Conversational Analysis of Chat Room Talk PHD thesis by Dr. Terrell Neuage  University of South Australia National Library of Australia.

THESIShome ~ Abstract.html/pdf ~ Glossary.html/pdfIntroduction.html/pdf  ~ methodology.html/pdf  ~ literature review.html/pdfCase Study 1.html/pdf~ 2.html/pdf~ 3.html/pdf~  4.html/pdf~ 5.html/pdf~  6.html/pdf~  7.html/pdf~ discussion.html/pdf  ~ conclusion.html~ postscipt.html/pdf~ O*D*A*M.html/pdf~ Bibliography.html/pdf~  911~ thesis-complete.htm/~ Terrell Neuage Home Appendixes 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ DATA ~ Case Study 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7.  These links are from early notes and not the final edits which are in the published version available at the University of South Australia only. Not all links are active due to changing domains. Home page see

Case Study 4 

Case Study 4.. 1

CS 4.0 Introduction.. 1

CS 4.0.1 Questions. 2

CS 4.0.2 Why I chose this chatroom... 3

CS 4.1 Methodology. 4

CS 4.1.1 Transcription.. 4

CS 4.1.2 Speech Act Theory. 4

CS 4.1 Discussion.. 4

Speech situations as speech events. 5

Locutionary. 6

Illocutionary. 6

Perlocutionary. 6

Performatives. 7

CS Searle. 10

Commissives. 10

Expressives. 11

Declarations. 11

Directives. 12

Representatives. 12

CS 4.3.2 Speech Act Disruptions (SADs). 15

CS4.4 Conclusion.. 15


CS 4.0 Introduction


75) <jijirika> *):) at da room

76) <AquarianBlue>** lol@dingo

77) <safetynet10> **  OMG

:) at da room

Examples of chat in this Case Study are from the “astrochat” chatroom, unless otherwise indicated (see appendix a4). As analysis moves into this highly specialised space, the above three turns are provided to show the difficulty of knowing what any particular chat is about, when only a few turns are revealed. The experience is similar to a conversation overheard or entered without knowing what the topic is. However, as shown throughout all of these Case Studies, there can be several conversations going on at any one time, making it difficult to ascertain the topic(s).

In the table above for example these are three voices, which may not have any conversational connection at all, as they may each be in response to other chat-streams of talk. Yet once again, even with unconnected streams of chat, users are able to begin some degree of interpretive engagement with a site and its talk, once they know the chatroom title, and can begin to interpret the referents behind the texted talk. The chatroom used on this case study is titled astrochat, one of thousands available through  I refer to this chatroom as  “user defined”, in contrast to a chatroom where the topic is open so that the conversation can weave and wander; from sex to religion to baseball to the price of tea in China. Any chatroom can of course attract people who will discuss any topic, however, my research into hundreds of chatrooms has shown that most chatrooms are used by people who go to them for specific discussion on a defined topic. From the first three turns I captured when entering this room, it was clear that talk in this chatroom would indeed be on astrology:

1)         <gina2b> everyones a know it all!

2)         <dingo42> nicole wahts your sign ??

3)         <AquarianBlue> yeah white told me to meet her tonight


Turn number two from <dingo42> asks <nicole wahts your sign ??>, while  the third speaker has the  user name  <AquarianBlue>. The interpretive cues are in place, and the “newby” can expect to rapidly have them confirmed.

In a ‘user defined’ chatroom a user operates within the subject limits of the chat discussion indicated in the title of the chatroom. Chatrooms entitled “astrochat“, “jesuschat“, “bondagechat“ or “54-year-old-white-adelaide-single-hetero-chat“ attract users who are specifically interested in those topics.  However, as most chatrooms are open for anyone to enter at anytime[1], the occupants of a chatroom are not necessarily only those who are interested in the topic of the chatroom title. It is common enough for instance to encounter “lurkers” who enter rooms without participating in the talk, and who may or may not be interested in the topic. It is also not unknown for users to attempt to derail topic-specific chat – especially in attempts to encounter new cyber-sexual partners (see for instance Hamman, 1998, 1999; Albright, 1995; Gilbert, 2000). But for the most part, designated topic-specific chatroom participants stay on topic, building their talk-relations – and it can be assumed, their online social relations – around the topic. It then becomes possible to ask: What are the distinctions between those two activities? How far is this “specialist” talk focused around the pursuit of knowledge or information, and how far around social relational activity more generally? With both encapsulated under the not altogether appropriate term “chat”, what are the talk-text cues and behaviours signaling to possible site entrants that this is for “serious informational talk”, and not for “light-weight bantering chit-chat”?

To this extent, the ”astrochat” site can be anticipated to offer a space intermediate between the identity-formational zone of Britney-speak participants, with their heavily self-expressive modalities, and the more constrained and formal registers of professional “BBS” styled rooms, where identity is suppressed beneath the demands of expert information exchange. At this stage, what my analysis seeks is the revelation of what is being enacted in these conversations. Inside a specialist chat founded on a field of inquiry halfway between scientific knowledge and psychological or spiritual interpretation, should we anticipate objective information provision, or the sorts of identity work outlined in Case Study Three – the Britney site? Will postings display in their talk texting the creative compounding and semiotic layering of self-expressive chat, or a more formal and direct “plainstyle” syntactic structuring? What, in talk terms, is being enacted here – and what can it tell us of the specifics of online chat practice?

CS 4.0.1 Questions

In speaking any language, through no matter which format, we are performing speech acts, making statements, giving commands, asking questions, making promises, and so on (Searle, 1965).  Such “speech acts” however vary in their concentrations and occurrences, as we shift from zone to zone, task to task, social group to social group, within our language culture. Each set of speech contexts develops its specialised sets of techniques: from the questioning repertoires of teachers or doctors – interestingly not at all the same repertoires – to the bald assertions of courtroom witnesses, or the distorted but still comprehensible orders of parade-ground sergeants or short-order chefs, to the heavy enactive burdens of such ritual phrases as “I take thee to be my lawful wedded wife”, or “I sentence you to seven years penal servitude”. But what might the analytical repertoires of Speech Act Theory reveal about the activities of astrochat? In particular, is such chat formed most distinctively around its ostensible topic: astrology, or around the tendencies encountered elsewhere in online chat behaviours – that is, should we anticipate astrology, or chat?

 And can we use Speech Act Theory in old or new ways, to describe what the language in a chatroom is doing? 

 In the first place, can difference be observed between speech online and speech face-to-face, if the topic matter is the same?

 Would an online astrological discussion differ from a face-to-face astrological conversation? And if it does, can Speech Act Theory help us to isolate what those differences might be?

