Stylistic Dominants Of Internet Communication


The article is devoted to the study of the stylistic space of the modern Internet and the identification of stylistic dominants in it. The relevance of the research is due to both extralinguistic factors (the digital revolution and the increasing influence of the Internet among other media channels) and intralinguistic factors (a special form of language existence in new communicative conditions). The novelty lies in the mediastilistic approach to the study of the language and style of the Internet, in which a specific stylistic space is allocated in the Internet space, structured by stylistic dominants. The Renaissance of audio in modern media culture and the emphasis on the conversational nature of written Internet communication expands the share of oral communication in the Internet. The language of the Internet has a special, oral-written form of expression. But with the development of Internet communication, the share of verbality (oral communication) increases, as the Internet becomes the main platform for interpersonal and intergroup communication. The speed of information transfer and the focus on colloquial and informal communication provokes the development of compressed language forms. Compression and verbality contribute to the development of multimedia signs that contain emotions, paralinguistics, and visuals. Multimediality by means of various compressed signs (emojis, emoticons, etc.), provides a wide range of opportunities to bring online communication closer to offline communication, as it conveys emotionality, gestures, and prosodics of written speech. Verbality, compression and multimediality in close relationship with creativity form the specifics of the stylistic space of Internet communication.

Keywords: Internet communicationcompressioncreativitymultimedialitystylistic dominants


Current problems of modern media communication are connected with the rapid development of new technologies – artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and voice assistants in particular, as well as with the considerable expansion and dominance of the Internet environment as a new communicative and stylistic space (Barysheva, 2018; Ivanova & Klushina, 2018; Kaminskaya et al., 2019; Klushina & Ivanova, 2017; Klushina et al., 2019; Mabrook & Singer, 2019; Vakku et al., 2019, etc.). The book under the title "Internet communication as a new speech formation" (Kolokol'tseva & Lutovinova, 2014) was one of the first collective monographs in Russian, which fixed the features of language functioning in Internet communication.

Following Tošović (2018), we believe that the Internet is not an independent functional style in the system of functional styles of a literary language, but it is a special stylistic space, with its own special structure, in which there is a place for both network functional styles and non-functional styles. Stylistic categories and techniques are implemented in this space. It can also be studied by network language tiers. Internet linguistics today is an actual and new field of science, which most fully reflects all current trends in the development of the language.

The hypothesis of our article is that the stylistic space of the Internet is structured using mutually dependent style dominants, the most important of which are: verbality (orality), compression, multimediality and creativity. If we consider these dominants as independent, rather than mutually dependent and convergent, then some of them have long been studied as characteristic features of functional styles (for example, verbality and compression are significant for the conversational and everyday functional style, and creativity is of paramount importance for the literary and artistic style). However, for us, it is the continuity and equivalence of the style dominants for Internet communication listed above that become fundamentally important, since all of them together determine the essence of stylistic phenomena in the Internet space. This approach determines the novelty of the research.

The material for research findings included the texts that were circulating on the Internet during the years of 2019-2020.

Problem Statement

In this article, we aim to identify and describe the leading dominants of Internet communication. The dominant approach allows us to determine the features of this communication, its differences from other types of communication. The main task therefore includes, firstly, the analysis of each of the identified dominants and, secondly, the study of their convergence, which leads to a special cumulative effect characteristic of modern Internet communication.

Research Questions

The article will cover the following questions:

The development of audio-texts in the Internet communication;

Verbality on the Internet as a reflection of the convergence of stylistic dominants;

Compression as the expression of verbality and creativity (on the example of compression of the word form);

Creativity of Internet communication on the example of ways to transmit prosodic information (timbre property);

The dominant of multimediality in the stylistic space of the Internet (with the emoji language as its particular case).

Preliminary conclusions are to be made.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the research is to identify and describe the stylistic dominants in modern Internet communication, which constitute the uniqueness of this type of communication in comparison with other channels of information transmission (newspaper, radio, television). The article will demonstrate the interdependence and interdependence of the identified dominants using examples of modern Internet texts, which is primarily due to the convergent nature of this new type of communication.

Research Methods

The methodology is based on mediastinitis methods Tošović (2018), Klushina (2016), Barysheva (2018), Klushina et al. (2019), et al. and ideas. The functional-dominant approach (identification of style dominants), usually used in idiostylistics that studies individual style Zolyan (1989), also plays a significant role.

Methods of discourse analysis Boldyrev and Dubrovskaia (2015), were applied in the research in the case when it was necessary to pay attention to extralinguistic factors that affect communication on the Internet. In addition, descriptive and comparative methods of analysis of empirical data were used.


The Renaissance of verbality in media culture

The world in which we live is currently experiencing a Renaissance in the field of audio, which is facilitated by the development of technologies, such as unlimited mobile Internet, the widespread use of miniature headphones, including wireless ones. A great number of people use audio in order to send a message to the popular instant messengers and social networking websites. Voice assistants (chatbots, virtual interlocutors) have appeared in our life. But the adaptation of the addressee of the media discourse to the new technological environment is not the only reason for the popularity of audio formats.

