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Because Internet : Understanding the New Rules of Language
by Gretchen McCulloch




Overview -
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Named a Best Book of 2019 by TIME, Amazon, and The Washington Post

A Wired Must-Read Book of Summer

"Gretchen McCulloch is the internet's favorite linguist, and this book is essential reading. Reading her work is like suddenly being able to see the matrix." --Jonny Sun, author of everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too

Because Internet is for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. It's the perfect book for understanding how the internet is changing the English language, why that's a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are.

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 for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

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More About Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch

 
 
 

Overview

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Named a Best Book of 2019 by TIME, Amazon, and The Washington Post

A Wired Must-Read Book of Summer

"Gretchen McCulloch is the internet's favorite linguist, and this book is essential reading. Reading her work is like suddenly being able to see the matrix." --Jonny Sun, author of everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too

Because Internet is for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. It's the perfect book for understanding how the internet is changing the English language, why that's a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are.

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 for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735210936
  • ISBN-10: 0735210934
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Publish Date: July 2019
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Because Internet

Do you worry that the internet and its tools—social media, emojis, memes—are wrecking your kids’ spoken and written language? Or that the same thing might be happening to you? Gretchen McCulloch is here to reassure readers that no, future humans won’t communicate solely by emojis and GIFs. What’s more, the internet has made us all into writers, melding writing and informality. In Because Internet, McCulloch shows how internet language, like any other language, has evolved into its current form and how it continues to change. 

A Montreal-based internet linguist and columnist for Wired, McCulloch begins with a quick primer on linguistics, the study of language. “The continued evolution of language is neither the solution to all our problems nor the cause of them,” she writes. “It simply is. You never truly step into the same English twice.” Since the internet records what people post, tweet and share, it’s a good place to study recent changes in informal language. 

McCulloch is fascinating on emojis, those tiny digital smiley faces, hearts and flamenco dancers that we add to texts. Having studied emojis since 2014, she describes her research into the reasons that emojis caught on, showing why emojis and GIFs serve as gestures rather than as a new language. And McCulloch is convincingly reassuring about teen internet use. “Whether they’re spending hours on the landline telephone, racking up a massive texting bill, or being ‘addicted’ to Facebook or MySpace or Instagram, something that teens want to do in every generation is spend a lot of unstructured time hanging out, flirting, and jockeying for status with their peers.” 

Although the concept of internet linguistics might sound dry, McCulloch takes a sprightly approach. She’s funny as well as informative. Because Internet just might lead you to see the internet, and how you (and your kids) use it, in a whole new way. 

 

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