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August 8, 2014 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Are There Internet Dialects?
posted by Sticherbeast (48 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
No HAMBURGER
posted by Sys Rq at 1:14 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


JIFES?!!?
posted by Jpfed at 1:14 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]


Tweespeak is indeed groupthink.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 1:16 PM on August 8


internet dialect speaks hectically
posted by Namlit at 1:25 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


This was good. The punctuation with gifs (DO NOT TAKE THE DERAIL BAIT) definitely helped me pay attention. I think using gifs to punctuate and illustrate your point is itself a marker.

I find myself using phrases like "I can't even" and "Can't tell if serious" IRL and embedding the Triumphant Baby in emails and I'm always surprised when other people my age (30) don't know what I'm talking about. Or say something like "Awww cute baby". Didn't we all grow up online, and do everything online? Then I'm reminded that that's not the case, everyone else was off at the sump blowing things up and drinking beers at the mall while their parents didn't want them in the house between 2 and 10pm as per that other thread.
posted by bleep at 1:26 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Also the second half of the video is a whole big critical theory discussion of Frozen.
posted by bleep at 1:27 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


in the part of the internet I'm from, Triumphant Baby is called Success Kid.
posted by Poppa Bear at 1:49 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


I think he kind of glosses over just how important it is to avoid 4chan's /b if you want to keep your humanity.

Not that I avoid it.
posted by poe at 1:59 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


nope
posted by cj_ at 2:07 PM on August 8


One of my favorite bits of international internet slang is "šigidi", from speakers of South Slavic languages. What does it mean? Well, on 4chan, there was the meme of a greentexted "> I seriously hope you guys don't do this", which evolved into "> ISHYGDDT", which then evolved into various variations of "> shiggity diggity". Hence, eventually, in some tiny niches of the internet, "šigidi".
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:17 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


Is there a transcript? I can't stand watching that guy, he's too annoying.
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 2:26 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Interesting example of this. Right now there's a guy who's been streaming going by Singsing and he's been having an... effect on those that watch him

Basically, he uses certain phrases that people start to pick up. You can watch some of his games here and here, but here's a quick vocab list (test is on Monday)

awwwwh my gawwwwd = oh dear
we fookin lost = we are not doing well/ I made a mistake
we gucci = we good (not we handbag)
ez game ez life = we won
ez katka = easy game
no flamerino cappucino pleaserino

So you have a mini linguistic subculture forming out of a shared love for the game (no one would watch this guy if he wasn't good at Dota2) and the shared personality of the player. This is someone having fun doing something I like, and that fits well into a gaming subculture I already like.

And I think the main thing here is the sense of play. While dialects are usually taken on unselfconsciously, much of this is consciously choosing to communicate and present in a certain way because it's fun. This in turn is part of the reason why internet communities are unstable: 'I choose to move in when it pleases me', is understood as 'I can leave whenever I want'. As youtube talking head says, shared code, but with the interesting implicit understanding across the board that a) this won't last b) this isn't important and c) once this stops being entertaining I'll move on.

Other the key difference here is enforcement. Dialects exists and persist not just because of mimicry and integration (you can see that happening online) but with the implicit threat of 'this is the right way to talk'. Because internet speak is all about the wrong way to talk, there's both no deeper integration and also no threat of exclusion or other cost is you fail to follow, just your jokes won't catch on as much.

Rambling a little here, but just to say that I've always found it interesting both how quickly shared linguistic subcultures are formed online, and how quickly they disappear.
posted by litleozy at 2:33 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


>putting a space after the greater than sign
>implying
posted by Talez at 2:37 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Yeah, a transcript would be great.
posted by languagehat at 2:42 PM on August 8


Pop quiz: do you pronounce LOL as /loʊl/ ("lohl") or /lɑl/ ("lahl")?

Like Sticherbeast mentioned above, I too find the evolution of internet slang fascinated. The most interesting pronunciation transition to me is the "pics plz" -> "pix plz" -> "pix plx" -> "pix plox", showing that there's quite a bit of creativity going into making pronounceable forms out of typos, intentional or otherwise. We want to be able to pronounce the things we type, and there is an almost uncontrollable effort put forth to do so, constrained by underlying rules of language, and our own native tongue in particular as well.

Tangentially related to this video, I wrote a thesis paper in my senior year of Linguistics undergrad on vowel insertion of initialisms and acronyms to enable syllabification, for the express purpose of native American English-speakers borrowing internet-speak and bringing it into everyday spoken English. In layman's terms: exploring the rules behind English speakers shifting from pronouncing LOL as el-oh-el to a more commonplace /loʊl/ or /lɑl/.

