Language Trends in Social Media: Manifestations of Meranaws' Use of English on Facebook

Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph
2016 US-China Foreign Language  
As a major new means of global communication, social media platforms such as Facebook have afforded linguists of today to observe the development and diffusion of a language online. This study looked into the dominant language use seen in the Facebook profiles of the Meranaw professionals and their reasons given for the use of English as a language in their posts. Further, using Netnography, a form of Internet ethnography, dominant language present in the reactions of Facebook friends to the
more » ... k friends to the researchers' most commented post was observed in order to identify the dominant language in support to the profile observations with the participants. Results showed two interesting findings that have emerged from this netnographic research and virtual interview. First, English is the dominant language used by the selected participants in the observation made from October to November 2015 and the comment posts made by the FB friends of the researcher during the said observation. Second, among the identified reasons for posting in English, the majority of the responses were because of English's global/universal use that allows all audiences to understand the posts made by the participants and followed by the comfortability or confidence of the participant over the use of English as a language in their posts. In addition, the researcher believed that "language is culture". The minimal use of the Meranaw language implied a minimal presence of the cultural idiosyncrasies of the Meranaws on social media platforms. Hence, when a closer and longer look at the language use is done, a clearer picture of the cultural idiosyncrasies of the Meranaws may be visible in the posts even with the use of English language. In that light, it is worthwhile to consider whether the online use of English and Meranaw by this small group of Meranaw professionals might reflect broader and more enduring social, cultural, and linguistic shifts.
doi:10.17265/1539-8080/2016.07.003 fatcat:tkfl4nwarrfw5lvduskb3vrjsy