The second topic, which was chosen for the analysis, comes from the category entitled

‘family’ and is connected with spending summer holidays. It is commonly known that it is another anticipated period of time, which is important both for the Poles and the Americans. In the opinion of both groups, spending time with family and relatives improves relations. The results obtained from the analysis of Christmas topics show that the Polish people are more involved in preparations for Christmas and exchanging comments and opinions, yet it is crucial to investigate how it is when it comes to the topics connected with summer holidays. The following websites were used in the case of the Poles:


(2) (3)




And those in the case of the Americans:




The number of the posts gathered from the Polish websites: 50 The number of the posts gathered from the American websites: 50

The number of the comments included in the Polish posts: 178 The number of the comments included in the American posts: 169

185 The number of the sentences included in the Polish posts: 535

The number of the sentences included in the American posts: 845

The number of the running words included in the Polish comments: 3382 The number of the running words included in the American comments: 7943

6.3.1 Grammatical and lexical analysis of the Polish posts and comments concerning summer holidays

Table 31: The frequency of grammatical and lexical structures visible in the Polish people’s posts and comments concerning spending summer holidays

It is worth starting this analysis with the statement that a great number of the Poles use verbless constructions and short, simple sentences in their comments concerning the topic of holidays. It might be owing to the fact that sometimes such topics are considered as boring and monotonous by the Poles:

186 As one can notice, the comments shown above aim only at expressing recommendations connected with visiting a particular place. It most cases these messages are not too informative. It is also interesting to notice that the Polish people have a tendency to describe everything be means of using one or maximum two words, and in most cases, they do it by implementing either nouns or adjectives:

In this case, the Poles explain that it is enough to use adjectives and adverbs since those parts of the speech describe events, or places in the most effective way and there is no

187 need to write long, compound or complex sentences to describe a perfect holiday destination. Occasionally, some emoticons can be observable in some of these extracts.

As one can notice, in these posts and comments, some features typical of Netspeak can be noticeable as well:

(1) capitalization:

Using capitalization in these extracts show people’s joy, enjoyment and excitement connected with holidays destination. As one can notice, sometimes only one word can be written in capital letters, and sometimes the whole sentences are written in such a way.

(2) repeated letters:

Repeating letters aims at showing prosodic features of our everyday spoken language.

Those features may correspond to some major variables, for instance: the pitch of the voice, the length of sounds (as noticed in the extract), loudness, or prominence, and even timbre.

(3) using punctuation marks:

188 Among a great diversity or punctuation marks, exclamations included in these extracts aim at expressing our content and satisfaction. The function of exclamation also differs.

In the first extract: ‘Tam chcę!!!!!!’ the main role is to express our willingness and desire to visit a place; however, in the second extract: ‘Najdrozej jest chyba na Majorce!!!!!!’ the main function of the exclamations is to warn other holidaymakers about the prices in Majorca. On the basis of these two extracts, we may conclude that the second one is more informative thanks to exclamations.

There are also some extracts which contain various kinds of mistakes:

(1) lack of diacritical marks:

Lack of diacritical marks is typical only of the posts and the comments written by the Poles. During the analysis, we have gathered a great number of sentences without diacritical marks. There are some possible explanations of this kind of mistakes. One of them is that the respondents admit that they are too lazy to implement these marks in their sentences. They claim that too much time is needed in order to choose the combination of two keys in order to create a diacritical mark (e.g. in order to type ‘ą’ we need to press at the same time two keys: ‘a’ + ‘alt’). There are also some respondents who explain that they do not pay too much attention to these marks since the content of the message is more important for them. On the basis of their opinions, we may distinguish two situations: formal ones in which most of them claim that they try to use diacritical marks, and informal ones which are without these marks.

(2) spelling mistakes:

189 Spelling mistakes in the posts and the comments written by the Poles may be caused by literal mistakes, for instance: ‘Garoco’ instead of ‘gorąco’ or ‘iddech’ instead of

‘oddech.’ However, there are also several messages which contain typical spelling mistakes:

In this case, these mistakes are the result of not knowing basic spelling rules:

‘Pszecudowne’ instead of ‘Przecudowne’, ‘Kture’ instead of ‘Które’, or ‘chociarz’

instead of ‘chociaż.’