CS 4.0.2 Why I chose this chatroom

I selected an astrology chatroom, partly because I have a background in the field, and can therefore anticipate recognising many of the “typical” speech behaviours of this speech community. At the same time, as a specialised knowledge arising largely outside formally recognised accrediting agencies, such as Universities, a relatively unregulated field such as astrology can be expected to have a broader than usual range of variant or “localised”, even informal, usages.  My selection therefore anticipated both familiar, and unfamiliar, communicative strategies. But how might the conversation in an astrological chatroom be different from that in a real room, full of astrologers, discussing the upcoming Saturn opposite Pluto aspect[2]?  

I had in fact expected that this chatroom would be more technical and advanced in its discussions of astrology than it was. There are astrological sites where one would need to have studied astrology for many years, not only to carry on a conversation, but also to understand what anyone else was saying[3].  The astrochat site was far from advanced[4] in terms of its astrological expertise, yet still displayed significant differences from talk practices in the other chatrooms under examination. At this early stage of my inquiry into this chat issue, I concluded then that it was indeed the online chat status of the discussion, and not the topic, which was most in ascendance in relation to the specifics of the communicative practices – yet that there was also something worthy of analysis in relation to the influence of the topic selection in the development of those communicative practices. How then, might those practices be described?

Speech act theory considers communication as a form of human action: the texture of intention and interactive persuasion and control.  To examine that texture in a specific chatroom such as this one, I would look for words, including chat-specific forms such as abbreviations and emoticons, which revealed a capacity to produce interactive responses between chat participants. In the example below for instance, it is clear that  <dingo42> is asking for a response from <Nicole528> with his direct question: <nicole wahts your sign ??> and <Nicole528> responds equally directly: <im a gemini with tauras moon and scorpio rising>.

Traditional grammar recognises three classes of speech act, distinguishable in many languages, on the basis of their form as statements or declaratives, questions or interrogatives, or commands or imperatives. Asking a question is performing a speech act: one that demands a response, and a response of a particular type. Question responses address the issues of the given question, on its own terms. If they do not, the talk breaks down – either from incapacity, or unwillingness, to respond. But in the astrochat sequences, there is clear and immediate evidence of the capacity of all participants to respond in kind. The following turn-taking sequence shows what any user might have expected to find in a chatroom about astrology, and at a level which suggests that most ordinary, non-expert participants could respond.


2)    <dingo42> nicole wahts your sign ??

11) <Nicole528> im a Gemini

31) <Nicole528> whats your sign dingo?

47) <dingo42> im a libra..much scorpio with it...astrlogist after al;l

60) <Nicole528> im a gemini with tauras moon and scorpio rising

nicole wahts your sign ??

Here, <dingo42> has simply asked what sign <Nicole528> is. The querant does  not ask to know any more than that. <Nicole528> replies equally simply with <im a Gemini> - an assertion which is however full of significance on an astrological site. <dingo42>, claiming to be an astrologer, <...astrlogist after al;l>, provides more information, addressing both the respondents’ information exchange  and the field of knowledge,  to show how much he or she knows about the topic of astrology. This identifies him or her in two ways. Firstly <dingo42> knows that astrologers are interested in more than one’s sun sign. Secondly, <dingo42> indicates that all participants on the site are likely to know that this particular astrological configuration is common among astrologers themselves: that it is a favourable aspect for astrological talent. In other words, <dingo42>’s has the outcome of deepening the information and the relational intensity, at the same time. By passing two additional pieces of information, the statement builds “in group” rapport with the interlocutors. Yet this is an indirect speech act. There is a sense of too much information being provided, as the participant moves from simple question-answer exchange, into a more multi-levelled and multi-acting contribution. Two questions can be asked here. Firstly why and when do we give more information than is asked for, when telling about ourselves? And secondly, does the initial speech act, initiated by <dingo42> as the original  querant, configured as a simple question and answer exchange, in itself invite this sort of elaboration – or is it the chat zone and its curious mix of identity-security and identity foregrounding, which invites this more complex move?  If for example <dingo42> has given more information in order to have <Nicole528> divulge in turn what her or his signs are, then it is important to examine whether the initial, very basic questioning ritual is just the “astrochat” version of IRC’s “a/s/l” cue, or an initiating gambit in all astrological conversation.

CS 4.1 Methodology

CS 4.1.1 Transcription


Once again, the collection protocol used in this chatroom is the same as that in the other case studies. I will however look more closely at the actual word sequences  written in this chatroom to discover how a sometimes seemingly incoherent conversation is able to continue. This is a smaller sampling than in other Case Studies, 16 speakers taking 85 turns, where for instance Case Study 1 had 48 speakers using 275 turns. This chatroom used more abbreviations and emoticons than Case Study 1 but fewer than Case Study 3. Because there was no emergency involved as in the first chatroom, the talk is less immediately focused.  The speakers seem more playful, constructing more linguistically-focused responses, and paying more attention to their performance as they communicate.  They are however less expressive than those in Case Study 3, marking the intermediacy of the topic focus: by no means open conversation, yet not altogether disconnected from self-expressive “identity work” of the Case 3 type.

CS 4.1.2 Speech Act Theory


The method of analysis for this case study is based on Speech-Act Theory, a theory of language use based on J. L. Austin's How to Do Things with Words (second edition, 1975), the major premise of which is that language is as much, if not more, a mode of action as it is a means of conveying information (Henderson, Greig and Brown, Christopher, 1999). Speech Act theory was developed to explain how we use language to accomplish the goals of speech acts. Many utterances are equivalent to actions. When someone says: "I name this ship" or "I now pronounce you man and wife", the utterance creates a new social or psychological reality. (Austin, 1962). Whether this occurs in this chatroom will be directly examined in this case study.

Speech acts in a chatroom are not exactly in talk mode, as discussed earlier in this study – and yet both forms are clearly interactive real-time communications. The 'speech act' when it is conducted as written text has an altogether different coding from the coding of speech acts in person-to-person conversation. Firstly, whether the chat occurs in a chatroom where people are using voice or typing, what is missing are the physical cues so important in other communications. As my study has been based on text only chatrooms the taking away of voice[5] makes it difficult to identify the speaker through tone, gender or age. Using Austin’s identifying of speech coding into locutionary acts, illocutionary acts and perlocutionary acts such as performatives it has however still been possible to look at a particular chatroom to try and discover how meaning is exchanged using only a few characters on the screen. Locutionary acts for instance, which define the intentions of speakers while speaking, are dominant in the early exchanges in the astrochat site, discussed above. But, as we have also seen already, these relatively basic statement structures move quite quickly into more complex forms – and it is this transformation, which demands some attention.