Part of my paper was the aggregate data from asking research subjects *coughmyfriendscough* to look at slides of initialisms and acronyms and then pronounce them out loud while I recorded their pronunciations, which I then transcribed in IPA to see if there were any detectable patterns in their vowel insertions to make each word-form pronounceable as they saw fit to pronounce it. I would show them a PowerPoint presentation I had meticulously crafted to get them to pronounce ~80 different initialisms and acronyms, most of them real, some of them made up. The made-up ones followed similar constructed patterns to acronyms & initialisms I have heard in the wild. So they would see something like NASA and BRB*, then LCP and MRL.

My findings: There's no agreement about how to pronounce COBOL, LOL, ROFL, or any other acronym/initialism with a leading CV pair that ends in the letter O. It's heavily influenced by how you have heard others pronounce it, but there was a slight favoring of /ɑ/. (In my biased opinion, it's due to linguistic laziness, being an easier vowel sound to make with less effort. No pesky rounding of the lips!)

Everything else was very much regular, and rules could be extrapolated from the pronounced forms: 96%+ of all false acronyms/initialisms were pronounced the same by all test subjects, and everyone universally favored vowel insertion to create CVCC forms instead of CCVC forms, even where the first two consonants were common and naturally-occurring English consonant pairs. Short, unstressed vowels were the go-to, and only stressed vowels were utilized in very particular circumstances which I can't recall off the top of my head anymore.

All of my subjects spoke native American English, so there was no way for me to verify what I still to this day suspect: rules are borrowed from your native tongue(s) to inform how to handle vowel-less consonant clusters, and rules about syllable formation are heavily adhered to. Any initialism or abbreviation that arises from internet speaking has a mostly predictable greater or lesser chance of being fully adopted into spoken English depending on how well it adheres to consonant clusters that readily accept vowel insertion as demonstrated by my frien--... test subjects.

There aren't so many takeaways from this nearly as there are questions arising. How does internet-speak leaking into spoken English enable us to examine underlying linguistic rules? Where do the underlying rules fail, or never exist in the first place? In other words, where does cultural or common usage trump underlying rules, or take over entirely? Is it possible for a phonological rule to exist simply because someone decided one day that that's how that particular word is pronounced, and that's the form that was accepted by the wider speaking population?

* Surprisingly, there's a small population that pronounces this as "berb". Can't tell whether joking...
posted by Snacks at 2:50 PM on August 8 [23 favorites]


If lolcat and doge isn't a complete reimagining of English, nothing is.

Very dialect.
posted by maxsparber at 2:59 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


One other thought: the different valuations and approaches we give to spoken vs written language. Internet language = written and so artificial; dialect = spoken and so authentic
posted by litleozy at 3:00 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Hey has anyone attempted to write an entire novel in greentext yet? No?

brb capturing the zeitgeist
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:05 PM on August 8


I'm not a language expert, but I do think there are written dialects. As I recall, both Latin and Hebrew continued to evolve as primarily written languages after they had ceased to be spoken languages, and developed distinctly depending on who was using it, where, and for what purpose.

I have taken neither language for decades, though, so I may be misremembering.
posted by maxsparber at 3:06 PM on August 8


Greentexting is an interesting phenomenon, as it would appear to use a particular paralinguistic technique (">") to communicate things that the speaker is not "really" saying. Whether you're putting words in somebody's mouth or telling a greentext story, you're communicating in a way other than directly "speaking".
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:16 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


FFS, let's not beanplate this fpp too much. It's just a SLYT. A long derail caused by threadsitting will just lead to flameouts and folks buttoning until the mods have to bring down the banhammer and close the meta. Snowflakes inside.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:17 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]


That was too painful to watch more than a minute of so. I second the requests for a transcript.

Although it seems sort of obvious that yes there are dialects in different parts of the internet.
posted by mary8nne at 3:23 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The video about Frozen.
posted by divabat at 3:33 PM on August 8


BRB is totes 'berb'. What else would it be?
posted by TheJoven at 3:37 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:39 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


This is great; I am very much obsessed with different internet dialects. I've been wholly immersed in tumblr lately, which clearly has innumerous subcultures but there does seem to be a dominate tone. Not to mention the meta-linguistic function of tags. Taxonomy? Commentary? Punctuation? Inflection?

Perhaps it is having grown up on the interent, but tumblr-language seems so close to thought, to the way ideas actually tumble out of my brain like of course it's all lowercase run on sentences do people think linearly my brain bounces around half-formed thoughts and made-up words and grunts of feels and occasional outbursts like DUH why wouldn't you communicate like this???

i would read all the linguistics papers on tumblr-speak, someone please write them thx
posted by youarenothere at 3:40 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Sticherbeast: Greentexting is an interesting phenomenon...

