Internet linguistics

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This "article" is a poorly-written but real thesis paper based on regurgitated memes that have been repeated so much they are unfunny. The author is simultaneously lazy and missing the point. Memes aren't made to be analyzed and picked apart, they are supposed to be fun.

It is very TL;DR and uses citations constantly in the place of actual thought. Such laziness is to be expected by a millenial who also has Girl on the Internet Syndrome. This article is over 33 pages long including appendices. You have been warned.

To spare your sanity all citations have been converted into hover-overs marked by being undlerlined. Attempts have been made to link relevant articles but we seriously doubt you'll finish this page so we're not sure why we even bothered. We also have made some attempts to add humor via the addition of various images and better memes than the ones the author crapped out. If you need to go back to the top click the kitteh on the left hand side.

Now, on with the rest of the "article".


Backtotop cat.jpg


Such LOLspeak.So analysis. Wow.
A comparative analysis of LOLspeak and dogespeak


Bachelor’s Thesis
General Linguistics
Department of Modern Languages
University of Helsinki
April 2016


Introduction[edit]

The next 33 pages of text are based on this image...
...and this image.

In this thesis I will describe two English-based Internet languages, LOLspeak and dogespeak, and analyze and compare them according to their distinctive features. The aim is to show how these Internet languages vary from each other and explain why they cannot be used interchangeably.

LOLspeak is the Internet language derived from captions of certain cat images found on different online forums. The cat images were originally a humorous hobby of Internet users but they developed into a website called I Can Has Cheezburger, where users could send various cat pictures and communicate with the language depicted in the images. The language plays with spelling conventions and morphology of English. Dogespeak also has its origins in text found in humorous pictures, but of a certain breed of dog. These pictures are usually referred to as doge memes and the language in them consists of short phrases and it plays mostly with grammar.

Internet languages are typically viewed as something completely random, even though they are not just a mix of words and expressions. Both of these languages have their own grammar rules and they can be clearly violated, so in a way LOLspeak and dogespeak behave like natural languages. Some linguists have re-searched LOLspeak and its characteristics, but there have not been any academic attempts to describe and compare both LOLspeak and dogespeak. Because these Internet languages showcase a lot of interesting features, they should definitely be analyzed properly, and that is what I intend to do in this thesis.

I base my analysis on the data collected from two different sources. For LOLspeak, I work with materials from the LOLcat Bible Project which is a wiki-based collaboration for translating the Bible in LOLspeak. Following Gawne &Vaughan (2011), I use the LOLcat Bible as my source since its content is not as limited as the original image macros. Therefore it represents the core elements of LOLspeak and is suitable for my comparative analysis. For dogespeak, I use the Doge Corpus from The League of Nerds website which was published in 2014.The corpus is a collection of dogespeak captions found in the first hundred images when searched for doge on Imgur on February 23, 2014.}}

The theoretical background of this thesis is largely based on the concept of language play and the field of Internet linguistics. The Internet is changing our language use in many different ways and Internet linguistics helps us to understand how and why these changes are happening. The effect that the Internet has on our daily language use is clearly visible, and therefore linguists have already studied different phenomena, such as languages found in emails, chat rooms and instant messages. However, there have not been any substantial studies made about languages developed by Internet users, so I will present my analysis on possibly the two most recognizable Internet languages currently used. Since the field and its phenomena are relatively new, any kind of {{Hover|linguistic description would be of interest|David Crystal, personal communication, August 1, 2015]]. As a child of the 1990s, I have grown up with the technology revolution and seen some amazing things happen online, and I felt privileged to be a part of it all. Even the tiniest details of the Internet’s fascinating features have shown me and millions of others how people can play with languages, and even invent new ones.

In the beginning of this thesis I will introduce the theoretical background (section 2) for my analysis. I will explain what Internet linguistics is all about,and also concentrate on describing Internet languages and the concept of language play. After the theoretical part I will introduce both LOLspeak (section4) and dogespeak (section 5) by establishing their origins and then portraying their grammatical features with examples from the appendices. Based on these findings I will conduct a comparative analysis of these languages (section 6) and end this thesis with an analytical discussion (section 7) and a conclusion (section 8). The appendices at the end of this thesis include the data for LOLspeak (Appendix A) and dogespeak (Appendix B).

Theoretical background[edit]

Since the Internet and its online communities is a rather new phenomenon, the subject has been approached by linguists only recently. Being able to find suitable theoretical material for this thesis turned out to be quite problematic. Essentially,there are only two books written about the languages on the Internet and about the actual field of study focusing on investigating these languages: Language and the Internet (2006) and Internet linguistics: a student guide (2011). Both of these books are written by the British linguist David Crystal and they served as the main sources for the theoretical background of my thesis.

In addition, I wanted to link the Internet languages in question to the concept of language play. Language play is the manipulation of languages, almost in any imaginable manner. It can result in humorous rhymes and sounds, modified words and meanings and even distinctive play languages, for example Pig Latin. BothLOLspeak and dogespeak play with the rules of English so their manipulation can be defined as “the manipulation of the linguistic system for play”. In the following sections I will introduce the theoretical materials used in this thesis more thoroughly.

Internet linguistics[edit]

An Internet Linguist.

Internet linguistics is the study of the languages used on the Internet. It is one of the newest fields of study within linguistics and research in it involves finding out what is happening on the Internet linguistically and how the Internet is affecting our language use. The effects might include features we do not even consider coming from the Internet, for example the use of certain acronyms. One the of goals of Internet linguistics is to describe how language is used in new and interesting ways on the Internet. For example, it helps us understand how languages work on this new communication platform, and also how grammar and vocabulary can be manipulated to suit this new domain.

