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The emergence of the identity of a fictional expert advice-giver in an American Internet advice column


Locher, Miriam A; Hoffmann, Sebastian (2006). The emergence of the identity of a fictional expert advice-giver in an American Internet advice column. Text & Talk, 26(1):69-106.

Abstract

This paper is a contribution to research on the expression of expert advice-giving (e.g., Heritage and Sefi 1992; Silverman et al. 1992). We present a linguistic analysis of the ways in which the identity of the fictional expert advisor Lucy emerges in an Internet advice column run by professional health educators as part of a university health service. In discourse-analytical close readings of 280 question-answer records, we identify and discuss seven recurring strategies (the advisor's name, self-reference and use of address terms; expert information-giving; giving options and making readers think; the choice of vocabulary; offering opinions; the use of empathy; the display of humor), which together contribute to Lucy's voice as an expert advice-giver if the readers repeatedly access the question-answer exchanges. This emerging identity is in line with the site's mission to provide information designed to facilitate independent and responsible decision processes and corresponds to an ideal of nondirectiveness, as also identified in the literature on other advisory settings (He 1994; Sarangi and Clarke 2002; Vehviläinen 2003). The constructed identity of Lucy thus makes ‘Lucy Answers' an attractive site to (re)turn to for advice and complements the other services provided by the health educators

Abstract

This paper is a contribution to research on the expression of expert advice-giving (e.g., Heritage and Sefi 1992; Silverman et al. 1992). We present a linguistic analysis of the ways in which the identity of the fictional expert advisor Lucy emerges in an Internet advice column run by professional health educators as part of a university health service. In discourse-analytical close readings of 280 question-answer records, we identify and discuss seven recurring strategies (the advisor's name, self-reference and use of address terms; expert information-giving; giving options and making readers think; the choice of vocabulary; offering opinions; the use of empathy; the display of humor), which together contribute to Lucy's voice as an expert advice-giver if the readers repeatedly access the question-answer exchanges. This emerging identity is in line with the site's mission to provide information designed to facilitate independent and responsible decision processes and corresponds to an ideal of nondirectiveness, as also identified in the literature on other advisory settings (He 1994; Sarangi and Clarke 2002; Vehviläinen 2003). The constructed identity of Lucy thus makes ‘Lucy Answers' an attractive site to (re)turn to for advice and complements the other services provided by the health educators

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Language and Linguistics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Social Sciences & Humanities > Linguistics and Language
Language:English
Date:26 January 2006
Deposited On:08 Oct 2018 13:48
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 01:55
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:0165-4888
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/TEXT.2006.004
Related URLs:https://www.swissbib.ch/Search/Results?lookfor=nationallicencegruyter101515TEXT2006004 (Library Catalogue)

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