I think that > usage in general is in the same vein as using quotes to signify spoken words, or italics to signify internal thought. They're all tools of narration for an event or moment, signifying what perspective you are being given. Greentexting allows the person describing the scene (or the atmosphere of the collective meme-tastic moment everyone is having) to do so in a removed third-person way, instead of the more common internal first-person. It allows the person doing the greentexting to give up control of the narrative and let others share in and participate in the formation of it, who can then greentext their own additions and continue the "story", as it were:

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold..."

vs

> be in the desert
> high as a kite
> SHIT SHIT BATS WTF

posted by Snacks at 3:40 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


On second reading, maybe a collectively-experienced scene? Not even a first-person or third-person, but a collective consciousness. Greentexting is designed for mutual manipulation, so soliciting the emotional participation of everyone else is part of the format, for sure.
posted by Snacks at 3:46 PM on August 8


like one of my favorite things is the use of questions marks on tumblr? like at first i hated it bc i thought it was just a reflection of uptalk?? but it really conveys like increased intensity of thought and additional confusion like all of a sudden the tonality is shifting and the volume is increasing you're like how come i can hear this text changing all of sudden just bc of question marks???
posted by youarenothere at 3:46 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Most of my internet-derived dialect derives from either cat memes or Metafilter. My big ones these days are "I forgot how to [noun]" and "This is relevant to your interests."
posted by matildaben at 3:55 PM on August 8


half-formed thoughts and made-up words and grunts of feels and occasional outbursts like DUH why wouldn't you communicate like this???

Because it shouldn't, generally speaking, be more difficult to read something than it was to write it?

(I was going to say "Because we're not 5," but that seems needlessly snarky.)

Obviously though I'm not the target demographic for that kind of thing- if your audience finds that it does something for them, that's great, more power to all of you. But I am glad that generally speaking people around here take the time to write more concisely, using grown-up words and everything.

Note that I am neither a prescriptivist nor the boss of you, so YMMV. And no, that doesn't have a pronunciation.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:18 PM on August 8


>>5676283
Stop putting spaces after the >.
posted by Talez at 5:01 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


BRB is totes 'berb'. What else would it be?

I read it, even in my head, as 'be right back'; I guess my brain finds it more reassuring that way. I may or may not have abandonment issues.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:13 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I've been thinking for a while about how I code-switch not at a function of community as much as of message. I'm not sure this is entirely unique - Dave Chappelle talked about speaking regular and "job interview" which was interesting that in the context of his job he would speak normally, but he still used "job interview" when dealing with the white men hiring and paying him. (There is also code switching that is much more community based, where one is concealing how one speaks casually; I'm explicitly not talking about that in this context.)

I have the long-form speech I use in serious posts on MetaFilter, but when I'm being more casual or humorous - even on MeFi - I use a series of verbal/written tics that I've picked up at various points, including humorous misspellings (rilly for really is one of my most common changes, but there are tons). Some are idiosyncratic - like "rilly" is a representation of how I hear myself saying really in casual contexts and I've never seen anyone else use it. Some are from long past cultures - I picked up and never put down "yo"and I am inordinately fond of the words "shizzle" and "nizzle" and anything ending in "izzle" when I am being goofy; both of these are hijacked from black culture of the 90s. Some are picked up from different internet cultures - I use "because NOUN" and "feels" which I picked up through podcasts and tumblr. I also pun like I'm 60 because GRANDPA, and speak semi-fluent Social Justice and Social Justice Troll.

I think there are many contexts in which this language is used as much as shibboleth as communication, but I also think it's become a way of adding expressiveness in a context where there isn't any non-verbal communication.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:33 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I ain'ts watching no YouTube video, give me text!

That said plenty of corners of the internet have/had their own slang, if not dialect proper. The rapidfire iterations on 4chan boards obvs, but also e.g. the Truth And Beauty Bombs forums (for Dinosaur Comics et al) were distinguished (for me) by the fact that a majority of posters seemed to adopt the attitude/speaking style of T-Rex.


TheJoven: BRB is totes 'berb'. What else would it be?

First (few) time(s) I came across it I interpreted as "berb" too, but as a sort of "parp" wind-breaking noise, intended as a "wah-wah-wahhhh" sad-trumpet punctuation to the conversation.
posted by comealongpole at 5:55 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


this dude is a poor man's ze frank
posted by youarenothere at 6:00 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Technology has been a great driver of internet dialects, whether it's LOLCat speak, or the visual language of Rage Comics. About 10 years ago, I found a really good example of a Japanese written dialect, I put a video of it on my blog. It's about gyarumoji, "girls letters."

