Heather Littlefield


Internet Discourse (ID) is commonly regarded as a hybrid between Spoken and Written Discourse (SD and WD). This model fails to take into account unique features of ID that cannot be explained by influence from either SD or WD. The present study paired participants to have online conversations on an instant messaging program. The conversations were coded for several features. The expression of emotion, the representation of the physical environment, abbreviations, punctuation and synchronicity were examined among other features. Internet Discourse was found to have many features in common with both Spoken and Written Discourse, but was also found to have enough unique features to be considered its own independent form of discourse. As a result, this paper proposes a triangular continuum model of influence between Internet, Spoken, and Written Discourses as the best conception of the three forms of discourse.

Date Accepted


Publication Date



instant messaging, Internet, discourse analysis

Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Rights Holder

Eric Ketcham

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