Structural characteristics of electronic discourse : a comparative analysis of InterChange text

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Ko, Kwang-Kyu
Ely, Christopher M.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of English
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This study was designed 1) to reveal the structural characteristics of an electronic discourse text, namely InterChange, and 2) to associate the characteristics with underlying functional factors in comparison with spoken and written discourse. The characteristics of Interchange were examined in terms of frequency and discourse functions.This comparative analysis has revealed that the structure of Interchange is characteristically different from spoken and written discourse. Comparatively speaking, in Interchange electronic discourse, interpersonal involvement is far higher than in written discourse, but slightly lower than in spoken discourse. The fragmentary quality is generally higher than spoken discourse as well as than written. Syntactic and semantic variation falls between spoken and written discourse.Three distinctive feature distribution patterns emerged in the analysis of Interchange features, with which the underlying discourse mechanism of Interchange was interpreted. The linguistic features in Pattern I occur with higher frequency than in written discourse, but lower than in spoken. It was posited that this occurrence pattern of Interchange features reflects the mutual interaction of elements of speaking and writing. The linguistic features in Pattern II occur with higher frequency than in both spoken discourse and written discourse, and the linguistic features in Pattern III occur less often than in both spoken discourse and written discourse. It was suggested that this may be due to functional needs.