The time available for consumers (readers, viewers, listeners) to percieve media content produced in a large quantity per unit time has decreased significantly, and the audio format ("voice") remain the only form of interaction between the addresser and the addressee of the media that allows the recipient not only to consume information but also to perform additional manipulations (to drive, to play sports, to travel in public transport, to do cooking and cleaning, etc.). In the last decade, the Internet has been actively developing deferred listening to audio content of radio stations (so-called podcasts). Research conducted by VCIOM (Russian Public Opinion Research Centre) in 2020 shows that 19% of Russians (that is, one in five) listen to podcasts; 9% of them listen to the podcasts more than five or seven years ago, 6% - less, and 4% - the same amount of time as before. At the same time, 68% of Russian citizens do not listen to podcasts at all, and 13% of respondents found it difficult to answer. Radio station podcasts (i.e. series of audio files published on the Internet with the ability to subscribe to platforms of independent podcasting applications), it should be noted that podcasts on social networks now coexist with podcasts produced by Internet users themselves. Mayak Radio Station of VGTRK Holding (The All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company) even established a special podcast award called Russian Podcast Awards in 2019. Numerous award categories ("Lifestyle", "Entertainment"," Business"," Cinema"," Education"," Culture"," Health and Sports"," Music"," Family and Children", "Technology and Gadgets", "Audience Award") indicate the popularity of podcasting in Russia. The development of the podcast industry can extend the life of talk radio shows. At the same time, home-made" radio broadcasts for the Internet" (Amateur podcasts of global network users) can already compete with the content produced by professional journalists for the audience's attention and advertisers' money.

This Renaissance of audio in media communication (Vakku et al., 2019) suggests that verbality is becoming one of the most important stylistic dominants, especially in Internet communication, which in the first scientific approximation was regarded as a special oral-written form of language implementation.

In our research, we distinguish between style and stylistic dominants, since we distinguish between functional styles and stylistic spaces. Tošović (2018) points out that "the Internet is the widest, most diverse and most complex communication space, means and channel ever invented and created by man" (p. 53). The study of the Internet as a space, rather than a functional style, dictates the need to update and adapt the known stylistic methods and ideas to solve new problems.

Zolyan (1989) defines the style dominant as

a text factor and a style characteristic that changes the usual functional relationships between elements and units of the text. < ... > It is assumed that the poetic idiolect can be described as a system of related dominants and their functional areas. (p. 15)

Since we consider the Internet not as a style, but as a communicative, social and, most importantly, stylistic space, we are talking about stylistic (spatial) dominants, which, like style dominants, structure the overall space of the network, subordinating and changing the functional features of individual independent texts circulating on the Internet.

The verbality dominant is closely linked to the stylistic dominant of compression. Compression in the stylistic space of the Internet is, on the one hand, a way to express verbality, and on the other hand - a way to overcome the technological difficulties associated with functioning of the network: the limitation of letter characters by the size of the screen, interactivity that requires instant messaging, etc.

Nevertheless, compression in the stylistic space of the Internet also leads to the realization of the creativity dominant, since the expression of verbality in written texts of the Internet performs primarily stylistic tasks, that is clearly understood by the authors.

Compression of the word form as the expression of verbality and creativity

In modern Internet communication, we can observe compression of various types, at the level of all language units. Compression of the word form - of its sound shell in particular - as a new and actively supported by users phenomenon is especially indicative. This type of compression is more capable of imitating oral speech than any other and is more creative in its function, since it is characterized by the most important features of creativity: creative approach, novelty and relevance (Barysheva, 2018). Among the reduced pronouncing forms there are both traditional and "occasional" ones. It is obvious that cases of the first type prevail:

- Can somebody happen to tell what to do, as lodd fantasy is not enough.

- Listen here, I'll tell you everything that interests you...

The fixation of reduced forms is referred to as "occasional" forms, although they exist in the practice of colloquial speech, but they are not usually reflected in Internet communication as markers of colloquiality:

- "I don't know if it will open.".. but look, it's not really Murik ... but it's fun...

- Wanna go there, that's who can tell you about the city

The function of these techniques is not just a function of economy. Researchers, defining this phenomenon as the convergence of these resources, note that in natural language, these registers are well separated and do not mix. Accordingly, the convergence of speech economy and expressiveness manifests the creativity of Internet communication and the linguocreative thinking of Internet users.

Thus, the tendency to phonetize Russian written speech is caused not only by filling the gap in the "codified oral speech" – "spoken oral speech" – "codified written speech" system with the missing "spoken written speech" link, but also, in particular, by the formation of compressed ways of transmitting information and expressing the creative function of the language.

