Marius, the Giraffe: A Comparative Informatics Case Study of Linguistic Features of the Social Media Discourse

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    On February 9, 2014, a giraffe named Marius was put to death by the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark, sparking a storm of public discussion nationally and internationally. This paper presents a comparative informatics case study of the event. We employ the method of grounded comparison in the examination of the text of postings and articles in social media as well as mainstream media in Danish and English languages. At the macro-structural level, the social media discourse is characterized by arguments grounded in scientific and bureaucratic rationality, cultural and linguistic relativity, and animal ethics. At the micro-genetic level of language use, our findings show that international discourse was much more intense and emotional than the discourse in Danish media as evidenced by the differences in volume, sentiment and topics in English vs. Danish data. While these differences undoubtedly reflect a broad range of cultural, linguistic, organizational and societal factors, we suggest that to some extent the differences might result from specific features of the media landscape in Denmark.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceeding CABS '14 Proceedings of the 5th ACM International Conference on Collaoration Across Boundaries : Culture, Distance & Technology
    EditorsNaomi Yamashita, Vanessa Evers, Carolyn Rosé, Mary Beth Watson-Manheim
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Publication date2014
    ISBN (Print)9781450325578
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventThe 5th ACM International Conference on Collaboration Across Boundaries (CABS 2014): Culture, Distance & Technology - Kyoto, Japan
    Duration: 20 Aug 201422 Aug 2014
    Conference number: 5


    ConferenceThe 5th ACM International Conference on Collaboration Across Boundaries (CABS 2014)
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