Abstract

This article demonstrates that a "Worldwide Web vernacular" has now emerged. The vanity or "home" page in general and the "pet vanity page" in particular exist as recognizable emic genres. The distinguishing features of these genres are in their personal content. However, as a result of the technologies that arose to satisfy growing commercial interests in Web-based communication during the 1990s, that content has come to be associated with particular formal features. These features are emically recognized as vernacular in the example of a professional Web designer who deploys this aesthetic in an effort to render his marketing of pet-cloning services more palatable to a marketplace of pet-lovers. By using these features rhetorically, this Web designer offers evidence that the vernacular gives voice to meaning not available from inside institutional norms and forms. Defining elements of this vernacular are located by comparing features of the commercial cloning Web pages with a sample of forty-two pet pages. This article finds that the vernacular is now recognizable on the World Wide Web precisely because the emergence of the "institutional" gave the vernacular its power to enact meaning.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0413
Print ISSN
0737-7037
Pages
pp. 323-360
Launched on MUSE
2005-12-14
Open Access
No
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