The overall project

Some key figures about our project:

  • Project sum: CHF 1'597'904 (SNSF, Sinergia: CRSII1_160714)
  • Project leader: Elisabeth Stark (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • Involved Universities:
  • Project duration: 36 months (1/1/2016 – 31/12/2018)
  • Overall Research Questions:
    1. What do Swiss WhatsApp messages look like? What has changed overall between Swiss SMS and Swiss WhatsApp messages, and why (as regards linguistic structures, use of images in a broad sense, spelling, register-specific style, individualization vs. accommodation).
    2. What is said / done by the individual users and the media in/on WhatsApp messages and chats, in relation to the findings for question 1? 
  • Subprojects: The project consists of four subprojects: 
    • Language(s) of WhatsApp: Verbal Periphrases and Argument Drop
    • Language Design in WhatsApp: Icono/Graphy
    • Individuals in WhatsApp
    • The Cultural Discourses and Social Meanings of Mobile Communication

The whole project at a glance.

Subproject A: Language(s) of WhatsApp

Subproject A: Language(s) of WhatsApp: Verbal Periphrases and Argument Drop

Two optional salient linguistic structures in French, (Swiss) German, Italian (and partially Romansh) WhatsApp messages will be investigated: argument drop (already investigated in the SMS project), and the use of progressive verbal periphrases, in order to find out whether they are register-specific features (in the sense of Biber 1995) or mainly technologically provoked structures. 

Lead: Elisabeth Stark (Zurich), Silvia Natale (Bern)
Doctoral students: Franziska StuntebeckRossella Maraffino

Subproject B: Language Design in WhatsApp

Subproject B: Language Design in WhatsApp: Icono/Graphy

We will have a look at changes in graphic strategies enabled by new correction software, virtual keyboards, and especially new sets of iconographic signs (emojis) across linguistic communities, as well as the specific function of these in shaping communicative identity.

Lead: Christa Dürscheid (Zurich), Federica Diémoz (Neuchâtel)
Postdocs: Christina SieverEtienne Morel

Subproject C: Individuals in WhatsApp

Subproject C: Individuals in WhatsApp

This project will intensify the focus on individuals by investigating the features analyzed in sub-projects A and B plus patterns of code-switching as variables at the level of the individual rather than the sociolinguistically defined group, focusing on Swiss German dialects and patterns of accommodation in interaction.

Lead: Beat Siebenhaar (Leipzig)
Doctoral student: Samuel Felder

 

Subproject D: The Cultural Discourses and Social Meanings of Mobile Communication

Subproject D: The Cultural Discourses and Social Meanings of Mobile Communication

This project will describe and analyze the public discourse on graphic mobile communication via WhatsApp (and SMS), trying to pin down the way Switzerland looks at the revolutionary developments in our communicative behavior and its evaluation by the media.

Lead: Crispin Thurlow (Bern)
Doctoral student: Vanessa Jaroski

 

UZH

Bern

NE

UZH