*Sings myself happy birthday*: Externalizing and reassuming self in virtual performatives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores linguistic egocentrism in English through the lens of virtual performatives, i.e. self-referential stand-alone predications in the third person singular present tense through which users perform virtual action or emotion. The focus is on microblogging for apparently recreational purposes, where visibility, rather than reciprocity, must be a primary concern. Findings show that the common or garden virtual performative consistently relying on an externalized self occasionally turns into a variant where the self is subsequently reassumed, and then again possibly re-externalized within the same construction. The syntactic and discursive systematicity manifest in these constructions forbids treating them as erroneous. The paper discusses the benefits of this way of externalizing and optionally reassuming self, through fluctuation between third-person and first-person references, and touches upon metapragmatic awareness and logophoricity. In creating digital culture, virtual performatives point to users’ pragmatic adaptation of their public, social self to environments manifesting a high degree of context collapse.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)248–270
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • virtual performative
  • externalized self
  • reassumed self
  • pronouns
  • microblogging

Cite this