Languages, Code-Switching Practice and Primary Functions of Facebook among University Students

Latisha Asmaak Shafie, Surina Nayan


The purpose of this study was to determine the languages used in Facebook wall posts and comments, code-switching practice of these multilingual university students and functional orientation of their Facebook wall posts and comments. This study was mainly based on the investigation of the latest 50 Facebook comments of 100 Malay public university students in Malaysia. The first language of these university students is Bahasa Malaysia and English is their second language. The content analysis of wall posts was used to analyze the code-switching language used in the Facebook and the primary functions of the Facebook comments by categorizing them using Thurlow’s (2003) SMS categories that contain nine orientations. The findings indicate that majority of the Facebook users comments are categorized under friendship maintenance orientation to maintain existing relationships and create new friendships. The findings indicate heavily abbreviated languages in English and Bahasa Malaysia. It is found that situational code-switching between English and Bahasa Malaysia is heavily utilized by multi-lingual Facebook users. The research is significant in a number of ways as it offers the communication culture of Facebook among public university students in Malaysia. In addition, the study indicates that Social Network Sites can also be a potential teaching and learning tool to teach English since learners nowadays are members of various Social Network Sites.

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