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Responses to indirect speech acts in a chat room
English Today (2004)
  • Elizabeth C Scheyder, University of Pennsylvania

This study compares one aspect of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to oral communication by examining the types of responses that are given to indirect speech acts in a chat room versus the types of responses that are given in a telephone conversation. In this case, the chat room functions as a recitation meeting for an undergraduate course and the telephone conversations are taken from a study done by Clark in 1979. Indirect speech acts are those that have a literal meaning (e.g., “Do you have a dollar?” – the surface question is a request for information) as well as an indirect meaning (in this case, a request for money). Responses can consist of just the answer to the surface question, that answer plus the information indirectly requested, only the information indirectly requested, or some other form of response. The percentage of each type of response was compared in the two forms of communication. Clark found that the majority of responses consisted of only the information requested, and as predicted, the typed environment of the chat room yielded an even greater majority of this simplified form of response.

  • speech acts,
  • computer mediated communication,
  • CMC
Publication Date
April, 2004
Publisher Statement
Citation Information
Elizabeth C Scheyder. "Responses to indirect speech acts in a chat room" English Today Vol. 20 Iss. 2 (2004)
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