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The role of digital multilingual patterns and functions in branding and self-branding: An investigation of practices by Saudi users on Twitter

Al Madani, Reem 2022. The role of digital multilingual patterns and functions in branding and self-branding: An investigation of practices by Saudi users on Twitter. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This study is conducted within the multilingual digital communication domain, where it aims to investigate the linguistic resources employed on Twitter in Saudi Arabia. The study acknowledges the differences between the user-types, and thus compares the linguistic behaviours of three distinct groups of Twitter users: corporations, social media influencers, and ordinary users. Focusing on the language choices of Twitter users, the study investigates the relation between multilingualism and its role in presenting users to the virtual audience for (self-)branding. The study investigates the use of different languages and varieties, and the inclusion of paralinguistic cues, in 13,426 tweets collected from 100 public Twitter accounts. Furthermore, the study explores the tweets’ communicative functions to establish a link between the linguistic codes utilised for each respective function. Descriptive and statistical tools were employed to analyse the tweets and establish a general foundation for the different groups’ utilisation of the platform’s languages and varieties. Following the tweet’s analysis, fifteen interviews were conducted to illuminate the motivation for the multilingual practices and its relation to (self-)branding. The analysis revealed that regardless of the numerous language affordances available to the users, Modern Standard Arabic dominates and was perceived by most interviewees as the ideal variety for use on Saudi Twitter. Furthermore, the analysis found that Arabizi, reportedly very popular in Arab social media, is disappearing with negative attitudes towards it expressed by the interviewees. The analysis also highlighted the emergence of new modes for online communication, namely, reversed Romanisation (English with Arabic script), in addition to a new Arabic variety described by the interviewees as the ‘white dialect’. Moreover, the different means of utilising English on Twitter, such as English with Arabic in parallel text bilingualism, were found. Finally, the analysis discusses the general trend for the association of the tweets’ languages and communicative functions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 January 2023
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 14:45

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