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Att förhandla om ords betydelser online

Conference contribution
Authors Jenny Myrendal
Published in OFTI 32 Göteborgs universitet, 18-19 september 2014
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language sv
Keywords semantics, pragmatics, word meaning negotiation, online communication
Subject categories Linguistics


The focus of this study is word meaning negotiation (WMN) in communication in online discussion forums. WMN occurs when participants who are engaged in discussion about some topic remark on the word choices of others, and thereby initiate a meta-linguistic sequence in the main discussion. When entering into a WMN sequence, a particular word choice is openly contested and therefore under dispute. As a consequence, the ordinary flow of the discussion "on topic" is interrupted, and the focus is shifted to a lexical form and its associated meaning. Once a WMN sequence has been launched, participants openly negotiate between themselves their understandings and uses of the target word in the current context. WMN seems to originate in either non-understanding between the participants about what a word means in the current situation, or in disagreement between participants regarding the appropriateness of a certain word in a specific context. A dialogical perspective on meaning in language and communication is adopted in this study, which assumes that words in themselves do not have fixed, literal meanings, but instead partly open meaning potentials. The study will hone in on the process in which meaning potentials are used to create situated meaning in actual conversational contexts, as interlocutors take turns at discussing and contextualising how a word should be used and understood in a way that is mutually acceptable (and understandable) to all participants. As a result, the study aims to empirically explore the notions of meaning potentials and situated meaning, and to address the question of how meaning in concrete utterances is produced from words which have meaning potentials through processes of WMN in discussion forum communication.

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