A COMPUTER-MEDIATED DISCOURSE ANALYSIS ON UNDERGRADUATES’ FACEBOOK AND WHATSAPP
The study aims at investigating the socio-linguistic reasons for the undergraduates’ use of e-discourse features, presenting salient features of e-discourse and exploring the ways ediscourse writing skills deviate from formal English writing and communication skills. Structured questionnaires were administered to the study participants drawn from the Faculties of Arts, Law and Social Sciences of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Nigeria. In addition, 85 Facebook comments and 210 WhatsApp messages were collected from the departmental Facebook group page and class WhatsApp group chats of the students. The study was analyzed using Descriptive Statistics of Mean and percentages. Limited space on computer or cell phone screen, showing creativity in the use of the language, socializing and interacting among the participants were found to be the socio-linguistic reasons for the undergraduates’ use of e-discourse features on Facebook and WhatsApp. Diminishing concerns for punctuation, improper capitalization and beginning a sentence with a lowercase were shown to be the reasons for the deviation of e-discourse writing skills on Facebook and WhatsApp from formal English writing and communication skills. Therefore, students should adhere strictly to grammatical conventions and mechanics of formal writing to avoid forming hybridized constructions in their academic work. The study recommends that teachers of English as a second language in institutions of higher learning should include the disparities between e-discourse and formal English in their course outlines.