CS 4.1 Discussion

My focus in this chatroom is thus initially on the "speech-act", at its simplest terms. Even at this most reduced of levels,  it is important to test whether the contributions made produce an “unhappy” response or a “happy” response - to use the terms of Austin (1962) and Searle (1965, 1969). Speech Acts involve uttering identifiable words that are perceived as coherent to members a given speech community  (Gudykunst and Kim 1997 p. 153). But, from the start, we have difficulty with this concept in the chatroom setting.  For example, is there a speech act in the example below?


12) /\9 hehe

29) /\26 sniff sniff

34) /\32 hmmmmmmm

42) /\40 ** wb jiji

76) /\61 ** lol@dingo


Here, in speech terms, the communication appears reduced to the paralinguistic, including sniffs, murmers, and laugh markers. But in chat terms, there is also complex abbreviation work; some of it conventional – such as “lol” – some compounding convention and originality – lol@dingo - and some seemingly entirely original. The exchanges thus work as beneath speech act activity – perhaps as holding devices to register attention without any active contribution – rather in the manner of linguistic ‘continuers” such as “yeah” or “aha”.  But at the same time, given their appropriation of chat conventions, they also make clearly interpretable speech act contributions, stating, albeit in abbreviated form, such responses as “you make me laugh”; “you make me weep” – or perhaps “cry with laughter”; “I am bemused by what’s going on”, and “I am laughing out loud at Dingo”.

At first sight then the status of chatroom talk in general seems obvious and unproblematic. Surely the chatroom is a speech act community. There are speech exchanges and even continuous conversations.  Yet this is a most unusual conversational milieu, which has never before appeared in any society. Chatrooms can after all produce a never-ending conversation. They are quantitatively different. There are thousands of chatrooms available on the Internet with no set hours of operation. Moderated chatrooms may have a set time, and people can meet an authority on a topic or a famous person and talk to them, but in other chatrooms one could spend days without leaving, and carry on continuous conversation. Even though people come and go, and potentially the same person could be in a chatroom with several usernames[6] chatting as different identities, there is continuous interactive dialogue, just as there would be in a real-life setting where everyone knows one another. But at the same time they also appear to be qualitatively different. Their talk texting seems to fulfil and yet not fulfil the definitions for speech acts: to be both inside and outside its registers. So is this perhaps a new set of speech act forms? And how far is it the situation in which this speech occurs, which is driving such changes?

Speech situations as speech events

The choice of the term “speech event” to describe text-based chatroom exchanges may be seen to endorse the view that such exchanges are a form of speech, i.e. a conversation. A number of researchers have examined this question (Shank, 1993; Veselinova & Dry, 1995; Maynor, 1994) and the general consensus is that of Shank (1993):

Is Net communication like conversation? Quite a bit. Messages on the Net tend to be informal, to be phrased in conversational form, and can engender a great deal of direct and dyadic interchange. Is Net communication like writing? Absolutely. Messages are written instead of spoken.”


‘Speech situations’ (chatroom situations) are composed of ‘speech events’ (chatroom events) (Hymes, 1974) and these activities have rules governing the use of speech within particular circumstances (e.g. getting-to-know-you conversations - (Gudykunst and Kim 1997 p. 328). Often though, the whole chat, or the entire chatroom event, is little more than a ‘getting-to-know-you conversation. I have found from my research on many chat sites that most statements are of the greeting type:

32) <Night-Goddess_> anyone cool in here?

<Night-Goddess_> anyone cool in here?

At this level at least, speech act theory helps us to understand the preponderance of this sort of entry on “open” chat sites, where general conversational rules must be deployed in the absence of clear topic-focus guidelines. But to understand speech act theory more thoroughly and what it offers for chatroom analysis, we must first look more closely at the vocabulary of speech act theorists.

Speech act theory as with most schools of thought has its own sets of terms. There is a specialist language to explain the language of speech acts. Most of these terms and ideas originated with Austin (1962), with Searle (1969, 1975) later developing Austin’s insights.

John Austin’s original classification of speech acts separates acts which are locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary, including acts which are informative, performative, expressive, directive, commissive, declarative, and representative, each seeking to operate within those  “felicity conditions” which will produce an appropriate speech act in response. Such utterances can in the first instance be analysed using the basic threefold distinction: locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary acts.


A locutionary act is simply the speech act which has taken place, regardless of its intentional or enactive role. In a text-based chatroom locutions are the typed symbols that signify talk, including even for example the paralinguistic elements noted above, such as <hehe> <sniff sniff>.  While we may also – as above – attribute more complex intentional and enactive loads to these entries, at this level they are simply registered as speech acts.

14) <Nicole528> 5-28<--- hehe

29) <AquarianBlue> sniff sniff



An illocutionary act is a complete speech act, made in an utterance which typically consists of the delivery of some  propositional content within  the utterance, and connected to it a particular illocutionary force, whereby the speaker asserts, demands, vows, names, promises, apologizes, congratulates or suggests. Illocutionary acts refer to real actions which will eventuate from the messages  performed by the utterance, where saying equals doing. At the illocutionary level the chatter in effect provides interpretation of the sentences as they enact the speech. For example, <Night-Goddess_> utters <bye> in line 59. There is not only this word typed into the chatroom, but <Night-Goddess_> actually leaves the room.

An illocutionary act also therefore has an effect on the hearer. Austin calls this effect the perlocutionary act.


The perlocutionary act is the effect of an utterance. 'This means that every utterance can be analysed as the realization of the speaker's intent to achieve a particular purpose' (Eggins &Slade 1997, p. 40). Perlocutionary acts include persuading, intimidating and incriminating. Perlocutionary and illocutionary speech acts are both found in this chatroom. Yet sometimes the medium used is so reduced that the speech act may not be immediately obvious.


1) <gina2b> everyones a know it all!

25) <gina2b>  coocoocoocoo

56) <gina2b> /\47 coolfool

Perlocutionary and illocutionary chat acts

A perlocutionary act is present here, despite the extreme reduction of the formatting. <gina2b> begins the session – or at least the section which I recorded - with a statement intended  to indicate her evaluation of others in the chatroom, by responding to an earlier utterance.  (Its actual content is unknown as the previous utterance has not been a “captured“ statement). There was it appears a response from others and a discussion concerning who was “cool” in this chatroom, which led <gina2b> into making one final summarising statement in my recorded session: “coolfool“, in turn 56.

