Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

World Languages

Major Professor

Camilla Vásquez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wei Zhu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Suresh Canagarajah, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Soria Colomer, Ph.D.


heteroglossia, carnivalesque, computer-mediated communication, Chinese online literacy practices, plurillingualism


This study investigates Chinese online users’ adoptions of various languages and other meaning making signs in their online literacy practices in two popular Chinese CMC sites, Weibo (micro-blogging) and (video-sharing). Adopting the theoretical framework of heteroglossia (Bakhtin, 1981), I explore how various meaning making resources are creatively and playfully utilized by Chinese users in their online communication. After two-month data collection, I sampled the non-standard literacy practices (e.g., foreign language transliteration) identified from micro-blogging postings and comments in Weibo, as well as spontaneous (known as “bullet curtain” comments) and traditional text-box comments from featured videos in The findings resulted in 30,005 non-standard literacy practice types which contain meaning making features from languages (e.g., stylized Chinese Mandarin) and other meaning making signs (e.g., emojis) from both sites. The analysis suggests that Chinese online communication are noticeably hybrid with plurillingual and non-linguistic semiotic resources. These practices reflect the Bakhtinian notion of heteroglossic communication in which people stylize their language use with various meaning making resources. In addition, many practices are also “carnivalesque” (Bakhtin, 1984) which is characterized with creativity and playfulness. The study further deconstructs the notion of multilingualism and extends the discussion of how online communication opens up space for non-conventional and creative literacy practices, which potentially challenge the authoritative policies and voices.