Ta as an emergent language practice of audience design in CMC
This study examines the use of ungendered third person Chinese pronoun ta in digital first-and-third person voiced discourses (i.e. small stories). The study asks what implications the script choice ta, as opposed to gendered 他 ta ‘he’ and 她 ta ‘she’, has for audience design and the facilitation of character empathy. The study draws on 131 digital texts from celebrity verified accounts on social media platform Sina Weibo in October 2015. From a Discourse Analytical perspective focused on deixis relative to the notion of empathy in storytelling, the study investigates emergent practices which involve the orthographic manipulation of gender. The study proposes that ta is an interpersonal resource whose deictic properties as a non-standard spelling are exploited as a property of audience design to facilitate an appeal to empathy. This facilitation is advanced by the script choice which offers a wider scope of reference, and thus targets a wider audience.
- Study background
- Data and methodology
- Results and discussion