Aaaaack! The active voice was used! Language play, technology, and repair in the Daily Kos weblog

Anne Lazaraton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper analyzes repair phenomena in a bounded episode of language play that appeared in a well-known political weblog, Daily Kos. One diarist-member employed a passive voice frame to make various snarky comments about the current state of American politics as well as member behavior on the blog. This posting, along with the 863 comments it garnered, are examined to describe commenter reactions to active voice contributions that violate the passive frame 'rule' set out by the original diarist. The conversation analytic system of repair (Schegloff et al., 1977) provided a framework for understanding these responses. Findings indicate that commenters who did not format their contributions as grammatical passives were regularly subjected to playful repair and correction, reprimand, and even ridicule by other participants. Furthermore, the repairs were sensitive to the technological affordances of computer-mediated discourse (e.g., Herring, 1999, 2013). These results suggest that even in ludic episodes such as those present in the written weblog data, participants regularly employ repair practices that are based on spoken interaction, but ones that are shaped by the weblog medium and employed to further the playfulness that characterizes the diary itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-116
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Digital discourse
  • Language play
  • Repair


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