Article published in:Expressing and Describing Surprise
Edited by Agnès Celle and Laure Lansari
[Review of Cognitive Linguistics 13:2] 2015
► pp. 383–414
The computer-mediated expression of surprise
A corpus analysis of chats by English and Italian native speakers and Italian learners of English
This paper investigates how Italian native speakers express surprise in English as their second language on Facebook. A qualitative study was conducted on a corpus of forty English utterances by Italian native speakers conveying surprise and two control corpora composed of forty Italian and forty English native speakers’ expressions. First, a systemic approach will be adopted: by analysing the order in which the speaker reacts to, comments on, and wonders about new information, the objective is to determine a pattern peculiar to the verbal expression of surprise, and to ascertain how the mother tongue and the language-learning background are influential when expressing an instinctive reaction such as surprise in a foreign language. Attention will then be paid to the lexical expression of surprise. In particular, the analysis will focus on the features specific to non-native speakers (i.e. use of verbs and code-switching), on the codes peculiar to CMC (i.e. smileys and punctuation), and on how these codes are employed to convey surprise disruption, valence and intensity. By examining all these aspects, this research examines how English non-native speakers express surprise in chats.
Keywords: Facebook, code-switching, intensity, surprise, CMC
Published online: 31 December 2015
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