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Orthography, Structure and lexical choice as identity markers in social tagging environments

Emma Tonkin, Orthography, Structure and lexical choice as identity markers in social tagging environments. IADIS International Conference on Web Based Communities. July 2008. No electronic version available.

Abstract

Lexical choice, idiosyncratic composition and orthography receive more interest in the area of linguistics than in community informatics. However, language use and the underlying referents are understood to be deeply embedded in the wider social network construct, and stylistic attributes of text can become a defining feature in environments such as the Web, on which text-based communication predominates. Therefore, features of even a short text are potentially valuable functional markers for participants and researchers alike. This paper briefly examines the role of lexical choice a?? the choice of a term to convey a given meaning a?? and stylistic choices in orthography in a social informatics environment, taking as an exemplar a dataset from eight tagging services. A number of specific communities are examined from the perspective of specialist terminology employed by each group. Through these brief studies, a sense is gained of the various parameters of language use, and angles through which these may be studied.

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