A key figure in this field is the well-known British linguist David Crystal. He understands the enormous potential which the Internet has as a massive resource for linguists and is keen to explore its possibilities. Nevertheless, as a field Internet linguistics is quite recent so there has not been a lot of research about languages used on the Internet. The problems in the published studies lie in the ever-changing characteristics of the Internet: The information presented may already be outdated at the time of the publication. Crystal predicts that future studies about the Internet will relate to several linguistic subfields, ranging from syntax to psycholinguistics.

During the late 20th century and the early 21st century, the Internet became a“global medium” and an essential part of our daily lives. Crystal notes that the Internet provides new ways to express ourselves with different languages, and that has led to interesting unique phenomena. After this so called Internet revolution, linguists have realized its excessive possibilities: The research opportunities might be endless because of the continuous nature of the Internet,meaning that the Internet could be defined as a renewable information database.

Internet language[edit]

   
 
Language is at the heart of the Internet [...]
 

 
 

—Crystal, 2006: 271

The new frontier of linguistics despite being over 20 years old.
There are actually more than two languages in this article. Learn to count.
Internet Linguists hard at work.

  Whether you call it Internet slang, Internet language or Internet speak, this new phenomenon is a significant part of the Internet and its new developments. In this thesis I decided to use the term Internet language, since the word “language” refers to a system of communicating thoughts and feelings and that is exactly what many Internet users want to do with these varieties. With these concepts I’m referring to the language of Internet users who want to express their feelings, thoughts and experiences in more suitable ways than before and for this purpose, they have created entirely new vocabulary and terminology. They are under a lot of pressure as they have to adapt their language and keep up-to-date due to the demanding new situation son the Internet (Crystal 2006: 257). However, it is clear that Internet language,with its new words and phrases, is able to spread quickly and effortlessly mainly through informal Internet forums and image boards, such as 4chan, Reddit and Tumblr.

Crystal(2006: 20) defines Internet language as “a type of language displaying features that are unique to the Internet”. Yet it is difficult to describe this type of language within certain ready-made parameters because of its diverse and varying nature. So since it is the sum of many different qualities and expressions, it is not possible to describe just one characteristic of Internet language. In comparison,there are a few distinct features between languages found in emails, chat groups,  instant messages and also in social media. These types of languages have been studied intensely (for example by Baron 2008 and Thurlow & Mroczek 2011) but the languages created by different subcultures of the Internet has not produced lot of research.

Internet language is a form of language play and conscious breaking of gram-mar rules. Notably, it is more than just acronyms (for example LOL, “laughing out loud”) because it is a formation of language patterns which users can adopt repeatedly for their own purposes.The key features include intentional spelling mistakes in whatever form. One of the most well-known typing mistakes is the deliberate misspelling of the English definite article “the”, written as teh  which has its origins in different message boards and in the world of online gaming. Also essential to this form of language is phonetic translation which means representing aword or a part of a word with a single letter or number, like this:

  • b4 (before)
  • 2  (to/too)
  • gr8  (great).

A famous sublanguage is called  Leetspeak , or betterknown as 1337speak , and it is based entirely on phonetic translations. Nowadays one of the most recognized features of Internet language is the over-flowing use of “Internet idioms” which are so called colloquial catch phrases. The understanding of these idioms is quite difficult because of their ungrammaticality and their specific reference to the Internet. For example, to be able to under-stand the idiom I can’t even, you must know how it is used and be able to ignore its ungrammatical nature.

Despite the fact that these catch phrases are being coined somewhat irregularly, the most captivating ones continue their lives on the Internet..The Internet languages described in this section are all based on English, as are the two languages analysed in this thesis. Obviously there are a lot of different languages used on the Internet, and the aforementioned features do not depict every Internet language out there. LOLspeak, dogespeak and other humorous language variations are mainly used in certain specific speech communities around the Internet.Leet is derived from the English word “elite” and it is used as an adjective to describe the superior skills of other players. These speech communities exist in several informal Internet forums where users can play with these languages in every imaginable way.

When talking about Internet language and about the different types of catchphrases it has produced, the concept of Internet memes is an important feature. The term meme was originally coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. He wrote in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene about the gene-centred view of evolution. He explained that various aspects of human culture replicate like genes, and that these units are being transmitted throughout our culture. Dawkins wanted to find a suitable term for this unit of culture, and he chose the word meme, which is an abbreviation from the Greek word “mimeme”, meaning an ‘imitated thing’. In his view memes can be anything from ideas and catch phrases to other products of culture. Currently, the concept of meme is used when referring specifically to a certain viral phenomenon. At first Internet memes were mostly image macros, which are captioned pictures with a humorous message or a catch phrase. Recent developments have broadened the concept of Internet memes and so now in addition to images, it can also refer to GIFs,certain catch phrases, single words and even some songs.

Language play[edit]

Generally language play refers to “the manipulation of elements and components of language”. Sherzer also points out how language play can occur at every level of language, so therefore these manipulations can be almost anything imaginable from spelling alterations to semantic changes. With these manipulations we are making languages behave in totally new, almost obscure ways, and like Crystal mentions, language play is also “a source of enjoyment”. As this thesis will later specify, both LOLspeak and dogespeak areplayful variations of the English language. This amusing language manipulation is exactly how Internet languages can be interpreted as types of language play. These two Internet languages in question play especially with the rules of English in order to acquire their humorous characteristics.

