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Language and Self-Presentation. A Linguistic Analysis of Filipino Personal Home Pages

Leah Gustilo

Date of publication:

June and December 2007

This study addresses a gap in research about Personal home pages (PHPs) by examining the uses of language for the expression of identity and self-presentation through the analysis of self-expression/self-description data found on Filipino PHPs. Thirty personal home page texts that belong to 20 Filipino males and I 0 Filipino females are analyzed to describe how Filipino home page authors present themselves on the web though their linguistic sources, which are investigated in terms of the structuring of three types of meaning involved in the clause: identificational, actional, and representational. When conveying identificational meaning through pronouns and modal markers, the authors present themselves as individuals who attempt to establish interpersonal relationship with their readers, casual communication, and high level commitment to their descriptions. When structuring actional meaning through 'sentence types' and speech functions, authors 'give off' information that stage them as writers who, on the one hand, are mainly engaged in knowledge exchange as participants who share information about themselves; and on the other hand, are occasionally involved in an activity exchange with their readers, asking the latter to perform some actions like clicking a link, exploring their site, or signing their guest book. When constructing representational meaning through process types and participant functions, the authors' choices of particular patterns present themselves as individuals who are mainly concerned with material processes of 'doings' and 'happenings' and~ in the relational processes of 'being.' Simultaneously, they present the participants (themselves and the people and things they describe) of the processes as active agents who are always present in the processes - 'doers' who do and make things happen and 'carriers' who represent that something is. The study posits that when individuals prefer particular linguistic patterns, the choices have to be understood as signalling something about the persons' identity, because these linguistic choices are "paralinguistic" cues (corresponding to non-verbal cue in face-to face interaction) that reveal something about an individual (Miller, 1995; Zilles & King, 2005).

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