A Sociolinguistic Study of Class Identification of Thai Middle Class
In an average nation, the middle class is the portion of population that drives the nation politically, economically and culturally and always continues to grow larger in size. The middle class are typically more active and vocal to participate in their discourse community and, at present, better compatible with Internet technologies that allow synchronous and asynchronous communication.Thailand has seen a turbulent societal division and political polarization in recent years. The long-standing conflict is rooted from the enormous socio-economic gap between the middle class to the rich and the grassroots. A sociolinguistic analysis of online discourse can help theorising the social and contextual characteristics of class identification made by the middle class who has the most Internet access. The data of the study will be a collection of online discussion from a Thai public website between March 1-31, 2013. The data will be entirely in Thai but will be translated into English for result reporting and discussion. Following Herring (2004) on researching virtual identity, the study will address the middle class’s shared history, purpose, culture, norms and values by investigating group-specific language use, jargon, language routines as well as choice of language. Self-awareness of the middle class group by the members’ terms of address as a group such as ‘us vs. them’ will also be identified.
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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)
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