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The article discusses methods of defining lexical and stylistic markers of the two genres of online communication, namely, blogs and group chats in social networks. Attention is paid to the strong and week points of using corpus methods for finding lexical units which can be classified as genre markers of online monologues and dialogues. The research is based on the data obtained from snapshot corpora of blogs and group chats as well as from the General Internet Corpus of the Russian Language. Preliminary results demonstrate that, unlike traditional written discourse, online communication allows its participants to use a wide range of English borrowings. In addition, online communication is a lot more varied in terms of orthography. An important characteristic of online discourse is spelling which is closer to pronunciation rather than to orthographic norms of the Russian language. Yet another trends are the development of new word meanings and formation of new constructions. Both formal and semantic features of online communication are signs of language play. Quite often the texts demonstrate the use of a set of features, and this fact confirms the idea that language play can be considered as one of the most important principles of online discourse organization.
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