Next month, the “Language and New Media” special interest group of the British Association of Applied Linguistics will be discussing my forthcoming Discourse, Context & Media article about time references in online reviews. The focus of my research was on how online reviewers make a lot more references to the remote past, compared to the present and the recent past. This is in direct contrast to the strong orientation to “what is happening right now” that is characteristic of many other types of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogs). I also found that remote past references tended to rely more on grammatical resources rather than lexical resources — for example, grammatical aspect, prepositional phrases, and adverbial clauses. The reverse is true for present-time references, which are usually conveyed via a single word: now, today, just, etc.
The article’s publisher will make my article freely available online from Nov 23-Dec 8, and I’ll be doing an interview with the group’s convenor on Dec. 8, which will be available as a podcast afterwards. Stay tuned for more details!