"In this book, Richard Kern explores how technology matters to language and the ways in which we use it. Kern reveals how material, social and individual resources interact in the design of textual meaning, and how that interaction plays out across contexts of communication, different situations of technological mediation, and different moments in time."
The chapters in this edited volume explore the sociolinguistic implications of orthographic and scriptural practices in a diverse range of communicative contexts, ranging from schoolrooms to internet discussion boards. The focus is on the way that scriptural practices both index and constitute social hierarchies, identities and relationships and in some cases, become the focus for public language ideological debates. Capitalizing on the now robust body of literature on orthographic choice and debate in sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics, the volume addresses a number of cross-cutting themes that connect orthographic practices to areas of contemporary interest in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. These themes include: the different social implications of self vs. other representation and the permeability of the personal/social and the public/private; how scriptural practices ("inscription") serve as sites for social discipline; the historical and intertextual frameworks for the meaning potentials of orthographic choice (relating to issues of genre and style); and writing as a broader semiotic field: the visual and esthetic dimensions of texts and metalinguistic "play" in spelling and its ambiguous implications for writer stance.