Don, Alexanne
Kyushu Sangyo University
Fukuoka, JAPAN

Alexanne Don
4-7-7 Chiyo
Fukuoka-shi, 812

Strand: discourse English

Title: Participant roles and the interpersonal metafunction in mailing list interaction

Within the context of mailing list interaction, specifically a list which has been constituted for the express purpose of studying its own process and group-forming mechanisms, can a participant's role perception and attitude toward the other members of the group be retrieved from a consideration of the interpersonal metafunction?

Because email interaction is almost entirely dependant on textual clues, participants come to rely on these to determine and entextualise their own role and status within the group, and to make judgements about the others with whom each is communicating.

It is proposed that an analysis of cues that are to be found within the interpersonal metafunction will mark these attitudes and reader positions, and that other members' perceptions will be affected in a systematic way, and be revealed in responses - a cycle of initiation and response will be evident within 'threads'.

This paper will examine some of those markers of role perception centring on one post from a thread, and note whether predictions of such role perception are evident in prior and subsequent posts in that thread, as revealed in their own use of such markers of appraisal, affinity and role perception.

Issues of performance, process, content and contextualisation will be raised.