Jariah Mohd Jan, Gillian Ng Mei Ing, Ainun Rozana Mohd Zaid


In this borderless world, Internet has become an important tool of communication for teenagers. It provides the opportunity to interact with thousands of people from all over the world at any time. Focusing on the new medium of synchronous computer mediated communication; namely the MSN Instant Messenger, this study seeks to examine the language and social behavior of Malaysian teenagers. This paper also discusses the notion of self-censorship, which is frequently used by teenagers in this study as a strategy to preserve politeness and maintain solidarity amongst chatters.




Full Text:



Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1978). Universals in Language Usage: Politeness Phenomena. In E. Goody (ed.), Questions and Politeness: Strategies in Social Interaction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 56-311.

Calvert, S. L. (2002). Identity Construction on the Internet. In S. L. Calvert, A. B. Jordan & R. R. Cocking (Eds.), Children in the Digital Age: Influences of Electronic Media on Development, Westport: Connecticut: Praeger, 57-70.

Calvert, S. L., Mahler, B. A., Zehnder, S. M., Jenkins, A., & Lee, M. S. (2003). Gender Differences in Preadolescent Children’s Online Interactions: Symbolic Modes of Self-Presentation and Self-Expression. Applied Developmental Psychology, 10(2), 81-118.

Chapman, G. (1995). Flamers. The New Republic, 212, 13-15.

Clark, H. H. (1996). Using Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lea, M., & Spears, R. (1991). Computer-Mediated Communication, Deindividuation and Group Decision-Making. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 23, 283- 301.

Lea, M., O'Shea T., Fung, P., & Spears, R. (1992) . 'Flaming' in Computer-Mediated Communication: Observations, Explanations, Implications. In M. Lea (Ed.), Contexts of Computer Mediated Communication (pp. 89-112). New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Miller, G. R., & Steinberg, M. (1975). Between People: A New Analysis of Interpersonal Communication. Chicago: Science Research Associates.

Noblia, M. V. (1998). Computer-Mediated Communication: A New Way of Understanding the Language. International Conference: 25-27 March 1998, Bristol, UK. Retrieved on November 15, 2007 from http://web.mit.edu/~hartman/public/portfolio/researchpaper.pdf

Nofsinger, R. E. (1990). Everyday Conversation: Interpersonal Commtexts 1. CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

NUA Internet Surveys. (1998). Retrieved on November 1st, 1997 from


Östman, M., Fried, J. O. & Verschueren, J. (eds.). (2011). Variation and Change. Pragmatic perspectives. John Benjamin Pub. Co.

O'Sullivan, P. B. (2000). What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt ME: Impression Management Functions of Communication Channels in Relationships. Human Communication Research, 26, 403-431.

O'Sullivan, P. B., & Flanagin, A. (2003). Reconceptualizing "Flaming" and Other Problematic Communication. New Media and Society 5(1), 69-94.

Porter, N. (1913). Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Published by G & C. Merriam Co.

Postmes, T., Spears, R., & Lea, M. (1998). Breaching or Building Social Boundaries? SIDE Effects of Computer-Mediated Communication. Communication Research, 25, 689-715.

Reid, E. (1993). Social Issues on Internet Relay Chat. Media Information Australia, 67, 62-70.

Roberts, D. F., Foehr, U. G., Rideout, V. J., & Brodie, M. (1999). Kids and Media at the New Millennium. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Seabrook, J. (1994). My First Flame. The New Yorker, 70, 70-99.

Subrahmanyam, K., Greenfield, P., Kraut, R., & Gross, E. (2001). The Impact ofComputer Use on Children's and Adolescents' Development. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 22, 7-30.

Suler, J. (1998). Adolescents in Cyberspace: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. In J. Suler (ed.), Psychology of Cyberspace. Retreived on August 28, 2007 from http://www.rider.edu/users/suler/psycyber/adoles.html

Colomb, G. C., & Simutis, J. A. (1996). Visible Conversation and Academic Inquiry: CMC in a Cultural Diverse Classroom. In S. C. Herring (Ed.), Computer Mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social and Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Amsterdam: J. Benjamins, 203-222.

Crystal, D. (2001). Language and the Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Greenfield, P. M., & Subrahmanyam, K. (2003). Online Discourse in a Teen Chatroom: New Codes and New Modes of Coherence in a Visual Medium. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 24, 713-738.

Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and Conversation. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and Semantics, Vol 3, New York: Academic Press, 41-58.

Haggerty, K. (2000). Conversation Analysis: A Study of On-line Chatrooms vs. Oral Communication. Unpublished Thesis. Western Connecticut State University. Retrieved on August 28, 2007 from http://people.wcsu.edu/mccarneyh/acad/HaggertyThesis.html

Herring, S. C. (1994). Politeness in Computer Culture: Why Women Thank and Men Flame. In Cultural Performances: Proceedings of the Third Berkeley Women and Language Conference, 278-294. Berkeley Women and Language Group. Retrieved on December 22, 2007 from http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/politeness.1994.pdf

Herring, S. C. (1995). Men’s Language on the Internet. Proceedings of the 2nd Nordic Language and Gender Conference. Retrieved on December 22, 2007 from http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/men.1995.pdf

Herring, S. C. (1996a). Computer-Mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social and Cross Cultural Perspectives. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Herring, S. C. (2000). Gender Differences in CMC: Findings and Implications. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Journal, 18(1).

Holmes, J. (2013). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (4th Ed). London: Longman.

Jaffe, J. M., Lee, Y. E., Huang, L. N., & Oshagan, H. (1995). Gender, Pseudonyms, and CMC: Masking Identities and Baring Souls. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Retrieved on December 22, 2007 from http://research.haifa.ac.il/~jmjaffe/genderpseudocmc/

Jamaliah Mohd Ali. (1995b). Malaysian Student Seminar: A Study of Pragmatic Featuresin Verbal Interaction. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis. University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Jariah Mohd Jan (1999). Malaysian Talk Shows: A Study of Power and Solidarity in Inter-Gender Verbal Interaction. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis. University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Kaul, A. (1988). Business Communication. New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India.

Lakoff, R. (1975). Language and Woman’s Place. New York: Harper and Row.

Thomson, D. (1995). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Nineth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Turkle, S. (1995). Life on The Screen. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Umarani, P. & Kumar, A. (2013). Social media and mobile internet usage among teenagers and young adults: an exploratory study. International Journal of Logistics and Supply Change Management Perspectives. Vol 2, No. 4, 547-551.

Walsh, W. A., Wolak, J., & Mitchell, K. J. (2013). Close relationships with people met online in a national U.S. sample of adolescents. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 7(3), Article 1. http://cyberpsychology.eu/view.php?cisloclanku=2013112801&article=4

Walther, J. B. (1992). Interpersonal Effects in Computer-Mediated Interaction: A Relational Perspective. Communication Research, 19(1), 52-90.

Walther, J. B. (1993). Impression Development in Computer-Mediated Interaction.

Western Journal of Communication, 57, 381-398.

Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-Mediated Communication: Impersonal, Interpersonal, and Hyperpersonal Interaction. Communication Research, 23, 3-43.

Wilcox, K. & A. T. Stephen. (2013). Are close friends the enemy? Online social networks, self-esteem, and self-control. Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 40, 90-103.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24200/mjll.vol3iss1pp1-14


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Attribution -CC BY

This journal and its content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Flag Counter