Here, none of <gina2b>’s statements can easily be given clear attribution as this or as that speech act. While both posting 25 and 56 can be regarded as perlocutionary acts, because they  assert, or at least suggest, an evaluative summary of another participant and their behaviour, both the reduced form – again, almost paralinguistic – and the wordplay: the assonance and compounding of  “coolfool” and the onomatapoeic pigeon-cooing of “coocoocoocoo”, add so much to the impact of a simple act of assertion, as to shift its significance as a speech act. .  As a perlocutionary act is a speech act that produces an effect, intended or not, achieved in an addressee by a speaker's utterance, <gina2b>’s utterance  must be interpreted as an insult – and yet one designed to impress others in the chat group, and to elicit supportive agreement alongside the stringent criticism..

The complexity of the speech situation here however raises the question of whether, in speech act theory terms, chat spaces provide “felicity conditions” for the deployment of such perlocutionary ventures.

A speech act is felicitous when it is uttered by the appropriate speaker, directed toward the appropriate hearer, and uttered at the appropriate time and place. If one or more of the above are not satisfied, the act is infelicitous.

A speech act thus has to be appropriate in both immediate context, and within social conventions more generally. Here <gina2b>’s contributions are clearly felicitous within the closed context of the chat forum, as she enacts the quick-response but heavily meaning-laden summary forms of chat communication, to indicate to a set of preferred participants, her views of the behaviour of another. As appears typical of chat participants, especially in expert or semi-expert groups, who share sufficient social capital to assume common values, <gina2b> is confident that her postings will enjoy felicity conditions – so much so, that she can code them in subtle, indirect ways, where the “appropriate hearers” can enjoy the wit, and be relied upon to interpret the correct message for themselves.



According to John Austin (1962), there is quite often more going on than the actual definitions or semantic loadings of words that we share in person-to-person conversation. Austin used the terms “performatives” and “constative” acts to describe some of these activities, and both categories have much to offer analysis of chatroom speech acts.

Verbs in Virtual Communities such as chatrooms often have a specially allocated perfomative function. In virtual environments, verbs such as “open”, “close”, “lift”, “move”, are specialised performatives, in that they they perform actions to open another screen on the computer (see Cicognani, 1996, 1997, 2000). For example in a chatroom that has private rooms one can click on the “open” button and the screen will change to where only the person selected to speak with is present. 

In a chatroom, performatives thus include words, emoticons, acronyms and abbreviations; that can ‘do’ instead of merely ‘describing ’. For a speech act to perform and be successful, two qualities must be present. Firstly, the speaker and addressee must share a common language.  If a chat participant instructs another to “move”, it must be understood that this is used within the conventions of chat space, and not those of the physical realm. Even at this most basic of levels, it is thus obvious that chat has its own set of felicity conditions, which experienced participants will deploy as the preferred usage, at least while in the chat space. This however, I suggest, cues chat users to extend specialised usages and in turn anticipate them in other users, so that the sorts of multi-loaded wordplay we saw in <gina2b>’s postings, or in the more general use of emoticons or abbreviations, become common and readily comprehensible.   Chatroom users must for instance allocate the same meanings for abbreviations and emoticons. Only then can participants work to create within these known repertoires – as <gina2b> does, with her “coocoocoocoo” play on the term “cool”.

Secondly then, within these new codings, the speaker must work to make an utterance understandable. A creative posting – one which uses new or original abbreviations or wordplay forms – must still be sufficiently within the felicity conditions of the chat coterie to be received and to activate its intended meaning(s). And it is, I suggest, a function of the specialist topic within focused chatrooms to guarantee this. <gina2b>’s postings work in this space, because here she has an interlocutory group sufficiently consensual in its values, to be able to discriminate and exclude. And part of that consensus is established not in semantic loading, but in performance – as it is with her message of judgement. One participant is being summarily dismissed not just by being described as “foolish because attempting to appear cool”, but as a “coolfool” – a speech act which is presented for the subculturally defined pleasure of the “ingroup” interlocutors, as much as to enact the dismissal of the miscreant who has occasioned the judgement.

A performative utterance includes its own successful performance. Saying it, and saying it this way, makes it so. This constitutes the conditions that a performative must meet if it is to be appropriate or successful. According to Austin, the performative 'I pronounce you man and wife' will be effective in marrying people only under the conditions that the person uttering it is qualified to solemnize marriages, that it forms part of a marriage ceremony, that the couple have agreed to marry, and so on. A performative is an utterance in which a speaker does something by the act of speaking, and is acknowledged as having the power to do so. Here, <gina2b> claims that power, with the reductive and dismissive formulation of her words: it is the aesthetics of her posting which guarantee her status and capacity to judge. In chat space, this is a crucial marker. Since real social or cultural status is unknown, the postings alone must indicate how “qualified” individual chatters are. And it is in the verbal techniques they are able to deploy that their status is displayed.

There are constant instances of postings which at first sight appear to be simple performative statements, but which also display this dual sense of “chat activating” verbs, and of the doubled “chat cultural” loading. Performative verbs are used to perform the acts they name. In the sentence “I promise not to lie”, the verb ‘promise’ is performative, because it carries out  the action it describes.  Such verbs are in other words self-referential, in that they describe their own actions and execute them at the same time.  When < tazzytaz1o1> in line 64 says  <is Outta here!>, he or she is  leaving - and in saying so both describes the content of the promise (to leave) and makes it so. Yet once again, the form in which this is done doubles what the term signifies. Not only does this enact in chat technology terms the activation of “enter” and “exit”, but it does so with a colloquial and youth-cultural coding: “outa here!”, not just as an escape, but with the implication of  “better action elsewhere: your loss…” In typically reduced form, the posting carries both a (dual) performative and an evaluative load.

Are there then other speech act types which can help explain this multi-loading tendency in chat postings – and especially in those within culturally consensual or topic-focused spaces? Once possibility is the use of the constative act. A  constative utterance is used to describe a state of affairs. It has the property of being true or false. Constatives can be concurring, insisting, affirming, disputing, claiming, identifying, conjecturing, informing, predicting, disagreeing, alleging, ranking, announcing, answering, stating, attributing, classifying, confirming, denying, disclosing, reporting or stipulating. The performance utterance, by contrast, can never be either true or false: it has its own special job; it is used to perform an action. What a performative says, it also does. 

