Social Media

Authored by: Francisco Yus

The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415531412
eBook ISBN: 9781315668925
Adobe ISBN:


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A generally accepted view of pragmatics is that it studies human-to-human communication and how hearers (or readers) turn what speakers (or writers) code (e.g. an utterance, a text, a multimodal discourse) into meaningful interpretations with the aid of contextual information. In a prototypical situation, hearers will try to trace (i.e. metarepresent) speakers’ underlying communicative and informative intentions and access the intended amount and quality of contextual information, so as to reach an adequate interpretive outcome. However, as so-called cyberpragmatics addresses (Yus 2010, 2011a), and as will be briefly commented on later, the Internet alters this prototypical situation due to a number of factors, including the cues-filtered quality of some discourses, or the fact that cognitive rewards and environmental constraints play a part in the eventual quality of understanding (Yus 2011b) and are not so prominent in face-to-face interactions. Furthermore, in the case of social media, concepts such as “author”, “reader” or “discourse” shift into innovative forms of communication on the Net. This chapter is devoted precisely to the constraints that social media impose on traditional pragmatic research.

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