社交媒体以随性而闻名, 冲, 容易出现错别字和不合语法的句子, 通常来说，这是一场语言灾难. 有些确实如此. 然而, analysis of 推特 posts on the topic of COVID-19 suggests there is more to social media language than first meets the eye.
While pandemics are not new, COVID-19 is the first to occur in the social media era. Anyone with a device and internet connection has had unlimited access to platforms from which to voice personal opinions and experiences.
As physical social distancing measures were introduced in 2020, 推特上出现了大量相关帖子. One of their main characteristics was a predisposition to persuasion: 呆在家里! 现在结束封锁! 是善良的! 我希望大家都不要囤厕纸了! 杰辛达需要封锁边境!
每个人都有自己的看法, 支持或批评政府政策, 包括呼吁采取更强硬的措施. 人们不仅热衷于分享自己的观点, but also to convince others and to direct them towards various actions.
But the link between people’s political stance and the language they used to express it wasn’t always what you might expect, 正规网堵十大排行在最新的研究中发现.
说服的语言呈现出一个有趣的悖论. On the one hand, we want to instruct people and influence them. 另一方面, 没有人想被人指挥, 所以正规网堵十大排行希望保持和谐，而不是疏远别人.
用英语, there is a special grammatical construction whose function is to instruct, 例如，被称为“命令式”, “呆在家里, 拯救生命”.
但这并不是唯一的指导方式. 还有更礼貌、更模糊的选择. The strength of the directive can be softened by the use of politeness (“Please stay calm”), 或“情态动词”(“每个人都应该保持冷静”), or by what are known as “irrealis” constructions (“I wish everyone would stay calm”). Sometimes several strategies can be combined (“Please can everyone stay calm”).
在正规网堵十大排行的 最近的研究, 正规网堵十大排行手工分析了,000 tweets from 2020 containing the hashtag #Covid19NZ (or variations of that) to discover which language strategies people employed to persuade others. We also included their political stance – whether they were supportive of government lockdown measures or not.
What we found surprised us: users opposed to COVID-19 restrictions who tweeted against government measures took greater care to soften their directives, opting for more polite and vague language; those in support of government actions used more forceful imperatives.
It might seem counter-intuitive that individuals opposing government measures should be so indirect. 然而, 在最初封锁的时候, the majority seemed to accept the sacrifices necessary to protect their own and vulnerable people’s health (we certainly found this in the tweets analysed).
This may explain why those going against the government and perceived popular opinion were being linguistically cautious. They didn’t want to alienate others by appearing too forceful or hotheaded, 所以他们在推特上改变了语法. Such indirect language could also be used for sarcasm and to maintain plausible deniability.
Grammar is not just about the rules that arise from maintaining consistency within language (for example, 主谓一致:“我喜欢语法, he 喜欢 语法”). Grammar can vary in order to allow for subtlety of expression, too.
The grammatical system presents us with options and has built-in flexibility. Variation is used by speakers to put forward their many opinions, 议程和沟通目标更加细致入微.
有趣的是, 即使是在推特这样的社交媒体平台上, such nuanced and strategic communication can and does take place. 用户可能并不总是完美地计划或编辑他们的帖子, 尽管如此，他们在语言方面还是很精通的.
We are currently analysing 推特 posts from later in the pandemic, 特别是关于疫苗的话题, 在这段时间里，人们的情绪确实发生了变化. Both camps appear more aggressive in their directives, less inclined to use indirect language.
As the debate becomes more heated, the stakes rise and there are more opinions in the mix. It’s no longer just about being for or against government measures; support for a measure may not always mean support for the means used to achieve it. 因此，语言策略也在发生变化.
For example, an anti-vaccine campaigner writes in their tweet: “Save mothers and babies”. The forceful imperative is more subtle than it first appears, implying that vaccinating children (and their mothers) puts them at risk, without stating what the risk is but hinting it could even be fatal.
As ever, language is a vehicle that divides as well as unites us.
本文由杰西·伯内特(Jessie Burnette)合著, a Masters Student in English and Linguistics at the 正规网堵十大排行.