Some subgroups of Japanese women use dense slang and other language tricks to make their communications incomprehensible to other people. One of the most ingenious was gyarumoji. Somehow it became fashionable to send text messages that used cryptic non-Japanese characters to simulate Japanese characters. This might only make sense to people who know Japanese, but take a look at it, it's funny. They take some printed examples of gyarumoji phrases and show them to people in the street, none of them have any idea what they mean.

This video is in Japanese, and will probably make more sense to people who have studied Japanese. For example, it may not be obvious that "gyaru moji" is a reference to "onna moji," which is an ancient form of women's cursive. Gyaru/Girl replaced onna/woman. That's so cute. And the intention of gyarumoji is to be cute. So a lot of this video takes place in a karaoke parlor, where the gyaru are all being cute for the camera.

Anyway, sorry about the low bandwidth encoding of this video, which makes it a little hard to read at times. I made this 10 years ago when I was trying to make these videos easily downloadable via 56k modems.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:03 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


One of the current stickied threads (archive link) on [s4s] (Shit 4chan Says), my favorite board on 4chan, is about the local dialect and standards of posting, which are kinder and more about fun than any other board. Here's the relevant bit:
2. try to use more privileged, nicer words such as
-f*g >>> -fig
f*ck >>> fug
sh*tposting >>> funposting
troll >>> master ruseman
lol >>> lel/toplel/topkek/kek
newf*g >>> fig newton
Note that the offensive part of the language is bowdlerized, in an effort to make the board more about fun, OC (original content), and getting repeating digits at the end of the number of your posts ("dubs") than being mean.

Other guidelines include
1. be nice to other posters, because, as le pink grill says "this is nice board".

4. please do not post lewd images on this board. we are family friendly and discourage any postings of it.

7. if anyone acts #rude and disobeys this guide, please show them to their correct boards, for example >>>/b/ if they post #lewd and say mean things, >>>/a/ or >>>/jp/ if they spam the board with anime like boku no skrillex, or >>>/newpol/ if they hate on nelson mandela or privilege. after responding to them like this, HIDE their threads, IGNORE their posts, and DO NOT REPLY to these people. (and report where necessary)
The user-generated consensus of community standards of good behavior has lead to more inclusive language, on 4chan of all places!
posted by Small Dollar at 7:09 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


> youtube man talking about tumblr dialect
> "simply cannot even"
> gif of boxxy
> all of my wat

mfw Talez complains about people adding a space after the >
posted by postcommunism at 9:05 PM on August 8


My findings: There's no agreement about how to pronounce COBOL ...

Umm, excuse the hell out of me?? There most certainly is, and has been for quite some time, regardless of what some upstart Internet know-nothings might think.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:05 PM on August 8


yeh, and if it wasn't pronounced that way, they probably would have thought of a different name for SNOBOL.
posted by hap_hazard at 9:28 PM on August 8


There's no agreement about how to pronounce COBOL

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:04 PM on August 8


BRB is totes 'berb'. What else would it be?

I could imagine:
brihb
bribe
buh-rih-buh
beerb
bribbuh
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:08 PM on August 8


Very helpful. Thank you. That video and this thread are like a night school Advanced Internet course for culture dropouts.

Reminds me that when I do a social media training next week for nonprofit org staff I should include the meta-linguistic hashtag. Which I hate.

Also: it's "bee ahr bee."
posted by univac at 1:21 AM on August 9


Is there a transcript? I can't stand watching that guy, he's too annoying.

I find him fascinating, those dead eyes in that bland face, slightly nasal voice and the overcompensating with the hands and the bobbing and moving from side to side.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:47 AM on August 9


> Hey has anyone attempted to write an entire novel in greentext yet? No?

I was on a writing forum a couple years ago (the name of which I can't remember) and greentexting was specifically recommended as a free-flowing way to push through a scene you were having trouble with. Funny thing was that although there was consensus about the usefulness of the exercise, no one in the thread could say why it was called greentexting. Apparently it had just been seen somewhere, understood, and repurposed.

(I didn't read the whole thread; I'm sure someone eventually chimed in with the origin.)
posted by postcommunism at 8:08 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


There was an established and agreed-upon pronunciation of COBOL in 1976 when I was dividing my time between a Beginner Computer Science class and the college radio station and I recorded a fake Public Service Announcement for a parody of the "American Cancer Society" - the "American COBOL Society" (as in "We want to find a cure for COBOL in your lifetime" and "here are the seven warning signs of COBOL".
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:36 PM on August 9


Pop quiz: do you pronounce LOL as /loʊl/ ("lohl") or /lɑl/ ("lahl")?

The latter, obvs.
posted by asnider at 9:48 PM on August 16


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