The Language of E-mail in Higher Education in Jordan: A Case Study

Doa'a Al-Momani


This paper aims to investigate the general patterns, and nonstandard linguistic features of e-mail discourse in higher education in Jordan. Specifically, it attempts to examine how such discursive practices are influenced by sender–receiver relationships. Particularly, the similarities and differences in the discursive practices between academic professionals and students in e-mail communication have been highlighted. Findings of the present study suggest that academic e-mails very much resemble traditional formal letters and memos. As members of the academic circle, both professors and students are expected to engage in discourse professionally. At the same time, the linguistic features of the e-mail messages examined are not only conditioned by the academic setting but also by the specific roles of the sender-receiver. While messages sent to and received by professors are much more uniform in the areas investigated, those sent from student to student exhibit more variation. In particular, nonstandard language including emoticons, unconventional spellings, and reduced capitalization is more commonly found. The occurrence of such features, however, is small in number.

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