People have been playing with languages for a long time, but the Internet has served as a great platform for developing new ways of manipulation. Cook describes the function of language as “distinguishing between those who are in and those who are out”. That is exactly what Internet languages areal about. Several users adopted the language depicted in the captions of images,and started experimenting with it. By this language play users found means to express themselves in a way others could not. So in a way, manipulating the linguistic system of English was not only for the amusement of Internet users,but it had a greater function: To bring them together.

Description of the data[edit]

She should have used the Manga Bible.
At least she didn't pick the book of desu, desu.

As there is almost an endless resource of suitable material for my thesis on the Internet, I had to make sure I would choose the most appropriate ones. The material should have to be easily accessed and most of all, it should have to represent the language phenomena in question in an understandable way and include all kinds of variations.

For the representation of LOLspeak, I am using the LOLcat Bible Project which is a wiki-based collaboration of several users. The project started in 2007and its main goal was to translate the entire Bible into LOLspeak. After several years it succeeded in translating most of the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. One of the main reasons why I settled upon this Bible as my main source of material is the fact that since it is a collaborative effort from many different users, it is the most acceptable representation of LOLspeak. The online wiki page has even got common guidelines in order to keep the style of the LOLcat Bible consistent. Like Gawne & Vaughan state, “the LOLcat Biblerepresents the most agreed-upon example of what LOLspeak is”.

Since using the entire Bible as my source material would be too excessive, I decided to narrow my data including only Chapter 1 from the book of Genesis. It can be considered as one of the most well-known parts of the Bible and therefore the structure and the style could be easily compared to the LOLspeak version. As for dogespeak, I was able to find an online Doge Corpus from a website called The League of Nerds and was granted permission to use it in my thesis. The corpus was compiled by Leah Nodar, who is the “Language Nerd” on the site, and it consists of the most popular search results for “doge” on the image sharing platform Imgur. The collected data is from the first 100 doge macros which is a sufficient amount in order to give a proper linguistic description of the different features of this particular Internet phenomenon.

Agreeing with Nodar, I did not see any reason to include all the “wow” interjections from the images in the corpus. In addition I have also deleted the “other” category from the corpus which included all the other words found in the doge images, mostly consisting of random words connected to the original theme of the picture. I find that the words from this category are not relevant in my analysis of dogespeak since I am mainly interested in the peculiarities of its grammar.

With appropriate examples from this extensive material I will be able to identify and represent all the essential grammatical elements of these two languages. The materials will also help me pinpoint different facts and support the comparative analysis. Both Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis from the LOLcat Bible and the Doge Corpus can be found as appendices in this thesis.

The language of LOLspeak[edit]

As a language, LOLspeak is quite unique. It can be categorized as ungrammatical but like Gawne & Vaughan (2011) specify, that does not mean the users do not know how to use English. The ungrammaticality is a result of playing with the rules of English, and these manipulations appear at every linguistic level. The following sections will give a proper description of LOLspeak’s history, and also represent its grammatical features.

The origins of LOLspeak and LOLcats[edit]

It is generally thought that LOLspeak is nothing but an inadequate version of English: There is no regularity in it and it is just full of grammatical errors. If LOLspeak is considered to be totally random, how is it then possible for different users, who are making the pictures and commenting on them, to decide what incorrect or incorrect use of LOLspeak? Like the users of any other language, the users of LOLspeak follow its consistent grammatical constructions which were formed during the rise of the LOLcats. Therefore it is possible to get LOLspeak wrong if you are not following its conventions.

The grammar of LOLspeak[edit]

In the following sections I will describe the various grammatical features of LOL-speak by using examples from Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis from the LOLcatBible (see Appendix A). Because the amount of diverse features is quite extensive, I will only concentrate on the most salient features which are suitable within the constraints of this thesis.

Spelling conventions[edit]

How Caturday started

As mentioned in section 2 above, one essential feature of this type of Internetlanguage is intentional spelling mistakes. It is a recognizable characteristic alsoin LOLspeak which plays with misspellings. These mistakes are mainly familiarfrom the world of online gaming. Perhaps the most well-known is the deliberatemisspelling of the English definite article “the”, and it is also widely used inLOLspeak:

(1) Genesis 01:04 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.

With its tongue-in-cheek spirit, LOLspeak has also broadened the use of “teh”into other words containing that particular sequence of letters, such as “tehy” for ‘they’, and “otehr” for ‘other’. The use of phonetic translation (described in section 2) is also quite frequent in LOLspeak, LOLspeak derived from the language used in the captions of humorous image macros portraying cats. But where and when did the images actually come from, and how did those images create a language of its own? There is a lot of different opinions about the origins of these comical cat images because of the ever-changing nature of the Internet.

One way or another, someone posted a picture of a cat with the caption “I Can Has Cheezburger?” on 4chan. Users found it entertaining and started to make their own images with cats and captions, eventually developing into a phenomenon called “Caturday”, which meant posting funny image macros of cats on 4chan on Saturdays. Because the pictures made people laugh, they were named LOLcats. Figure 1 below represents the famous picture which is considered to be the very first LOL-cat picture.

