Innovations and Reproduction in Second Language (L2) New Media: A Discursive- Semiotic Study of Selected SMS Text Messages in Nigeria

Tunde Opeibi, Aina Oluwasola


Since the turn of the new millennium, the new media has continued to alter the communication configuration in modern societies. The social media tools have been influencing the way we interact and communicate. These wireless networks have confirmed that our world has indeed become a global village by creating a superhighway for communication possibilities never witnessed in human history. While scholars  have explored the roles of  some of the new media platforms e.g. Facebook  blogging, and twitter for private and public discourses(e.g., Taiwo, 2010; Presley, 2010, 2012),  previous studies in the use of SMS in Nigeria have concentrated more on sociolinguistic, lexical, or morpho-syntactic  features of text messages (e.g., Awonusi, 2004; Chiluwa, 2010). The present study, however, considers aspects of the new media discourse strategies as resources in a second language setting that demonstrate users’ bilingual creativity. It adopts a discursive-semiotic approach in its analytical paradigm to examine how participants, sharing the mobile protocols, deploy linguistic and non-linguistic facilities as well as contextual resources to create relationship and to enact meaning. The approaches of Discourse Analysis (DA) and Semiotics (Schiffrin, 1994; Chandler, 2001) as well as insight from Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC), and Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis (CMDA)(Herring 2001, 2004;  O’Riley, 2005;  Herring, 2007) provide the theoretical underpinning for this study.  CMC and CMDA, for instance, have been used as tool kits to study and   to explain how the new media technologies influence the strategies with which language users within a given virtual sphere engage a wide range of audience through the virtual protocols. The study finds that the use of text messages has opened up creative ways of deploying the resources of a non-native language (English) among bilinguals in Nigeria. The outcome of this innovative and reproduction process confirms the emergence of varieties of new media-based discursive practices in English that reflect the socio-cultural contexts of the communicative event.  


New media; discursive-semiotic features; discourse strategies; Text messages (SMS); bilingual creativity

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