INTERNET MEMES AND THEIR SOCIO-LINGUISTIC FEATURES

Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska, Elena Shalevska

Abstract


Social networks’ users as well as Internet portals, forums, web-pages, blogs etc. have developed their own unique communicational system that might seem incomprehensible to people above a certain age, with little to no internet presence. These systems enables them to communicate freely their ideas, thoughts, jokes, funny anecdotes as well as their critiques towards their societies and political leaders in a much more creative way than the traditional. This Internet-communicational system mostly relies on the usage of emoticons, GIFs and memes. This paper will focus on the memes as one of the internet communication phenomena and their specific socio-linguistic features that make them vastly interesting to both linguists and sociologists. Memes, as defined, are part of the online culture; mostly jokes, that are presented through mediums such as image+text or GIF+text combinations or just plain text and are spread virally on all Internet-based platforms, changing along the way. This paper will only focus on memes that are a blend of a certain image and a piece of written text, as they are the most popular category. Apart from the references, they contain and the age-group they usually target, in their textual part, memes contain many features that are extremely interesting from linguistics’ point of view. Memes use vernacular English, phrases from specific English dialects, puns and punning riddles, jargon, slang, shortenings and neologisms as well as patterned way of incorrect spelling and multiple, intentional or unintentional grammar and syntax mistakes. Nowadays, memes are also created in Macedonian. Memes in Macedonian, for the most part, share the linguistic and sociological skills as the memes originally created in English, though they contain other language features characteristic for the Macedonian language only. All of these features make memes a very complex, yet very useful and creative internet communicational tool that, in the recent years, has grabbed the intention of many scholars.

 

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memes, language, socio-linguistic features, English and Macedonian

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References


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