It is surely significant that, within the astrochat site, constatives outnumber performatives – and that even in the more relational acts of affirming, disputing, disclosing, and so on, utterances are “mitigated”: coloured by consensual codings, typical of although not exclusive to chatrooms, which endorse consensus and act to confirm membership of a specialist speech community. Constatives move closer to this central chat agenda, since their purpose cannot be checked by simply looking at the actual utterance, on its own terms. Context, not activational power in the semantic loading, creates constative utterances as meaningful. There need to be other words, (or abbreviations or emoticons) to mark the reception conditions of the utterance.  One needs for instance in chat to know what particular abbreviations and emoticons represent. For example, <AquarianBlue> on the astrochat site states <wb jiji>. If one entered this conversation at this point one would have no idea, without seeing previous utterances, what this means or refers to. However, knowing only the previous two turns, it is clear that <jijirika> has returned to the room, and the abbreviation ‘wb jiji’ can be interpreted as <AquarianBlue> saying ”welcome back to jijirika”. To this extent at least the speech act is responsive to context: it reacts, rather than enacts – and this degree of inter-relational sensitivity appears crucial within chatsite talk. Add to it the familiarity implied in the use of the intensified diminutive (“jiji”, not “jijirika”), the warmth of welcome even after temporary absence, and the deployment of abbreviation, anticipating a chat-form expertise from the group, and <AquarianBlue>’s posting is working more to affirm, claim, classify, and confirm the affective and relational elements of a communicative exchange, than to produce actions. Chat talk, distantiated from physicality in its relational space, appears to refocus away from actions and into transactions.

When action-dependant statements do occur in “astrochat”, they are often marked by reference to activities “off-site”, in the real or physical world. Two types of performatives, contractual (I will) and declaratory (I do), help illustrate the point. 

In the example below <AquarianBlue> is reporting that he/she has already planned to meet ‘white’ in this chatroom.  The character ‘white’ does not appear in the chatroom selections for this data corpus, however only fifteen minutes of the conversation were collected.  There is no contractual statement present, since <white> does not appear to negotiate the agreement with <AquarianBlue>. Instead, <AquarianBlue> works constatively, to report the arranged meeting to others:

3) <AquarianBlue> yeah white told me to meet her tonight


In fact there is an entire chat thread about this person. Two others, <judythejedi> and <IroquoisPrncess>, are also looking forward to meeting ‘white’, not only in this chatroom, but physically. Here the speech acts not only move closer to those of real world chat: constatives, binding the group through references to planned, agreed, negotiated, promised ACTIONS – the sorts of things which can only happen in real life – but the utterances ease away from the sorts of “chat styling” we are coming to see as a principle online mode. Here there are few abbreviations, no emoticons, and little wordplay of any sort. The playful “colouring” which loads onto language when its activating component becomes limited is here far less necessary as a community binding technique. Real communing is planned, looked forward to, and talked about. There is a referent act under discussion, which focuses the talk and demands far less creative or affective compensatory texting.

In part this “over-loading” of chat utterances with relational or constative work responds then to the conditions of online chat technologies. For a performative utterance to be successful several conditions are necessary – and these are often either absent, or rendered difficult, in chatrooms.

In the first instance the words, including emoticons or abbreviations, need to be appropriate to the circumstances. But in a chatroom there can be much confusion in locating appropriate responses.  The thread that the response is part of needs to be identified, most often under pressure from competing and interrupting postings. Secondly, the response must be appropriate and intelligible, not only as it is entered, but also as it arrives in the chat sequence.  For example,


84) <Nicole528> yea

Successful performative

does not provide a successful response in any way unless it is referring to turn 82,


82) <dingo42> just VERY passionated

Response to ?

Only two turns prior to the ‘yea’, this assertion invites a response, in particular with its capitalised intensifier – and <Nicole528>’s ready agreement provides consent – even more powerfully, because <Nicole528> and <dingo42> have been carrying on an interchangeable thread. However, <Nicole528> could be answering other speakers. Her utterance is too broadly applicable to link with certainty to <dingo42>’s opinion.

 As in real life conversation, where someone just acknowledges an utterance or offers a continuer by saying ‘OK’, or ‘yea’ when someone announces they are present, or asks a generalized question, the affirmative as  response has many possible uses.

65) <tazdevil144> so hows every one to day

<so hows every one to day>

One might expect that <tazdevil144> who has just entered the chatroom is going to receive a response from others as one would if entering  any group of people. We would expect a response of ‘we are fine’ or ‘I am a bit sad NEW SITE = JULY 2014 - - Today’ or some such returned speech, but in this chat there was not any response to <tazdevil144>’s question. This not answering a question or responding to what one has said is not unusual of chatroom dialogue. What then is the speech act role of such questions?

Greetings in a chatroom are one of the most often used speech acts. Most often someone will announce his or her arrival in a room by making some form of greeting. Although in turn 64 <tazdevil144> says <so hows every one to day>, as this is his or her first utterance it is less a question than a marker of the beginning of their interaction with the others in the room. In some chatrooms when a person logs on a message will appear with that person’s log on name. For example, the India chatroom has an auto-welcome and farewell cue:

***jagat (202.141.24) India/ Welcome!!!

 ***rahul  (202.9.172) has left location India

***Preet assi vi vadiya ncg

*** neuage (198.175.242) India / Welcome!!!

Log on message

 In the astrochat chatroom this does not occur. <tazdevil144>’s utterance  <so hows every one to day> is thus a generalised welcome greeting, undirected to any particular participant, and as yet not engaged into any conversational thread. In chat, we must therefore read through the lens of the communicative technology – here enabling us to see that what in speech act terms is a question, in chat terms is the equivalent of an impersonal and technically generated welcome cue. That <tazdevil 144> produces his greeting in standard speech form, and not in the wordplay colourings of the astrochat group, may contribute to his slow acceptance into the speech community – another feature which invites critical scruntiny of just how far chat utterances depart from those of real life communication.

Speech Act Theory, depending on whose definition is being followed, refers to greetings as ‘expressives’ (Searle, 1965, 1969), 'behabitives' (Austin, 1962) and 'acknowledgments' (Bach and Harnish, 1979). Yet in chat speech, we have already seen these linguistic elements adapted and coloured into new codings, through abrreviations, emoticons, and various other forms of intensive wordplay. Greetings like <taz devil 144>’s, with its generalised address and its real-life word choices, indicates to an expert and consensual group such as the astrochatters that this incomer may not be able to operate within the behaviours of their communicative group. Unless he or she can move quickly into chat-mode forms, entry into the threads will be slow.


CS Searle

Philosopher John Searle[7] classified speech acts into five categories: Commissives, Expressives, Declarations, Directives and Representatives.


Commissives involve agreeing, guaranteeing, inviting, offering, promising, swearing and volunteering. Once again, given the distancing of chat space from the capacity to directly enact through language, commissives are rare.

With commissives, speakers commit themselves to a future course of action, as <judythejedi> does below:



26) <judythejedi> /\24 she'll stop in west palm , then i'll take her to Miami for a seminar


4) <Seoni> ** brb littletaker beak lol



Here the action is very clearly promised for the real world, in named places. In chat space those few actions which can be undertaken – most often still relating to real world activity – are frequently coded into conventional abbreviations, so that when <Seoni> leave the site for a moment, presumably to undertake some real life demand, she signals with “brb”  - “I’ll be right back”.

