Why say ‘hi’? Framed openings in Hebrew WhatsApp messaging

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Messaging apps afford a perpetually open channel of communication in which official openings are unnecessary to establish contact. Participants who nonetheless choose to frame a new interactional span with a greeting orient toward traditional norms of social conduct where engagement with another party is contingent upon social ratification. Based on a corpus of Hebrew WhatsApp dialogues, this study explores the composition and sequential positions of greeting-initiated messages. Analysis reveals that openings in most cases are implemented by a minimal greeting and are not reciprocated. Typically, both dialogue initiators and recipients do not treat openings as a paired action that ought to be co-accomplished, but as a design feature of the message that constructs the upcoming span as a social encounter and displays the participants’ stance toward each other. Given their association with availability, greetings can also serve to account for temporary unavailability or absence. These relational tasks extend from ordinary conversation; however, their indexical value is recalibrated and heightened in messaging where the prevailing alternative is to launch a span with the interactional “business”.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationStudia Fennica Linguistica
PublisherSuomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameStudia Fennica Linguistica
ISSN (Print)1235-1938

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. All rights reserved.


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