Variation in the use of general extenders and stuff in instant messaging interactions

Julieta Fernandez, Aziz Yuldashev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Motivated by the demonstrated consequentiality of vague multiword expressions in spoken and written language use, the present study examines instances of vague language in the context of synchronous computer-mediated interactions. The focus is on multiword expressions encoding shared knowledge termed as general extenders (GEs) (Overstreet, 1999), such as and stuff and or something. Variations in the frequencies of adjunctive and disjunctive GE use between native and non-native English language users in a corpus of over 500 one-on-one instant messaging interactions are explored in relation to the findings from corpus linguistic research on spoken English. The analysis based on their referential sets of meaning suggests a variation in the use and functions of GEs in computer-mediated interactions, with non-native language users utilizing fewer disjunctive and societal GEs than native language users. The findings, methodological considerations and pedagogical implications are discussed in relation to prior work on vague language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2610-2626
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Formulaic language
  • General extenders
  • Instant messaging
  • Synchronous CMC
  • Vague language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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