(3) lack of punctuation marks:

Lack of punctuation marks is visible more and more often in various posts and comments. The Internet users often forget about dots at the end of the sentences, or commas in the middle of the sentences. It also happens that the sentence which should be read as interrogative is perceived as a declarative one on the grounds that there is no question mark at the end of the sentence. Some respondents explain that either they forget about punctuation marks or they do not pay too much attention to them. Even if

190 most of the respondents stated in the questionnaire that such mistakes should not appear since they disturb the process of decoding messages, they are still present in most posts and comments.

Even if those are typical features of Netspeak, the Poles do not pay too much attention to those mistakes. It can be concluded that the Poles are aware of the fact that very often they make mistakes; however, because of their laziness, lack of time, and rush they do not pay too much attention to them.

Rarely does it happen that swearwords appear in these comments. If they do, they are not perceived as offensive ones since their function is to make the message more vivid, funny, or colorful:

It seems that the Polish people like to spend holidays together and what is more interesting, their sentences are becoming longer and more verified when they start to tag each other and make some plans concerning their trips. It differs a lot from the comments in which they just express their opinions and feelings:

191 As shown in these extracts, more feelings and emotions are included in the comments where people engage their friends to a mutual conversation. The more people involved in the conversation, the more information might be gathered and analyzed. The number of the emoticons also increase in these extracts from occasional ones, which appeared in the previous comments, to even 15 emoticons in one line. As it was in the case of the topics concerning Christmas, neither idioms, nor phrasal verbs are observable in these extracts. The number of personal constructions (42) definitely outranks the number of impersonal constructions (4) since these topics very often revolve around the respondents’ personal matters and issues.

6.3.2 Grammatical and lexical analysis of the American posts and comments concerning summer holidays

Active sentences Passive sentences The number of phrasal verbs in


Table 32: The frequency of grammatical and lexical structures visible in the Americans’

posts and comments concerning spending summer holidays

In many comments which appear under the posts connected with spending summer holidays together, it is very noticeable that in most cases the Americans prefer using active sentences (55) to passive ones (0) . Passive sentences are not used at all in these comments; however, one phenomenon is worth mentioning: a great number of the American users implement sentences without subjects:

Rarely are we aware of the fact that the Americans sometimes omit subjects in their posts and comments. It might seem that for them it is obvious that whenever they write

193 a comment, it is natural that personal pronouns are unnecessary since the performer of the action is known. To some degree, their sentences are similar to ours since the Polish language does not require us to use subjects in the sentences on the grounds that sometimes it could seem unnatural, for instance: ‘Jemy obiad’ vs ‘My jemy obiad.’

In contrast to Christmas themes, phrasal verbs, idioms, and slang finally can be found in the posts coming from summer holidays category. It might seem that the style which is attributed to summer holidays topics is more informal for the Americans:

(1) Phrasal verbs:

Finally, phrasal verbs are noticed in the extracts gathered from the Americans. When asked about using phrasal verbs, the Americans claim that they need a concrete situational context to use them in their sentences. It could explain the lack of phrasal verbs in the comments and posts coming from Christmas themes.

(2) Idioms:

194 The number of idioms used in these extracts is not too bewildering since in the opinion of the Americans they are sometimes difficult in understanding. Idioms themselves are expressions that in most cases have a figurative meaning. Very often an idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning so the interpretations of idioms might be misleading. Hence, the meanings of the idioms used in these extracts are as follows (Hornby, 2010):

(1) ‘have a ball’= to enjoy oneself very much,

(2) ‘not a chance in hell’ = to be completely impossible or incredibly unlikely, (3) ‘make the cut’ = come up to a required standard.