This tendency to reduction of performative utterances adds to the rebalancing that is going on inside chat, from performatives to expressives. Since real life enactability intrudes on chat, it is among the reduced elements of the talk.


The expressive function of language is to tell others our attitudes, feelings, and emotions, including the speech activities of apologizing, welcoming, or sympathizing. Expressives are those kinds of speech acts that state what the speaker feels. They express psychological states and can be statements of pleasure, pain, like, dislike, joy, or sorrow, such as saying “I’m so happy!” or “It depressed me”.

Even in these more relational elements of language online chat tends to use reductive and coded forms. In these two examples we have ‘sniff sniff’ as in the sounds of one crying to express how <AquarianBlue> is feeling about a situation, while <Seoni> expresses anger about a personal matter. In turn 81 <Seoni> lets others know how he or she feels about the electric company. Here, where the real world referents might mean that we anticipate the full-form texting we have seen elsewhere, since <Seoni> is actually more intent on expressive utterance for her chat colleagues than on activating talk to redress her problems in the real world, the chat is rich in abbreviations and codes. <Seoni> uses abbreviations to emphasize the hurriedness of the situation. <brb> - be right back – is used twice in this utterance, while in <cll> the vowel “a” is left out, and the electric company is shortened to <elc>. Only when <Seoni> reaches the level of graphic curse (“they can kiss my white ass”) does she move fully into complete formal language, asserting rejection of an assumed responsibility (paying a bill) by transforming the “payment” it into an obscene action, with herself as the recipient.

29) <AquarianBlue> /\26 sniff sniff

81) <Seoni> **is confused brb gotta cll the elc company i dont owe them they can kiss my white ass brb


While the conventions of the curse mean that it could operate in the rather more figurative and non-literal talk of the chat space, here its intention to express anger intensifies its physicality, and so makes it appropriate to the real world intrusion. How then is rejection of this sort handled inside a chat room?


Searle uses Austin’s term “declaratives“ (CS to describe speech acts intended to change one’s world. The speaker of an utterance brings about a new external situation by use of a declarative, eg. christening, resigning, marrying. Declaratives – indeed all performatives - are more useful in MUDs and virtual games, where a verb such as ‘open’ performs an action of opening another space or room (Cicognani, 1996). In chatrooms there are several performative commands, such as: Whisper.  By using the keystrokes /w a participant turns on the whisper command. Whispering allows one to say something privately to another individual chatter. Other chatters will see the whispering, but they cannot hear what is being said. The Ignore: mode, using the keystrokes /I, turns on the ignore function. You may "boot" people out of the chat room with the Boot: command. This parameter is however configurable by the room owner and may not be allowed in all chat rooms. Some chatrooms have a "booting level" which corresponds to the number of different people who have to move to "boot" someone before they are knocked out of the room for a certain period of time. These functions may have different related keystrokes in different chatrooms and not all chatrooms have these functions. More importantly though, does this “technologisation” of the declarative’s hyper-performative function – a mode something akin to Startreks’ famous line: “Let it be so!” – influence the broader use of declaratives in chatroom talk?

In this case study there are various forms of performatives used as enacting markers when users are coming and leaving the chatroom:

48) <Seoni> **brb littletaker beak lol

59) <Night-Goddess_>bye

64) < tazzytaz1o1> is Outta here!


40) <jijirika>is back

62)  <jijirika>climbs back up the tree

72) <jijirika> toodles taz

75) <jijirika> *) :) at da room

80) <jijirika> as she quietly drinks her water


In these captured turns <jijirika> uses only the available commands. Her postings are thus a curious form of commentary on her actions: a teasing notation of her use of inserted activators. More than any other single element of chat practice, this indicates the shift between real life and chat speech. In chat,

 declarations seldom change an external or non-linguistic situation.  Chatrooms are virtual spaces, and unless there is a real person-to-person resultant contact following the chatroom exchange, declarations are not a classification which can be used. The limitations on action equate to limitations on speech acts.


Directives are speech acts that include  advising, admonishing, asking, begging, dismissing, excusing, forbidding, instructing, ordering, permitting, requesting, requiring, suggesting, urging and warning.

With directives, the speaker wants the listener to do something. But since this “something” can be verbal rather than physical, directives are possible speech acts in chat spaces. This is in fact one of the most common  speech acts in a chatroom. Below, the chatter <dingo42> wants the listener, Nicole, to state her sign.

2) <dingo42> nicole wahts your sign ??


The invitation is typical of chat utterances, in that it attends to the conditions of multilogue, naming the required respondent, as it opens space for reciprocal exchange. It is an indirect directive, inviting rather than commading response – and as such once again helps to build the reciprocity and communal ethos of such expert chatspaces as astrochat.

What happens then once this communal consensus is in place? Does a chatroom reach complete agreement on its rules of communicability? Is it clearly expressing its social values, and is that one of its peak goals, given the diminished capacity for performative or enacting talk?


Representatives are speech acts which convey belief about the truth of a proposition, as for instance in  asserting, or hypothesizing (Crystal, 1992: p121). They are speech acts which  state what the speaker believes to be the case or not; for example, “The earth is flat”.

In using a representative, a speaker makes words fit his or her world (or at least, his or her world of belief). Such representatives occur relatively often in chat spaces.

35) <judythejedi> /\32 everyone is cool here


Representatives and truth statements

<judythejedi> responds to earlier thread contributions, discussing the behaviours of a participant over-keen to appear “cool”. She is in effect mitigating the impacts of that participant’s claims to a superior “coolness”, by representing a consoling belief in the shared “cool” of her community. Because her contribution is doubly contextualised: acting within both the conversational thread and the community of chatters, she is able to “represent” safely and without demur. Her speech act is – at least tacitly – accepted, and needs no reply. But <safetynet10>, with no one previously having made any comments about truth, has decided to make a representative utterance to the chatroom concerning ‘truth’. This is a big claim – perhaps reflected in its capitalization. There may indeed be truth in the proposition that “EVERYONE WANTS THE TRUTH BUT NO ONE GETS IT’, but not only is there no proof for the truth of a statement which refers to ‘everyone’, but no one responds to this statement in the next twelve turns (all that is recorded for the data corpus). Here tacit agreement of the type acceded to <judythejedi>’s posting seems less likely. Perhaps participants need time to digest the referents: a universal (off site) “everyone”, or a direct accusation directed at participants on this site (“you are all concealing the truth from one another, even while seeking it for yourselves”). In either case, the posting is not pursued – an indication of the need for contextualised posting, especially when assuming the task of representative statements.

