112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Computer Mediated Discourse Analysis: Stance-taking in Twitter

Melissa Axelrod, University of New Mexico

This paper addesses stance-taking in social media, focusing on formulaic constructions associated with gender and age, including all up in… and the vocative dude, both associated with a stance of ‘coolness.’ The paper examines the function and context of these terms in a corpus from Twitter, exploring their link to verbal irony.


Work on stance in sociolinguistics examines the resources and strategies that are used to signal social identity. Engelbretson (2007: 3) points out “the situated, pragmatic, and interactional character of stancetaking,” highlighting the fluid and dynamic nature of the expression of identity in interaction.

This paper focuses on formulaic constructions linked to both gender and age, such as all up in… According to Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com, 6/22/12): All up in my face and its alternate all up in my grill is “used to describe someone who is “who is excessively annoying and bothering you: That ho was all up in my grill. Tell him to get his nasty, annoying self outta my face.” Constructions of this type have led to the development of a more general predicate adjective, all up ins. This is defined by Urban Dictionary as associated with a “quality of coolness” and an attitude of willingness. The use of dude as a vocative has also become a strong marker of youth in the US, as in Dude! or Dude! Why are you all up in my grill? This expression is also associated with a stance of “cool solidarity” (Kiesling (2004).  By means of the repeated choices of using these forms in interactions teenagers display their identity as nerdy or popular, emotionally connected or aloof.

The paper examines the function and context of these terms in Twitter, with a corpus collected via http://www.tweetarchivist.com, to show that the use of such stance-markers are used most frequently as a marker of verbal irony, in the context of a secondary, often indirect, opposing evaluation.

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