Goal of research: The aim of the project is to describe the mechanisms of linguistic conflict in various communication situations, primarily on the Russian Web.
Methodology: The project uses various methods of modern linguistics. We apply semantic and discourse analysis as well as methods common in pragmatics centered around Gricean maxims, speech act theory, politeness theory, etc. We also make use of experiments and often employ corpora and surveys for our study, since these methods allow us to obtain information that cannot be inferred from introspection.
Empirical base of research: We work primarily with texts from social networks. We also consider legislative documents and other sources of linguistic prescription, since they allow us to compare the idea of linguistic norms that is wide-spread in the community to the actual written-down norms.
Results of research: Linguistic conflictsare extremely manifold and vary in multiple respects, starting from small discussions in social network evolving from a single spelling error and ending with a discussion of a referendum on state language in the media. Our projects studies the mechanisms of these conflicts and the means of resolving them.
The principal source of material to study linguistic conflicts are social networks. One can discern typical roles of participants within a conflict: the one who starts the conflict, the one who keeps it alive, the peace-bearer, etc. It is also important to notice that a conflict can spread from one communicative space to other spaces. e.g. starting from Twitter, it may eventually move on to Facebook and the to the media.
A typical kind of conflict we have studied is the struggle against incorrect spelling. This conflicted is centered around the subculture of so-called Grammar Nazi that has been quite popular on the Russian Web recently. Another important type of conflict is linked to the perception of identity. Certain words start to serve as identity markers, and those who use them may be stigmatized. In fact, it means that whole communities are criticized rather than individual words. Yet another type of conflicts is liked to geographical names. We also study an interesting conflict that has been evolving around constructed languages for some two hundred years already.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results: The results of the project can be used in teaching Russian as a native language and in composing prescriptive grammars and guides on correct usage, etc.