Original I can has Cheezburger.jpg

From there onwards, the cat images started to live a life of their own and the Internet became filled with them. Eventually, in 2007, an entire website dedicated to creating and sharing LOLcats was created, adequately named after the aforementioned image, www.icanhascheezburger.com . On that site the language of the image macros was shaped into its present form, and it was even adopted by users when they were commentingon different pictures. The language came to be known as LOLspeak, and around the time the ICHC site was created, the LOLcat Bible Project was also initiated.

It is generally thought that LOLspeak is nothing but an inadequate version of English: There is no regularity in it and it is just full of grammatical errors. If LOLspeak is considered to be totally random, how is it then possible for different users, who are making the pictures and commenting on them, to decide what incorrect or incorrect use of LOLspeak? Like the users of any other language, the users of LOLspeak follow its consistent grammatical constructions which were formed during the rise of the LOLcats. Therefore it is possible to get LOLspeak wrong if you are not following its conventions.

The grammar of LOLspeak[edit]

In the following sections I will describe the various grammatical features of LOL-speak by using examples from Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis from the LOLcatBible (see Appendix A). Because the amount of diverse features is quite extensive, I will only concentrate on the most salient features which are suitable within the constraints of this thesis.

Spelling conventions[edit]

The Creation of Man.

As mentioned in section 2 above, one essential feature of this type of Internet language is intentional spelling mistakes. It is a recognizable characteristic also in LOLspeak which plays with misspellings. These mistakes are mainly familiar from the world of online gaming. Perhaps the most well-known is the deliberate misspelling of the English definite article “the”, and it is also widely used in LOLspeak:

Genesis 01:04 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.

With its tongue-in-cheek spirit, LOLspeak has also broadened the use of “teh” into other words containing that particular sequence of letters, such as “tehy” for ‘they’, and “otehr” for ‘other’. The use of phonetic translation (described in section 2) is also quite frequent in LOLspeak. such as “funny bibel naim ceiling”, meaning ‘for’, and “im in ur waterz making a ceiling, meaning ‘your’.

Other elements, likewise derived from online gaming languages, are the verb-like word “pwn” and the replacement of the letter “o” with the numeral “0”.“Pwn” evolved from the verb “own”, which is widely used in the Internet sub-language Leetspeak to mean the domination or humiliation of others. In LOLspeak both of these elements can either appear separately or combined, like in “An let min p0wnz0r becuz tehy hascan openers”. Although these two elements cannot be described as typographical errors, they are broadly used in LOLspeak (Gawne & Vaughan2011).

A specific spelling convention which can be considered to be used fairly regularly, is the use of “z” as a suffix when denoting plurals or 3rd person singular markers (see below). Here the orthography is adapted to depict the phonetic representation:

Genesis 01:01: teh skiez
Genesis 01:02: teh waterz
Genesis 01:12: letz there be weedz

Morphology[edit]

Day and night in harmony.
This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a MEOW.

The best way to describe LOLspeak morphologically is to examine its verbal constructions. With straightforward examples, I will be showing how tense marking and person agreement are formulated in this language. The differences in tense marking are clearly visible in the over-use of the weak verbs’ past tense suffix”-ed”. Usually this involves adding the regular suffix into strong verbs:

Genesis 01:05: An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day an dark no Day.
Genesis 01:07: An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up.
Genesis 01:25: An Ceiling Cat doed moar living stuff, mooes, An creepies, An otehr animuls, An did not eated tehm.

In addition to this kind of tense marking, there can also be sentences with doublemarking of the past tense, like in the example 3c above (did not eated tehm), and also an extreme version of tense marking, such as “So Ceiling Cat createded the peeps taht waz like him”. The only constructions which do not get the past tense suffix are copulas.

The other typical morphological feature of LOLspeak is the irregular occurence of person agreement in the present tense between nouns and verbs. Essentially in LOLspeak, this means that the 3rd person verbsuffix “-s” is used extensively with other persons. In Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis in the LOLcat Bible, the irregular person agreement appears mostly with1st person singular and 3rd person plural forms:

a. Genesis 01:03: An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite?
Genesis 01:18: An tehy rulez day An night.
Genesis 01:26: An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte, An let min p0wnz0r becuz tehy has can openers.
Genesis 01:29: An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, the Urfs, I has it, An I has not eated it.

Whereas the regular past tense does not expand to copulas, the irregular person agreement does:

Genesis 01:05: It were FURST!!!1
Genesis 01:15: It happen, lights everwear, like christmass, srsly.

Syntax[edit]

If she really knew her memes she would have mentioned Star Wars by now...

Together with spelling conventions and morphology, some of the syntactic qualities of LOLspeak showcase the playful spirit of this language, even though there are not that many specific syntactic variations in LOLspeak. Nevertheless, the syntax of questions and negation in sentences are interesting features to analyse.What separates LOLspeak question clauses from English is the absence of subject-auxiliary inversion in the sentence structure:

Genesis 01:03: An Ceilin Cat sayz, i can haz lite?

This type of construction, whether in questions or not, has become one of the most recognized forms of LOLspeak clauses, also due to the name of the website “I can has cheezburger”. It occurs repeatedly throughout the material, always in the pattern I can has X , as in “i can has teh firmmint” or “i canhas lightz in the skiez”.

Other popular phrasal patterns include Do (not) want X and I am in your X, Ying your Zs, which has its origins in Leetspeak. Both of these phrases can be found in the LOLcat Bible:

Genesis 01:09: An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet.
Genesis 01:11 An Ceiling Cat sayed, DO WANT grass!
Genesis 01:06: im in ur waterz making a ceiling.

The language of dogespeak[edit]

Such transvestite. Very transexual. Wow.