Reading the conversational contexts is however a complex and multi-levelled task – and one which, as we have seen, defies the skills of some participants. Even with those chatroom users immersed in the abbreviated forms which enable fast texting, the chat technology often limits attribution, and so reply. For instance, when <tazdevil144> produces this isolated ripost:

83) <tazdevil144> ** lol

lol as answer

<tazdevil144>’s utterance could have been in response to many  other utterances in the chatroom, including  any of the three previous contributions:

80)       <jijirika> as she quietly drinks her water

81)       <Seoni> **is confused brb gotta cll the elc company i dont owe them 157 they can kiss my white ass brb

82)       <dingo42> just VERY passionated


In a prior turn at 78 <tazdevil144> had invited a participant to take up a particular speech act:


<tazdevil144> in turn 78) <tazdevil144> do be so rude


 To a general reader none of the following turns in 80, 81 and 82 seem to fulfill this request, however, to <tazdevil144> one of the answers does enough to give the response:(lol).

One difference between chatrooms and person-to-person conversation is thus the relative indeterminacy of chatroom exchanges. Because no observable actions result, an “unlinking” occurs within the speech act sequencing. Overall, this produces a refocus on and intensification of those elements of speech which construct consensus and community. Even those speech events which do relate to activation – for instance those planning meetings or activities outside the chatroom and in the real world – focus around qualities rather than activities; values rather than actions.

13) <judythejedi> /\6 i can't wait to meet her in person

17) <AquarianBlue> /\13 your meeting her judy? when?

 While this is planning talk directed towards the act of meeting socially in the physical world – talk with outcomes – it still forms around emotional states such as the pleasures of anticipation, or the request for information.

 When <AquarianBlue>  in turn /\6 evaluates a non-present participant, his comment at first sight seems inappropriate to the physicality of the posting which preceded it:

6) <AquarianBlue> /\5 shes a sweetheart

5) <judythejedi> she almost had me peeing my pants i was laughing so hard


Here though <judythejedi>’s description is mitigated by “almost”. With one addition she shifts focus from the physicality of her own response, to the figurative and expressive. She “almost” peed her pants, and so intensifies the humor and the trust of her relation with both <AquarianBlue> and the unnamed and non-present site participant.  At the same time, she shifts the talk firmly back into the chat tendency of relational community-building. There was ‘almost”, but not in fact, any action here.

How far is this produced by the technologising of online chat; how far by rapidly developing tendencies to the establishment of “consensual” or “communal” talk strategies, compensating the non-physicality of the communicative experience with saturating expressivity and relational techniques?

The features that I have highlighted in this chatroom are features of all chatrooms. The first is the disruption of the dialogue, caused by the technologisation of the “threading” onto the chat participant’s screen.  There are several ways in which this occurs. Firstly, there are the threads which break away from initial dialogue exchange to begin another one. Unlike a printed story which often has a single message, a chatroom has many messages, and even many threads from the same author. A new thread can be from a person already in dialogue with others, but who wants to begin discussing something else, or it can be from a new arrival in the room. Continuing with the chat above, turn-taking 33 shows an example of a new thread from someone who has not yet produced an utterance in this room, which cuts into two quite separate dialogues:

31)  <judythejedi> i don't think so..she's bringing amtrack down maybe                  

32) <Nicole528> whats your sign dingo?

33) <Night-Goddess_> anyone cool in here?


Following <Night-Goddess_>’s opening utterance [anyone cool in here?]  a new thread develops:

33)       A/        /\32      5i.        <judythejedi> hi night

34)       D/        /\32      3h.       <AquarianBlue> hmmmmmmm

35)       D/        /\32      5j.        <judythejedi>everyone is cool here

36)       D/        /\32      6h.       <Nicole528> is cool lol

37)       A/        /\35      11a.     <poopaloo> 10ty judy

38)       D/        /\32      6i.        <Nicole528> is cold too

39)       ?                      12a.     * sara4u I LOVE YOU TO MUCH.......ACARD

40)       B/                     13a.     <jijirika>is back

41)       D/        /\32      15a.     <tazdevil144> cool


For this series of speech acts to be completed within the performative mode there needs to be an understanding of what is actually being said by <Night-Goddess_>.  <Nicole528> for instance plays across the ambiguity in the term “cool”, reading it as both “trendy” and climatically “cold”. <AquarianBlue> and <judythejedi> and even <poopaloo> however consider how to respond to the issue of trendiness, <poopaloo> scoring <judythejedi> a “10” for asserting group cohesion around the proposition that some might be more ‘cool” than others – while <tazdevil144> endorses the solidarity among the group, and its resistance to hierarchical evaluations, by commenting that it is “cool” that <jijirika> has announced a return to the room.  Overall then, we can see in this thread extremely high levels of affiliative or “group” talk, resistant to suggestions that some might be more worthwhile (“cool”) as chat participants than others: “everyone is cool here”. And yet, whatever the work undertaken to reinforce group cohesion and repair solidarity, , there is a disruption to the original  narrative about a person travelling to Florida on an Amtrak train. Here the chat enacts its own focus: “maintains cool”, by shifting into witty and consensual ripostes across this new topic.

CS 4.3.2 Speech Act Disruptions (SADs)

Besides complex crossovers in threads in a chatroom discussion there are other disruptions that are particular to chat. On many chatsites there are the advertisements from the chatroom provider. After every so many lines of text, which differs from server to server, there will be an ad to purchase something available from the server. This disrupts the conversational flow. However, after observing this in hundreds of chatrooms I have never seen anyone refer to the advertisement. Instead, participants continue what they were discussing or begin a new topic or thread of conversation. Disruptions then are frequently an ignored speech act – whether auto-cued as advertising, or posted by new or new-thread-initiating chat participants. In other words, no matter the intention of a thread-initiating speech act, it may or may not activate its purpose – and indeed, such activation seems especially difficult within the expressive-consensual talk of chatrooms.  In these spaces it seems that the unlinking, or at least the over-extended distantiation, between the utterance and what it might enact, works to de-emphasise and weaken the performative.

CS4.4 Conclusion

Using speech act theory as a means to identify how chat participants  communicate and finds meaning in a chatroom suffers from the marked  indeterminacy of the “response” mode in online chat technologisation.  Speech acts are difficult to code, and Speech Act Theory difficult to use  as a conversational analysis method in chatrooms. It is equally difficult too to know how much of the intentional load might be carried by para-linguistic elements such as emoticons or abbreviations, elements which can onlky be semi-coded into this system of analysis, thus even further distantiating the enactment potential of utterances.