Abbreviations appear on a regular basis in these comments as well:

195 As one can notice, some abbreviations are very general ones, and some of them are connected mostly with discussed topics and matters. The list of abbreviations is shown in table 33.

Abbreviation English meaning Polish meaning

Feb February luty

Dec December grudzień

2nd second drugi

pics pictures obrazki, zdjęcia

defo definitely zdecydowanie

wks weeks tygodnie

lol laughing out loud śmieję się głośno

wk week tydzień

pls please proszę

LA Los Angeles Los Angeles

OMG Oh My God O mój Boże

fab fabulous bajeczny

mins minutes minuty

oct October październik

TBT Throwback Wspomnienie czegoś co

już minęło Table 33: Summer holidays theme abbreviations

In general, formal style is dominating; nevertheless, there are some examples of slang and urban expressions as well:

196 It might seem that the posts and the comments which include some slang and urban expressions could have been written by teenagers who are more familiar with this type of language than older generations. Seldom does it happen that adults or elderly people know such expressions. The interpretation of urban and slang expressions is as difficult as in the case of idioms since it functions as an informal register. The meaning of urban and slang expressions used in these extracts is as follows (Hornby, 2010):

(1) ‘defo’ = definitely, for sure,

(2) ‘to be a wuss’ = a weak, cowardly, or ineffectual person,

(3) ‘to be a dork’ = someone who has odd interests, and is often silly at times, (4) ‘on the box’ = on TV

(5) ‘to do some bits’ = a collection of small things.

Occasional examples of swearwords and emojis are noticeable in the comments under these posts. When it comes to the types of sentences which appear in these comments, it must be stated that declarative sentences appear the most often (65), exclamative sentences which are used by the Americans mostly to express joy and excitement (20), and a few interrogative sentences which are used to gather some practical information concerning holidays or asking for someone else’s opinions (21). There are also three imperative sentences found in these extracts:

197 It must also be stated that the Americans use longer sentences and they try to avoid answering using only two words like the Poles:

The findings illustrate that the number of simple sentences (75) outranks the number of other types of sentences.

The posts are gathered from the websites where different places of destinations are mentioned and described. For this reason, it is important to point out that different purposes are attributed to different places. From the observation, we might notice that the Americans choose Las Vegas as the place where they can go on their honeymoon or wedding anniversary:

198 However, when they want to relax in a more peaceful place, they choose some cruises and they usually go there with some friends. It is typical of the Americans to tag some of their friends and mates in the posts and encourage them to take part in a mutual conversation:

199 As was noticed before, the more people in the conversation, the more informative these conversations become and more information can be gathered. From the analyzed posts it can be concluded that the Americans prefer spending their summer holidays in the company of their families and friends to spending them on their own. Several extracts illustrate that the language changes in comparison to the posts coming from Christmas category. In these extracts from summer holidays themes, they use both simple sentences:

and compound sentences:

The emoticons appear, but only occasionally in some posts (20). As in the case of the Polish people, the Americans also make some mistakes connected with punctuation marks:

200 The extracts present that lack of punctuation marks is also typical of the posts and the comments gathered from the Americans. As one can notice none of these sentences finish with question marks which might indicate that lack of punctuation mark is becoming slowly more and more common among the American respondents. In some of their explanations they state that sometimes they are even not aware of the fact that they do not put dots or question marks at the end of the sentence. Some of them claim that they focus more on the content of the message than punctuation marks.

Having analyzed the results from the questionnaire and the extracts coming from the corpus analysis, we can draw one conclusion. Even if both groups of the respondents stated in the questionnaire that they do pay attention to grammatical and lexical mistakes, in fact it turns out that they themselves also make mistakes and they are fully aware of them. Naturally, we cannot generalize that all the posts and the comments contain mistakes, yet some of them do and sometimes the process of decoding such a message is much harder. Various abbreviations and idioms also contribute to the fact that we have to read a message twice in order to understand it correctly or check the real meaning of unknown words.

W dokumencie A comparative analysis of grammatical structures and vocabulary in Polish and English Facebook chats (Stron 184-0)