LOLspeak is a language which plays with spelling conventions and morphology, but dogespeak is something quite different. The entire core of its playfulness comes from the manipulation of grammar. The following sections will portray the circumstances behind dogespeak’s birth and also showcase how it actually plays with grammar.

The origins of dogespeak and doge[edit]

If the origins of LOLcats were quite unclear due to several different versions found online, the same cannot be said about doge and the language of dogespeak. Much like LOLspeak, dogespeak is the language derived from short captions in certain types of images. These image macros of a Shiba Inu dog went viral after a rather bizarre chain of events. A Japanese kindergarten teacher called Sato adopted a dog in 2008 and soon afterwards started to write a pet blog, in which she posted cute pictures of her various pets. One of these pictures would be the future face of doge memes.

As a word, doge was coined well before it came to refer this certain Shiba Inu. On Reddit, doge related to silly dog images in general. However, in 2013, asavvy Internet user found the picture of Sato’s dog and posted it on Reddit with humorous short captions. This was the beginning of the most recognizable doge phenomenon, and it soon started to portray the entire meme. This incident is a great example of the irrational and entertaining nature of the Internet.. Figure 2 below represents a typical doge meme with colourful captions and doge phrases.

Doge language.jpg

From Reddit onwards, doge spread like wildfire. It became hugely popular on the Internet, and like LOLcats, the doge macros started to live a life of their own. Countless images were generated and dogespeak became the kind of Internet language everyone could use, very much like LOLspeak.

The grammar of dogespeak[edit]

Wow. Such formal. Much grammar, very manipulate.
You are on page 18 of this crap. 15 more pages to go!

A typical doge meme includes the picture of a Shiba Inu dog with several short captions and the interjection “wow”. Basically, these memes can be about any-thing imaginable and they certainly have their own peculiar characteristics. So inthe following sections I will describe some features of dogespeak by using the material in the Doge Corpus (see Appendix B). Unlike the data for LOLspeak, the analysed material for dogespeak is not a coherent piece of prose, but consisting of short phrases.

Spelling conventions[edit]

Like LOLspeak and other Internet languages, also dogespeak plays with intentional spelling mistakes. The misspellings are usually deletions of letters, changes to vowel sounds or the use of phonetic translation:

such talentz
such flowers 4 u
such fashun
so powirful
very truble

What makes doge interesting, is the fact that it does not rely the amusing effects on the spelling mistakes. They can be considered as an added bonus, since using them might make the meme even funnier. This means that the typical language found in doge images creates its humorous effects with other methods.


Syntax[edit]

Wow. Such tent. Very winter. Much savings.

Syntax is the most important part of grammar when describing doge because its syntactic elements make dogespeak what it is. There are certain ungrammatical phrasal patterns which show how dogespeak plays with syntax. These phrases are usually either two-word or three-word phrases, beginning with such, much, so very or many.

Then what makes these phrases so special and distinctively doge? The secret lies in the grammatical modifications of selectional restriction in these phrases. Selectional restriction refers to the “compatibility or combinability of words”. Essentially, different words allow only words with certain semantic features to co-occur with them. For example, the verb “drink”requires an animate subject and a liquid object }(Brinton & Brinton 2010: 175). The ungrammatical nature of dogespeak comes from the severe alternations to word restrictions. All five doge modifiers are used with specific word types but in doge memes, those rules do not apply. First of all, none of them are considered typically to be modifiers for verbs in English. Therefore they are used to modify verbs in dogespeak:

a. very intimidate
b. many hurt
c. so celebrate
d. much watch
e. such jump

This is an example of the somewhat confusing but interesting grammar of doge-speak. The modifiers much and many both refer to a large amount, “much” portraying masses without a definite shape and “many” indicating countable items. However, in dogespeak these two modifiers reverse their meanings:

a. much monitor
b. much cake
c. many hurt
d. many luvs

Both so and very are usually combined with adjectives, but in doge they can modify almost anything else within the theme of the meme:

a. very dig
b. very sadness
c. so talking
d. so emotion

The final doge modifier is a more complex case. Generally such is used to-gether with noun phrases where it modifies the entire phrase, like in “such a delicious wine” . In dogespeak it has obtained a more diverse means of usage since it can refer to both nouns and adjectives in any kind of situation:

such flirting
such winter
such hard
such big


Comparative analysis[edit]

This section compares Cat People Speak...
and dog people speak...
by repeating crap she already said and showing off her shitty memes to boost the page count.

The previous sections described what both of these Internet languages are like. The focus of this thesis is also on comparing the two languages: what makes themsimilar or substantially different. If both LOLspeak and dogespeak were just a random mix of words and phrases which originated in the minds of Internet users,they could be used interchangeably. LOLcat phrases could be put to doge images and vice versa. However, this is not the case. Because both of these languages can be used incorrectly, that indicates that there is grammar in both of them. In addition to analysing these languages, I can showcase their distinctive features by comparing LOLspeak and dogespeak.

Like mentioned above, the essence of these Internet languages is their playful way of manipulating the English language. Internet users want to be able toexpress their ideas in completely new ways, and that has led to these modern additions to Internet culture. So both LOLspeak and dogespeak base their bizarre characteristics on manipulating English, but they do it with different techniques.

