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Acronyms and Emoticons on a Popular Web Forum: Does Gender Makes a Difference? A Corpus-Based Study of Reddit

Abstract : This dissertation sets out to investigate if there are gender differences in the use of Netspeak features on Reddit, and if the possible differences reflect the traditional distinctions made between male and female communication styles in computermediated communication. A corpus-based study was conducted using a 2 millionword corpus built from the contributions of 100 female and 100 male Internet users on the news sharing site Reddit, which is one of the largest online communities. A number of items were examined with the Antconc concordancer, including abbreviations, acronyms, and emoticons. For Netspeak features, most results did not indicate significant gaps between male and female users, although there was a clear difference in the frequency of the acronym SO, or “significant other”, which was used 89 times in the male corpus and 369 times in the female corpus. The most striking differences were found in the use of emoticons. Even though the female and the male sub-corpora contained about as many types of emoticons, female Redditors used more than twice as many emoticons as males. This finding is consistent with previous research (Witmer & Katzman, 1997; Herring, 1998; Wolf, 2000; Tossell et al., 2012; Baron 2004; Fox et al., 2007; Lyddy et al., 2014). Idiosyncratic use of Netspeak showed that a small number of Redditors were responsible for the production of most features especially in the case of emoticons. The results suggest other variables may interact with gender in the production of Netspeak features.
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Master thesis
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-02317528
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Marie Flesch. Acronyms and Emoticons on a Popular Web Forum: Does Gender Makes a Difference? A Corpus-Based Study of Reddit. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2016. ⟨hal-02317528⟩

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