Award Date

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English

Department

English

Advisor 1

Ed Nagelhout, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Dave Hickey

Second Committee Member

Denise Tillery

Graduate Faculty Representative

Gary Larson

Number of Pages

97

Abstract

Email has existed for almost forty years, but in the past ten, it has become a dominant form of communication in the business world. A sign of the maturation of email and its dominance in commerce is the rise of how-to books on writing effective emails. This paper analyzes six of those recent texts to develop a taxonomy of current prescriptive advice for email. It examines contextual issues as well as issues of content, such as structure and tone; format, such as length of paragraphs, forms of salutation and farewell, and use of emoticons and abbreviations; and grammar and correctness. It finds in the taxonomy evidence that implies some unique attributes in electronic language and areas where email may be creating pressure for change in the English language.

Keywords

Business writing; Computer-mediated communication; Digital media writing; Electronic language; Email; Grammar; Language evolution; Netspeak

Disciplines

Linguistics | Mass Communication

Language

English


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