LOLspeak plays primarily with spelling, and not just with grammar. Struc-turally, it is a lot like English with complete sentences and correct word order:You rarely see a LOLspeak sentence without a subject or a predicate. Like demonstrated in section 4, LOLspeak tends to be quite complex due to its manipulation of morphemes and words. Compared to LOLspeak, dogespeak does not play just with spelling. It mixes up the grammar, playing especially with selectional restriction. Dogespeak is constructed mostly with two-word or three-word phrases combined with the interjection “wow”. If someone used a complete sentence in a doge meme, it would be considered incorrect because it violates the specific dogerules. These structural differences are clearly visible in the appendices:

Genesis 01:04: An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.
such cold. so ice. very truble.

In 13b I made three two-word doge phrases from the corpus material which could be used together in a doge image involving a specific theme, for example winter.

Despite the structural differences, both LOLspeak and dogespeak can be analysed as having distinct phrasal patterns. LOLspeak has at least three specific pat-terns (I can has X; Do want X; I am in your X, Ying your Zs) which occur quite often, not just in the LOLcat Bible, but also in LOLcat images and all around ICHC-forums. Obviously these kind of phrasal patterns are shorter in dogespeak. The templates begin with one of the doge modifiers (very, such, so, much and many) and they only take one or two words as their arguments. Whereas LOLspeak patterns are not obligatory elements when writing in LOLspeak, the corresponding dogespeak patterns are the entire gist of dogelike communication.

Because both of these languages are the result of experienced Internet users putting their wittiness to work, it is inevitable that they both have common features with other, older Internet languages. Parts of the lexicons and even some spelling conventions derive from an Internet sublanguage called Leetspeak,and also from the world of online gaming. While LOLspeak tends to embrace these features and uses them quite often, dogespeak does not. The Leetspeak elements can be found in some doge memes, but it does not base its humour solely on them. The different spelling variations can be seen as comical extra effects in dogespeak, but as important parts of how LOLspeak is constructed.

Even though these phenomena are two totally different languages and they have their own concepts, it is interesting that they both evolved in a similar manner. They originated as image macros containing amusing text captions. At first,they were written only in certain types of images, but eventually both LOLspeak and dogespeak started to appear in totally new situations. Essentially, LOLspeak developed into a proper language which could be used to write anything imaginable, for example the LOLcat Bible, and dogespeak is clearly recognized as dogespeak even without pictures of a specific breed of dog, as Figure 3 below points out.

Figure 3: A picture with doge captions.
Itallian doge.jpg

Figure 3 is a great example of the way users have expanded dogespeak’s original phrasal structures to correspond to new humorous image macros.

Even though some might categorize these languages as ridiculous Internet jokes which can mix up constructions, that is not the case. Both LOLspeak and dogespeak have evolved in the same way but because of their peculiar grammars, these two languages cannot be used interchangeably. In addition to this, there can also beincorrect use of the language itself. For example, if written wrong, dogespeak might not be ungrammatical enough.

The following is an example of a post on Facebook :

A: Doge is a rescue dog. Much respect. So noble. Wow.
B: Your dogeing is too coherent. “Much noble, so respect”.

This small example supports the view that these types of Internet languages actually have grammatical rules and it also shows how users are not afraid to correct one another.

Discussion[edit]

It took over 20 pages to say "Lolspeak and Dogespeak are nothing alike" and that "nobody speaks them IRL"? Fail.
To answer why Lolspeak and doge are things: "lulz", "booze", and/or "weed".

As no one has compared LOLspeak and dogespeak before, at least not in an academic thesis, it seemed like there was a need for this kind of approach. The comparative analysis was relatively straightforward to compose, mostly because of the diverse materials I was able to find and use. The research portrayed how both LOLspeak and dogespeak have a lot of interesting and even surprising features. This thesis also showcased how it is possible to play with languages and eventually express feelings and ideas in totally new ways. Therefore these manipulations were at the core of the analysis. Even though it was quite easy to compare these Internet languages, I would have needed two languages which are both structurally close to English if I had wanted a more complex analysis with sentence-to-sentence comparison. However, since dogespeak has a different structure altogether, an extensive analysis could not be made. I had to concentrate onthe most important features and use them as the core elements of this analysis. Therefore, it can be questioned if the comparisons are fully adaptable.

Usually people have the assumption that because LOLspeak and dogespeak manipulate English in different ways, they do not have anything in common. While my analysis supported that view in some ways, it also illustrated that there are some features in both of them which are actually quite similar. Firstly,parts of their lexicons can be considered identical because both languages have their origins in Internet forums and image boards which attract similar types of users. Secondly, they both developed somewhat identically: Someone posted a picture of a pet with humorous text captions and the images started to spread on the Internet. The language depicted in the images intrigued numerous users and they started to experiment with it. Finally, and possibly most interestingly,both of these languages have constructed their own grammatical rules without someone actually writing a grammar of LOLspeak or dogespeak. It almost seems like these specific rules are generated implicitly through usage in the minds of the users who interact and use these languages, since they know what is considered incorrect language use. Developing and behaving in this manner makes these Internet languages resemble natural languages, despite the fact that they are not used orally.

Of course it is hard to explain the exact reasons why these Internet languages are somewhat similar but also showcase differences. One possible explanation could be the timeline: LOLspeak was formed already in the early 21st century, while dogespeak is only a couple of years old. What was considered humorous nearly ten years ago might not be entertaining anymore. Equally difficult is to explain why numerous Internet users want to communicate with these languages in the first place. The Internet has always been a place where you can experience anything imaginable. In this case, because both LOLspeak and dogespeak spread quickly, they became popular ways to communicate on the Internet.

