and allowing for focused comparisons within and across samples.
Limitations of the faceted classification:
It can seem verbose and difficult to condense due to its relatively non-hierarchical structure.
The scheme is based primarily on research findings for textual CMC. Mobile and voice-over-IP communication raise additional classificatory challenges.
The scheme is not in itself a contribution to a theory of genre, but is rather a preliminary aggregation of factors that will have to find a place in a theory of CMD genres.
Thomas, L. et al. (1999/2005) Language, Society and Power: An Introduction , London: Routledge.