NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ874502
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0261-510X
Electronic Mail, a New Written-Language Register: A Study with French-Speaking Adolescents
Volckaert-Legrier, Olga; Bernicot, Josie; Bert-Erboul, Alain
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v27 n1 p163-181 Mar 2009
The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which the linguistic forms used by adolescents in electronic mail (e-mail) differ from those used in standard written language. The study was conducted in French, a language with a deep orthography that has strict, addressee-dependent rules for using second person personal pronouns (unfamiliar and familiar forms). Data were collected from 80 adolescents ages 12 to 15 in a natural situation where they had to introduce themselves by e-mail to two addressees (peer/teacher). Participants were divided into two groups (skilled/unskilled in computer-mediated communication). Their emails contained a large number of orthographic deviations (the most frequent being neographic forms). Participants skilled in computer-mediated communication (CMC) deviated more than unskilled ones did. The number of orthographic deviations was not linked to the participants' standard writing ability. The personal-pronoun data clearly showed that adolescents used the familiar form of "you" (tu) to address the peer and the unfamiliar form (vous) to address the teacher. We conclude that, for adolescents, e-mail constitutes a distinct written-language register. Nevertheless, the e-mail register seems to follow the pragmatic rules of standard spoken and written interaction.
British Psychological Society. St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester, LE1 7DR, UK. Tel: +44-116-254-9568; Fax: +44-116-227-1314; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A