Languages live and evolve all the time due to many different reasons, and so have LOLspeak and dogespeak as well. We have already seen how short text captions in humorous images expanded into longer versions and eventually into fully functioning sentences in a piece of literature. Since both of these varieties progressed in their own ways, during a certain time period, it is interesting to observe if other whimsical Internet languages will ever come to light, or is the era of amusing pet-based image macros over. After all, these two languages are already quite well-spread and in a way, they depict the current style of Internet languages found online. Although both LOLspeak and dogespeak are English-based languages, additional Internet languages based on other lingua francas might still emerge, or might already have appeared on the Internet. Thus playing with languages could be a worldwide phenomenon.

To summarize, LOLspeak plays with spelling and morphology, while doges-peak breaks semantic relations in order to play with grammar. Both of these languages developed from short text captions into a language which could be used in different ways. Recently, LOLspeak has also been used to write a pieceof prose, though dogespeak has not yet developed in the same way. In a way, dogespeak is in its early stages of development and it might expand its usage,though it is extremely hard to say what these languages will look like in a couple of years.

Conclusion[edit]

The real reason why this "thesis" was made: she wanted to stare at Lolcats in class.

This thesis aimed to give a proper description of two Internet languages and also to compare their distinctive features. The main focus was on representing the grammatical characteristics and pinpointing the similarities and differences.

This thesis wanted to illustrate why it is impossible to mix up these languages: Putting LOLspeak sentences into doge images and vice versa is considered incorrect use of these languages, as several Internet users have pointed out. The clarifying examples show how these Internet-born languages actually have grammatical rules,and therefore cannot be blended with each other.

There has been a lot of interest towards Internet linguistics and several studies have already been made, but the overall attraction has not yet included different Internet languages. I believe my thesis will be an important step for studying the peculiarities of the Internet. Future research possibilities are basically endless due to the infinite amount of data found on the Internet. Whereas this thesis concentrated on describing and comparing LOLspeak’s and dogespeak’s grammar,there are other possibilities as well.

Firstly, a study could be made about the LOLspeak language used on the ICHC forums, which serves as a massive resource of data and would surely help linguists to write a more elaborate description of LOLspeak. Secondly, the attempts to write a piece of prose in dogespeak might be studied. It would be interesting to read how dogespeak transforms into prose without having a sentence structure based on English. Finally, a sociolinguistic perspective could be taken in order to study the reasons why several Internet users want to communicate with these languages. I certainly hope this field of study would keep growing and developing in the future. While LOLspeak and dogespeak are at the same time comical, playful and a bit weird, they are also quite systematic. They are definitely something that have never been encountered before and that makes them such interesting languages to study.

References[edit]

She literally used Tumblr as a reference in a Thesis paper.
A doge meme about linguistics

[digital image]. Accessed 09-01-2016. Retrieved from http://40.media.tumblr.com/b6c77d9f1e363ebc70f8616d555fc17b/tumblrn0k7cvu08P1rwewyjo1 5 00.png

A picture with doge captions

[digital image]. Accessed 23-01-2016. Retrieved fromhttp://17rg073sukbm1lmjk9jrehb643.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/tumblr mvdqs0CLnw1rhcn5oo1 500.jpgBaron, Naomi S. 2008.

Always on: Language in an online and mobile world

.Oxford: Oxford University Press.Blashki, Katherine & Nichol Sophie. 2005. Game Geek’s Goss: Linguistic Cre-ativity In Young Males Within An Online University Forum.

Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society 3. 77-86.Brinton, Laurel J. & Brinton, Donna M. 2010.
The linguistic structure of modern English

. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

Much, many, a lot of, lots of: quantifiers

.(http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/much-many-a-lot-of-lots-of-quantifiers) (Accessed 06-02-2016.)Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

Pwn

. (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/pwn) (Accessed 06-02-2016.)Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

So

. (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/so) (Accessed 06-02-2016.)Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

Such

. (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/such) (Accessed 06-02-2016.)Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

Very

. (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/very) (Accessed 06-02-2016.)Cook, Guy. 2000.

Language play, language learning

. Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress.25

Crystal, David. 2011.

Internet linguistics: A student guide

. London: Routledge.Crystal, David. 2006.

Language and the Internet

. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-versity Press.Crystal, David. 2001.

Language play

. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Dawkins, Richard. 2006.

The selfish gene: 30th anniversary edition

. Oxford: Ox-ford University Press.Gawne, Lauren & Vaughan, Jill. 2011. I can haz language play: The constructionof language and identity in LOLspeak.

Conference presentation, Australian Lin-guistics Society Conference

, 98-122. Canberra: Australian National University.Kelly Jon & Sheerin Jude. 2010. The strange virtual world of 4chan. BBC News .(http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-10520487) (Accessed 06-02-2016.)Know Your Meme.

Cheezburger

. (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/sites/cheezburger) (Accessed 30-12-2015.)Know Your Meme.

Internet Slang

. (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/internet-slang) (Accessed 31-12-2015.)Know Your Meme.

Image Macros

. (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/image-macros) (Accessed 31-12-2015.)Know Your Meme. LOLcats . (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/lolcats)(Accessed 31-12-2015.)LeBlanc, Tracy Rene. 2005.

“Is there a translator in teh house?”: Cultural and discourse analysis of a virtual speech community on an Internet message board

.Louisiana: University of Louisiana at Lafayette.Mashable.

The Evolution of Internet Speak

. (http://mashable.com/2014/09/25/what-is-internet-speak/4No6Yiw8cGqY) (Accessed 25-12-2015.)Merriam-Webster.

