36th AESLA Conference Applied Linguistics and Knowledge Transfer: Employability, Internationalization and Social Challenges

Pascual, Daniel: “What can I find in a travel blog? The writing of posts by ELF speakers”

Abstract

Currently the digital world is offering new modes of communication that enable a more immediate and dialogical interaction. Within it, the blog shows up as a very resourceful and sophisticated platform where different genres converge and where speakers from distinct linguacultural backgrounds can interact using English as a Lingua Franca (Jenkins 2007; Mauranen 2012). To comprehend the rationale of blogs, I will specifically focus on travel blogs, and within these on the sub-genre of the travel blog post. My study will be based on a corpus of 18 blog entries from 6 blogs written by bloggers with different linguacultural backgrounds. The selection of these travel blogs is based on Kachru’s circles (Bolton and Kachru 2006) to strike a balance among native English speakers from the inner circle and non-native speakers from the outer and the expanding circles, and to consequently be able to delve into the use of ELF in this sub-genre. So, it is my aim to look into prominent discursive and lexico-grammatical features of travel blogs posts and, to analyze them, I devised a functional taxonomy stemming from the corpus via a data-driven approach and manual reading annotation. Results show that relevant travel post features are mostly related to a fairly informal and oral style (through the use of exclamations and interjections, subject and auxiliary elision, among others), and to a bidirectional and conversational discourse by means of attitude markers, directives or recommendations, triggered by the importance of the genre chain post-comment, where writers frequently address the readership all along their posts. Data will be provided to compare these features in the three sets of blogs. Furthermore, I intend to explore the rhetorical structure of travel posts so as to observe potential conventionalized patterns via a qualitative analysis. The recurrent inclusion of a situational and a descriptive move, subsequently giving way to a closure of the post and an invitation move that introduces the sub-genre of the comment is what bloggers tend to follow when composing their travel posts. Moreover, the blog reader is able to decide what to read and in what order thanks to hypertexts, implying that a navigating mode is taking over, as opposed to the reading mode, rather lineal and limited and more typical of traditional genres (Askehave and Nielsen 2005). So ultimately, this presentation aims to gain insights into how the ELF blogosphere makes use of the digital genre of the travel post both from a discursive and rhetorical perspective, and what the international readership may expect from it.