Because Internet : Understanding the New Rules of Language


English language

Published Aug. 8, 2019 by Riverhead Books.


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5 stars (1 review)

A linguistically informed look at how our digital world is transforming the English language.

Language is humanity's most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive online communities spread new slang and jargon with dizzying speed. What's more, social media is a vast laboratory of unedited, unfiltered words where we can watch language evolve in real time.

Even the most absurd-looking slang has genuine patterns behind it. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer "LOL" or "lol," why ~sparkly tildes~ succeeded where centuries of proposals …

2 editions

a book that's enthusiastic about linguistics

5 stars

what I expected from this book was a lot of of explanations of online linguistic conventions, which honestly put me off from reading it for a long time, because I already know all that stuff.

now, there is a lot of that in this book, but the real reason I enjoyed it is because it draws connections between online language and the broader field of linguistics—connections which I'd made in some cases, but often hadn't. (for example there's a whole chapter about how emoticons and emoji are, essentially, gestures.)

basically it's just a fascinating (and, yeah, pretty fun) book to read if you're interested in language