Language

. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/language) (Accessed 19-03-2016.)Sherzer, Joel. 2002. Speech play and verbal art . Austin: University of Texas Press.26

The image which started it all

[digital image]. Accessed 31-12-2015. Retrievedfrom http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/picture-cat-internet-meme.jpgThe League of Nerds.

The Curious Linguistics of the Doge in the Internet

.(http://asktheleagueofnerds.com/doge/) (Accessed 06-02-2016.)The Toast.

A linguist explains the grammar of doge. Wow

.(http://the-toast.net/2014/02/06/linguist-explains-grammar-doge-wow/)(Accessed 05-01-2016.)The Verge.

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. (http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/31/5248762/doge-meme-rescue-dog-wow) (Accessed 09-01-2016).Thurlow, Crispin & Mroczek, Kristine. 2011.

Digital discourse: Language in the new media

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Appendices[edit]

Appendix A, Genesis 1: Boreded Ceiling Cat makinkgz Urf n stuffs[edit]

"An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base"
"An so teh threeth day jazzhands."
"An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte"
"good enouf for releaze as version 0.8a."

1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he didnot eated dem.

2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bikeover teh waterz.

3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.

4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark buttaht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.

5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!16 An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make aur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling.

7 An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.

8 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling,so wuz teh twoth day.

9 An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placezcuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet.

10 An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good.

11 An Ceiling Cat sayed, DO WANT grass! so tehr wuz seedz An stufs, Anfruitzors An vegbatels. An a Corm. It happen.

12 An Ceiling Cat sawed that weedz ish good, so, letz there be weedz.

13 An so teh threeth day jazzhands.

14 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has lightz in the skiez for splittin day An no day.

15 It happen, lights everwear, like christmass, srsly.

16 An Ceiling Cat doeth two grate lightz, teh most big for day, teh other for noday.

17 An Ceiling Cat screw tehm on skiez, with big nails An stuff, to lite teh Urfs.18 An tehy rulez day An night. Ceiling Cat sawed. Iz good.

19 An so teh furth day w00t.

20 An Ceiling Cat sayed, waterz bring me phishes, An burds, so kittehs can eatdem. But Ceiling Cat no eated dem.

21 An Ceiling Cat maed big fishies An see monstrs, which wuz like big cows,except they no mood, An other stuffs dat mooves, An Ceiling Cat sawed iz good.

22 An Ceiling Cat sed O hai, make bebehs kthx. An dont worry i wont watch usecksy, i not that kynd uf kitteh.

23 An so teh...fith day. Ceiling Cat taek a wile 2 cawnt.

24 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has MOAR living stuff, mooes, An creepie tings,An otehr aminals. It happen so tehre.

25 An Ceiling Cat doed moar living stuff, mooes, An creepies, An otehr animuls,An did not eated tehm.

26 An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte, An letmin p0wnz0r becuz tehy has can openers.

27 So Ceiling Cat createded teh peeps taht waz like him, can has can openers hemaed tehm, min An womin wuz maeded, but he did not eated tehm.

28 An Ceiling Cat sed them O hai maek bebehs kthx, An p0wn teh waterz, nowaterz An teh firmmint, An evry stufs.

29 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, the Urfs, I has it, An I has not eated it.

30 For evry createded stufs tehre are the fuudz, to the burdies, teh creepiez, Anteh mooes, so tehre. It happen. Iz good.

31 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, teh good enouf for releaze as version 0.8a.kthxbai.

Appendix B: Doge Corpus[edit]

This section is basically a doge-dictionary. Makes no sense to us, either.
Feel lucky we're better at tables than she is. This took up way more space in the thesis.
Remember: someone paid for this woman to go to college and write this crap.
Such
Such space hair opinion ninja hard rain class free spirit insight
cold foots effort doge spin confident dance energy flowr rule
skill flirting art gangsta opinion guard doge avant garde venice Scare winter
hat skill love cri evy tiem affection non-traditional bravery Truble fuck you Wind
stuck roar big fashun scare axe legendry wholesome damage bass
abuss cold mean wilde math talentz sadness scary bear mace shading
view colorful hat sweater ram green movie excite money
fame jump waiting growth unsure birthday teeth nope wil not moev tame squint
good doge innovashun leg sponge delishus flowers 4 u beuty in u luv gentlmen lick
friendship sorryhat street kred


Much
weightless softness gains acomplishment endurance concept tough REWARD!!!!111!!!! excite scare fur
robe laughs rude bullets tough train bleeding beth internet style high
gudluk graph power monitor watch cry angry at ownr xp curiosity cake unexpected


So
majest photogen wind talking squint detremination powirful real hip vintige
squint struggle stamina dance fast proud seduction textuer abuse urban
talking lazy tiny fluff revoluntinary pro revolution different times weird Scare
SPICE titan fame hellooooouuuuu disrespect fly forceing ice tsarry touchigns
shine computer paint dogewalk good amaze artristic intercept grab shibe
stare into sole pc deep Doors open Maklemore brave


Very
touch comfrot dig mimic culturel shoulder displeasure hippie go fuck yourself truble windos
power freeze intimidate Pokemans hunt head rubbins crown blog brr pixels bluray
120 minets disagreement fly revenge talent sadness cake


Others (mixed)
many focis many luvs many serving many murder many hurt many graph many pleasing 4 shibe many respects
so much doge so much dj so many gigiabits

See Also

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