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Your Ability to Can Even
February 24, 2014 9:48 PM   Subscribe

A Defense of Internet Linguistics --because "sometimes “AODEHwhddhwdwebw” is far more eloquent than saying “I’m so overtaken with emotion, I can barely type so I smashed the keyboard with my forehead.”

An exploration of the invasion of internet dialect into the everyday, and new horizons of communication as evidenced online.
posted by warm_planet (35 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
The article seems to be almost exclusively about using the verb modifier "can" as a full verb, as in "to can". Basically a wholly modal round-up.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:05 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


The first person to post in doge in this thread wins a shiny new shiv in the ribs.
posted by loquacious at 10:23 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


This.
posted by mochapickle at 10:29 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Previously on AskMe.
posted by Night_owl at 10:30 PM on February 24


Oh, to be like the author, just discovering the internet for the first time in 2014.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:40 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


e.e.cummings just rolled over.
posted by de at 10:49 PM on February 24


How could you possibly smash your forehead on a keyboard and have AO be the first two characters? Are they on Dvorak?
posted by mrjohnmuller at 10:51 PM on February 24 [7 favorites]


Maybe they just have a pointy head?
posted by loquacious at 10:53 PM on February 24


nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands i can't even
posted by Auden at 10:56 PM on February 24 [14 favorites]


Interesting article, though I wish he'd've got more into the actual linguistics rather than just defending the phenomenon. To me, the various aspects of internet speech, with their playfulness and expressiveness, make me wonder how many previous bits of language change sounded like that to their users. As linguists, we're generally restricted to dry descriptions of how syntax changed, but what did it feel like? The new ways of speaking probably just felt cooler.
posted by zompist at 11:10 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:18 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


How could you possibly smash your forehead on a keyboard and have AO be the first two characters?

Devil-horn implants. You know the type. He's also got a magnet in his knob.
posted by pracowity at 11:55 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


"The article seems to be almost exclusively about using the verb modifier "can" as a full verb, as in "to can". Basically a wholly modal round-up."

Did we read the same article? Did you not see that there was a second page?*

*Which as a feature is completely unnecessary in internet writing. One page, bloggers—we have the can!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:37 AM on February 25 [8 favorites]


Devil-horn implants. You know the type. He's also got a magnet in his knob.

Actually, I have two magnets in my knob.
posted by loquacious at 12:46 AM on February 25


Oh, to be like the author, just discovering the internet for the first time in 2014.

Much arch. Very condescension. Wow.

hey I won!

I only came across a lot of this language when I joined here, as I'd never really hung out much on the Internet before. It's still newish to some of us, o wise ones.

It pleases me how intuitive it is - I had trouble believing the author's friend thought "I have lost the ability to can" referred to "canning something". Seeing a new construct is a little thrill (just me?), partly because its fun to see language being played with and partly because of the feeling of "getting it" even when it's the first time you've seen it.
posted by billiebee at 1:24 AM on February 25 [6 favorites]


okay but what phrase do you use now when you are no longer able to put things into cans???? imagine the pain of losing the ability to preserve foodstuffs in such a way and when you try to tell your internet friends about your struggles they just think you're excited about benedict cumberbatch or something don't you see that this linguistic freedom has serious consequences you heartless bastards
posted by eykal at 2:15 AM on February 25 [5 favorites]


oh it's ok maybe you could use the word literally which was created for that purpose OH WAIT NO YOU CAN'T BECAUSE PEOPLE RUINED THAT TOO forget this i'm going back to speaking Latin they knew how to do things back then
posted by eykal at 2:17 AM on February 25 [5 favorites]


*shivs billiebee with shiny new stone-ground spoon*
posted by loquacious at 3:13 AM on February 25


Oh, to be like the author, just discovering the internet for the first time in 2014.

Oh, to be an undergraduate just realizing that all those little cliches your friends throw around contain implicit content one can unpack. (A quick google shows the author is a student at Georgetown.)

Interesting article, though I wish he'd've got more into the actual linguistics rather than just defending the phenomenon.

As far as I can tell, the author thinks the word "linguistics" means "usage", so oh well.
posted by aught at 5:03 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


How could you possibly smash your forehead on a keyboard and have AO be the first two characters?

Antennae. Or deely boppers.
posted by aught at 5:04 AM on February 25 [4 favorites]


I thought I was pretty conversant with Internet talk, but

It was in the way my friend said about her coworker’s incomprehensible desire to wake up at six in the morning to play golf: “what even though, you know?”

I'm 12 and what is this?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:50 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Someone has lost their Ability Toucan!
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:14 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Too early to English?
posted by Zalzidrax at 6:32 AM on February 25


what is this i don't even
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:54 AM on February 25


From the article:

it was the phrase that gave me pause. “I have lost all ability to can.” A playful riff on the more frequently used Internet expression: “I can’t even.”

....I actually think "I have lost all ability to even" would be more Internet-gramatically correct.

And if you'll excuse me, I need to go send some flowers to my 7th grade English teacher to apologize for having even had that thought.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on February 25 [9 favorites]


This article got me in the feels. It's true that there are things that LOLCATS, Doge, gifs, "I can't even", etc. are just better at expressing.
posted by bleep at 6:58 AM on February 25


I don't think these forms are necessarily better at expressing what they want to communicate. I think what they do is identify both the sender and receiver as insiders in a somewhat exclusive club...people who are "in the know".
The same thing happened in jazz culture, hippie and freak cultures, surfer culture and countless others.
posted by rocket88 at 7:16 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I don't think these forms are necessarily better at expressing what they want to communicate. I think what they do is identify both the sender and receiver as insiders in a somewhat exclusive club...people who are "in the know".
The same thing happened in jazz culture, hippie and freak cultures, surfer culture and countless others.


That's a bingo!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:22 AM on February 25


I admit that I have lost the ability to can haz cheesburger. Advancing age, I guess. . .
posted by rdone at 7:25 AM on February 25


Ask your doge if you are healthy enough to haz cheesburger. If you haz a cheesburger for more than four hours, call your lolcat.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:35 AM on February 25 [6 favorites]


That was my first reaction to that line as well, Empress. Pedantry is like a silent pandemic. It comes to us all in time.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:03 AM on February 25


Did we read the same article? Did you not see that there was a second page?

Actually, I did miss the second page. I will also commit almost any crime for the weakest of puns.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:36 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


This just in: "Languages change, but why?."

Film at eleven.
posted by mule98J at 9:59 AM on February 25


I don't mind when people use netisms online,(although I try to avoid using them myself) but people who say them out loud in real life get my goat, and my goat gets gotten enough as it is.
posted by jonmc at 10:05 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

It's 12 Fs. Do you even grammar?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:21 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


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