Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Catching It in the Net: Some Lulzy Acronyms

Catching It in the Net: Some Lulzy Acronyms

Richard D.H. Bridges

As the internet rises to greater prominence in the social interactions of hundreds of millions of people worldwide it presents an interesting new venue for communication. Just as it has revolutionized the social landscape, so too has it changed the linguistic landscape as it has given rise to Netspeak. Like any other linguistic landscape, it requires further investigation. Jordan Lefler (2011) furthered this cause by demonstrating that lolspeak was systematic and not simply “spelling errors” as some would purport these varieties to be. These netspeaks, or perhaps a more general pattern of net speech, have provided English with no shortage of neologisms. Many of these have emerged in the form of acronyms and initialisms. However, few studies of these neologisms have focused on their interesting morphologies. This study seeks to rectify that situation. Using data pulled from a variety of corpora, internet forums, and multimedia websites, it provides a brief overview of two large varieties of netspeak. Central to its aim however it will demonstrate the active and ongoing integration of acronyms such as lol into an overarching morphological system. Furthermore it aims to connect these neologisms with other acronyms and initialisms previously existent in English such as ok. Through careful analysis of the environments that they emerge from, usages, and forms, this study should reveal a new emergent kind of acronym and initialism in addition to discussing any possible shared motivation in the emergence and transmission of these terms.

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April 6, 2015 - Posted by | abstract

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