Journal Article

Redefining Vernacular Literacies in the Age of Web 2.0

David Barton and Carmen K. M. Lee

in Applied Linguistics

Volume 33, issue 3, pages 282-298
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0142-6001
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1477-450X | DOI:
Redefining Vernacular Literacies in the Age of Web 2.0

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In this article, we examine the characteristics of vernacular literacies on Web 2.0, focusing on the writing activities performed on the photo-sharing site This site provides people with many possibilities for writing, ranging from individual tags to extensive profiles. The study investigates these forms of writing to address questions about people's contemporary everyday literacy practices: the extent to which these are new practices and how the notion of vernacular literacies is changing in a global context. Data for the research come from a sample of 100 Flickr sites, along with online interviews with 30 active multilingual Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking users of Flickr. The study shows that people draw upon a wide range of multilingual and multimodal resources to project new global identities. The writing practices found on Flickr are often changing and new ones are created out of existing ones. The article concludes by redefining the concept of vernacular literacies, showing how they are now more valued and how people are using local resources to participate in global writing practices.

Journal Article.  7420 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics ; Language Teaching Theory and Methods

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