Acronyms in an Asynchronous Environment : A Corpus Study of Acronym Frequency in Online Discussion Forums

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för språk (SPR)

Abstract: This study is a research of the frequency of acronyms in an online forum and the meaning of the most frequent ones in their context. In the study, definitions are given for language forms used online so that one is able to compare a set of similarities and differences between these online varieties and the Standard English. The method consists of identifying and searching for a set of CMD-typical acronyms. These acronyms are taken from prior studies as well as from Crystal’s (2006:91f) list of known CMD-acronyms. The material is retrieved from an online forum of asynchronous communication, and the results show the frequency of the acronyms as well as discuss their meanings in context. The results indicate that acronyms are highly infrequent in asynchronous environments, and their use decreases from 2010 to 2013. The conclusion of this study is that the infrequency of acronyms in asynchronous environments may be due to the nature of asynchronous online communication, in which users have time to write their replies. When comparing this study’s corpora with studies on frequencies in synchronous environments, the acronym frequency in this study was lower than the frequency shown in the synchronous studies. 

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