Language and Technology: Linguistic Features of Facebook in Kenya

Florence Mwithi, Jacinta Ndambuki, Wendo Nabea


This paper interrogates the utility of Facebook as a novel tool to observe linguistic behavior in a naturalistic setting. In this regard, this paper, seeks to identify, describe and interpret the linguistic features used on Facebook posts by a selected group of Facebook users in Kenya. It uses Herring’s (2004) Computer Mediated Discourse Analysis (CMDA) theoretical framework and adds knowledge to the field of Discourse analysis as well as sociolinguistics especially with regards to the methodology and tools of carrying out a Computer Mediated Communications paper. The research design used was both qualitative and quantitative. Purposive sampling procedure was used to arrive at the sample for the paper which consisted of eight Facebook friends in the 22-35 age bracket. This is the age that was found to use Facebook more in Kenya. The findings showed that while Kenyan Facebook users used conventional internet language including non-standard English, acronyms, emoticons, lengthening practice, code switching and capitalization, the linguistic features varied in form and frequency.

Keywords: computer mediated discourse analysis, facebook, posts,

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