The question to be answered in this chatroom at the beginning of this case study was, in Speech Act terms,

“Are ‘felicity conditions' being met in this chatroom?”

What is a successful speech act in a chatroom? And do the special codings: the abbreviated forms and expressive techniques particular to online chat, add to or detract from successful speech acts?

Some final examples of particularly “chat represented” speech acts might help resolve these issues.

Remember that in the chat sequence outlined above, <AquarianBlue> offered a paralinguistic continuer when directly questioned, along with others, over the degress of ‘coolness” in the room.


34) <AquarianBlue> /\32 hmmmmmmm


It is not easy to determine the intention of this utterance. Austin and Searle claim that the speech act is the basic unit of meaning and force, or the most basic linguistic entity, with both a constative and a performative dimension. They both accept that there are illocutionary acts and perlocutionary acts, and that these can combine.  here then, “hmmmmmm” can be interpreted to offer a vision of <AquarianBlue> pondering on either <NightGodess>’s question, “anyone cool in here”, or <judythejedi>’s revelation that (someone) is taking the Amtrak train. And since these are somewhat different propositions, the act performed by “hmmmmm” becomes as indeterminate as the very suspension it induces within <AquarianBlue>’s contributions.

In other words, the technologisations of online chat interfere with what Lanow has called “wreadings” – writerly interpretations – of the utterances, and defuse their certain attribution as speech acts. There are many such instances in this data corpus. When <safetynet10> comments on truth:



we are left to assume that  <safetynet10> is shouting at the others – perhaps accusing them of suppressing their real opinions. However, other utterances of <safetynet10> (appendix 2 table 15) reveal  that all their  text is in capitals, meaning that <safetynet10> either has the capital key locked on, or wishes to shout at everyone. Once again, it is difficult to determine exactly what is either intended, or produced.

Even misspelt words can provide “wreaderly” meaning online, although usually the most likely meaning is that the writer is typing quickly or is not overly concerned with spelling conventions. However, what it does show is that the writer has decided that the addressee is comfortable with having to interpret what is being said.  In other words the speaker is more intent on presenting text than grammar, and is open to (mis)interpretation. 

Unless a person is being directly addressed, meaning is often unknowable in a chatroom.   

21) <dingo42> ok nicole its in the air

or there is a seemingly obvious response,

17) <AquarianBlue> your meeting her judy? when?


Describing what is going on in a text-based chatroom using speech act theory has limited use. In the next case study I use Discourse Analysis to analysis th elanguage beyond the utterance, or within linguistic studies ‘beyond the sentence’.


[1] There are password-protected chatrooms for specific users such as for government or business people who are discussing specific topics.  Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain ethics clearance from the University of South Australia to capture any private chatrooms. This requires clearance from each person in a ‘sensitive’ chatroom, a process which is too disruptive to the chatflow to be easily obtainable.

[2] This aspect would have been discussed quite differently before September 11th. It was extensively written about and discussed for years previously and it was commonly believed amongst astrologers that a world defining moment would happen during that aspect.  Some astrologers even spoke of a world war beginning, and the aspect was exact in September when the World Trade Centres in New York were destroyed.

[3] For example, this posting appeared in a more advanced astrological chatroom, ‘…my CAC had two Cinderella Transits and the MAGIcal Linkage when we met’; CAC being for Combined Aligned Chart’; Cinderella aspects involving Pluto, Chiron, Jupiter and Venus in harmonious aspects to one another.  The MAGIcal Linkage is a Venus-Chiron combination. (see: )

[4] This is a kind of question one would expect in an astrochat room, but it also could be asked in any chatroom.  We know what the person is asking.  What is nicole’s Sun sign – the constellation that the Sun was in, when Nicole was born?  To an astrologer this would be a very basic question.

However, in this chatroom there are some indications that there is more than just the simplest information being provided. <Nicole528> bypasses the basic socieal “tell me your sign” – “Tell me yours” exchange by qualifying more of who he or she is and by adding the moon and rising sign to the equation.  Now others in the chatroom know that <Nicole528> was born during the time of the passage of the Sun through Gemini[4] (May 22 – June 21) and whilst the moon was in Taurus and during the time of day when Scorpio was ascending. Just from this small amount of knowledge, an informed astrology chatter could identify enough about <Nicole528> to wonder if he or she is currently going through relationship upheavals, as Saturn would have gone over this person’s moon and is now influencing their sun-sign with both the moon and sun in the area of the chart which rules partnership and sex. As well as transiting Pluto would be in the second house meaning there may be financial changes. When I discuss this chatroom further down I will examine all the talk by <Nicole528> to see if there is any indication that there are indeed relationship or economic problem being discussed, or is this person giving so few clues in chatting on the Internet that I will not be able to identify any crisis? In a real life setting we could see <Nicole528> in the room and perhaps we could explain by their presence whether there were any immediate changes in their life.

[5] Voice in a voice forum such as in the traveller chatrooms is filtered so that it may sound high, deep, female, male, or even with sounds such as bells or tones and therefore, is not a cue to the speaker as it would be in person-to-person conversation.

[6] Synchronous communication program users identify others, often strangers, with similar interests and engage in conversations with them. Users of public synchronous chat programs are customarily identified by a descriptive nickname that is sometimes chosen to "promote a certain image or invite a particular response" (Newby, 1993, p. 35). A nickname can serve as a mask not only to hide identity, but to call attention to the person through the expressive power and imaginativeness of the mask (Ruedenberg et al., 1995). Nicknames and other personal information can be changed at will, so that anonymity can be maintained within IRC programs until users choose to reveal their true identities to each other (Reid, 1991), which may never actually happen (Phillips, 1995).

[7] Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language, University of California at Berkeley, 2002.

NEW SITE = JULY 2014 - contact  DALIAN CHINA ~ TOFU ~ PICTURE POEMS  2013 Vietnam tour 2012

Blog- index updated September 19, 2014  K - 12 technology (updated September 17, 2014). Travel Site (2014) updated September 20, 2014. Videos/Blogs on Youtube, Twitter, Wordpress, Photo albums. Updated 15 Second Street, Round Lake, New York and photos from parent's 1943 wedding as well as Leigh's page. Farmville page updated Thursday, March 17, 2011 5:58 PM. updated September 19, 201410:31 PM. updated September 14, 2014 7:21 PM.    Resume updated September 19, 2014.         

Blog updatedIntegrating Technology Blog September 19, 2014  also: and/or,,, livejournal, Serendipity,, drupal-gardens

Today working on picture poem links starting around "better" (September 19, 2014). Picture poems are the digital format of work I did as a street artist in New Orleans in the 1970s, as well as New York City, Honolulu, San Francisco and Adelaide South Australia. Follow @neuage.






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