Netaphor Wiki

Mirjana N. Dedaic, Georgetown University
Thursday, March 10, 2011; 10am-12pm

This workshop has two goals: (1) To introduce netaphors as a special consideration in cognitive linguistics, focusing entirely on the language of, and for, information and social media technologies, and (2) to introduce a use of wiki technology in the linguistic classroom.

Participants will bring with them: 1. A wi-fi enabled laptop 2. At least ten metaphoric expressions for internet- and social media–related features or functions

Workshop Introduction: New technologies can trigger the spread of new concepts, processes, relationships, and activities. These new elements, as they disrupt or become integrated into existing ways of being, require names. Frequently, in the process of naming the products and byproducts of new technologies we reach for metaphors. This is for several reasons: First, employing a metaphor is often faster and easier than other methods of naming, such as constructing a new word from existing morphological material. Second, a metaphor can help users situate new circumstances and elements in relation to older reference frames, providing continuity and a means of addressing disruption. Third, metaphors allow users to recognize new words or expressions quickly and apply them with ease. Finally, metaphors can handle a number of different situations and variations. Metaphors thus offer convenience, integrative abilities, responsiveness, and elasticity — qualities that are particularly useful in situations characterized by both rapid change and widespread effect, as with information and social media technologies.

In this workshop, we focus on various forms of netaphors, metaphors that help us interact with information and social media technologies as well as construct new meanings and ways of being within their frameworks. For example, we examine netaphors that are locative in nature, (e.g., website, portal, cyberworld, email address, firewall, etc.), netaphors that indicate travel (e.g., (we)blog, surfing, going online, etc.), and many others. We categorize them according to their linguistic properties, metaphoric descriptions, and computing domains. In the process we investigate the key larger conceptual frameworks we use to understand and relate to these technologies.

To organize collected netaphors, we use wiki technology. A wiki is a web-based tool that enables the construction and editing of interlinked web pages, with such pages potentially further linked to external sources. Two of the most exciting features of wiki technology are its facility for multi-author collaboration and its ability to display nonlinear representations through annotative tag clouds. In addition, wikis offer several practical benefits for linguistic research and teaching: inclusion of multimedia, collaboration not dependent on time or location, transparent editing histories, and customizable parameters. In this workshop participants will employ wiki technology to categorize and investigate the relationships among netaphors—and in the process will permanently leave their own unique imprints on the project.

© 2010 GURT 2011 | Organized by Deborah Tannen & Anna Trester