Creativity as an example of ways to transmit prosodic information

The use of graphic signs is one of the ways to transmit prosodic information of a timbral property. The creativity of this method lies in the fact that it is one of the ways to compress information, since there is no need to express it verbally. Timbre is understood as an additional "color" of the voice, superimposed on a ready-made phrase and expressed in metaphors such as "gentle voice", "sad voice", "cheerful voice", etc. Observations of Internet communication reveal two groups of means that convey the timbre of speech: typographic signs (brackets, colons, etc.) and fonts (italics, color, capital letters):

- "Wow!". Real winter)) It feels like I live in a different city)) But, we do not have a single tree in our yard (((Here you just have a forest compared to our and neighboring yards.

Creative in fact are combined methods of transmitting prosodic parameters of speech, which, of course, is a means of information compression. Thus, the timbre of speech (emotional-evaluative level) can be indicated by the complexes of:

а) "phonetic transcription" with colloquial truncation:

- To the countryside, unfortunately, we couldn't go. But Tobol we saw of course.

b) pronounciation variant (of any type) and emoticon:

- You know when... at what time? Did’t sleep till half past one... and didn’t call noOne  

- Funny  

c) phonetic variant and pausing notation:

- But, seems like, if not me..., Who else dares to say ... the ugly truth   ))) 

d) "ironic" and "colloquial" phonetic variant and graphic signs that express emotions (brackets, vowel repetition, etc):

- PS: by the way, - "as usual", this comes from - where? wheare? whean? ))) rhitoric question... 

These examples are generally a confirmation of the trend towards the interaction of oral and creative communication in the Internet.

The multimediality dominant in the stylistic space of the Internet

Verbality in Internet communication involves not only compression and creativity, but also multimediality (Deuze, 2004; Jacobson et al., 2015; Pincus et al., 2017). By mudtimediality, we mean the use of various nonverbal codes in Internet communication, which are formed in the Internet and make up the specifics of its stylistic space. Multimedia signs can include hashtags, stickers, punctuation marks in the function of expressing emotions (for example, emoticons), Caps Locks to attract attention to a selected word or phrase, and so on. The emoji is rightfully regarded as the most striking expression of multimediality and a special visual code of the Internet language. The emoji serves to both express and confirm the feelings of the speaker, and also as a visualization of oral speech compressed into an emoticon. Emoticon is the most striking example of the convergence of the stylistic dominants that we distinguish - verbality, compression, creativity and multimediality.

Written speech is not always able to accurately and concisely convey the feelings and emotions of the speaker. For instance, a smile or wink are those communication signals that attract the interlocutor, make him feel comfortable and inform him about the mood that a particular speech message is filled with.

Successful communication is always the right emotional message and an adequate emotional response. And the language of informal Internet communication, written in form, but tending to oral speech in the stylistic aspect, simply required the introduction of some signs that could complement, translate, clarify what we are trying to convey to the interlocutor with words. And emoticons - graphic images of emotions have become such signs. They were created using traditional typographic tools - brackets, dots, commas. A smile, for example, is depicted as :), sadness-as :(. From the point of view of functional use, emoticons can be divided into three groups. The first - the image of emotions, the second - the image of objects, people and phenomena, and the third - auxiliary graphic elements of text structuring. These are, for example, graphical elements such as: ✅ and ❌ .

Emoticons are called "smailiks" in the cyrillic Internet. "Smailiks" bring emotions and intonation to oral speech, and help us understand the author's attitude to what he is talking about. They usually cancel the period at the end of a sentence, but they co-exist perfectly well with question marks and exclamation marks.

With the development of technical means of transmitting information, emoticons have evolved into emojis (or pictograms), which can sometimes replace speech itself.

An emoji is any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communications (for example, in text messages, email, and social networks) to express the author's emotional attitude, briefly convey information, or convey a message, sometimes without using words.

Emojis and emoticons help to reduce the distance between speakers, actively use creative strategies, shorten the text and quickly give an answer to a question. For example:

— Why didn't you attend the University?

Visual images in Internet communication to some extent compensate for the lack of non-verbal signals that people exchange in face-to-face communication Emoji can be called a universal language, since visual multimedia signs are easily decoded by people of different cultures.


The development of new digital technologies leads to the formation of a complex and unique communication space of the Internet. In the communicative space of the Internet, we allocate a special stylistic space. This stylistic space is structured by stylistic dominants, which are interconnected and mutually conditioned. They form special stylistic patterns of modern Internet communication. In the era of the audio Renaissance and taking into account the opinion of researchers about a special form of the Internet language, designated as oral-written form, verbality is regarded as the most important stylistic dominant. Verbality is closely linked to compression, creativity , and multimediality of Internet communication. The above mentioned most significant dominants make it possible to speak about the special stylistic status of the Internet language, which becomes formally compressed, but semantically complicated, including by multimedia visual codes. Thus, the stylistic space of the Internet enables to maximize the creative function of the language .


With the support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) Grant No. 20-012-00077 "Creative function of the language in Internet communication".


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Klushina, N., Baigozhina, D., Barysheva, S., Nikolaeva, A., & Malygina, L. (2021). Stylistic Dominants Of Internet Communication. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1117-1124). European Publisher.