*Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language*

That is the new book by Gretchen McCulloch, here is one excerpt:

The passive-aggressive potential of the single period started being reported in thinkpieces in 2013…The string of dots got a thinkpiece in 2018, though it has been popping up in comment threads since at least 2006, while it cousins, the hyphen and string of commas, have been less extensively reported but have occasioned long comment threads on blogs and internet forums.  Despite the fears mongered by headlines, it’s not the case that the passive-aggressive meaning has killed all other uses of the period.  The linguist Tyler Schnoebelen, who’s definitely younger than the peak dot-dot-dot generation, did a study of periods in his own 157,305 text messages.  He found that, true, periods were rare in short, informal messages — ones less than seventeen characters or containing lol, u, haha, yup, ok, or gonna.  But they were still often found in messages longer than seventy-two characters or containing words like told, feels, feel, felt, feelings, date, sad, seems, and talk.  The added weight of the period is a natural way to talk about weight matters.

Most books on the internet I find vacuous, this one had some material of interest, though perhaps for some people it is too navel-gazing.  But if you are going to spent that much time staring at a screen, and typing text into little boxes, surely you might wish to understand it better.  Most of all, I enjoyed the discussion of how different generations have learned to use the internet somewhat differently, depending on when they started.


I always thought those dots were read as a pause .. symbolizing consideration. A sentence that might have taken other directions.


Welcome all, i have newly discovered this surprising website..
actually I've been in Temiskaming Shores and I wished to
thank you you're patience in explaining it, a few persons as I once in a while require things easy
to read.!

Dots and commas and hyphens. Doesn't anybody use words anymore. Thank goodness our host uses words. Well, words with a Straussian meaning.


Does it explain how ‘lose’ became ‘loose’?

Stuff like that has been going on as long as we've had language. It's really fascinating.

The 'loose' thing grates on my nerves, but I realized a while back that I was being unreasonable. It's arbitrary. Words evolve. Meanings change (look up the word "nice"). Spellings change (look at American English).

The reason 'loose' and similar things bugged me was my classicism: it allowed me to hate poor, uneducated people. I still have it. It still bugs me. I fight those feelings to be a better person.

How do you feel about "aks?"

Leniant but not liberal. So I learned this thing called intrinsic illness, the opposing force of gravity, is when we stress test a response to a fictional "phrase." say "gray topaz," and the belief in evil will create an stillborn reaction, while a determined reader will ask himself, well, what's 50% of the population read on this term? My reaction was a color and a stone. A simple definition. 50% of the population probably read it as a "figment of imagination." So whats my problem, then? My problem is that of stoicism. I'm reading it assuming Malcolm X is looking over my shoulder. But stoic ethics has no place in fiction reading. Nor in code writing. Obviously. Apparently, the level of my intrinsic illness is both an object of love and an evil incarnation. So, I am evil.

Once again, you are wrong on each point.

The one that really bugs me is when someone says they "should of" done X. I dislike "loose" for "lose" too but one could argue hey spelling changes, it wasn't until several years ago that I realized a lot of Americans spell "theater" as "theatre", I'd always thought the latter was a British thing.

But writing "should of" means the person isn't even thinking about what words they are writing,. They're just writing down sounds. Or "their just righting down sounds".

I've mostly given up trying to convince the (English/Western-type alphabet using) world that using ALL UPPER CASE for signing of extremely rare and mostly out-of-control & rude behavior (i.e. "shouting") IS F***ING STUPID. It should, imho, be used for EMPHASIS. I mean; do you really want to know that someone you're chatting with (if it's synchronized communication) or have received a communication from was, when s/he wrote it, angry, terrified, or ... hmmm what other emotions would possess someone to shout? in pain?
The ellipsis … is available (on MS keyboards) as +0133, fwiw. I use the lazy version all the time - see above. (But I also use waaay too many commas and hyphens, so...) It's much easier to use caps as emphasis compared to either italics, bold, hi-lighting, or font changes (color, size,...) which require your editor to support them smoothly, and few do. Note also that ... takes 3 char (or one in Unicode) while "etc." takes 4.

in the brothers karazmov, it is said the invisible hand lurked but did not act. And this fact alone is why. Why what, you ask? Simplicity, it turns out, is very hard. Experimental logic tells us that coding is based on the reading ethic, or consider that 3/4 of reading requires a chemical thought process of "reason" while 1/4 requires the logical conclusions of the feelings we "had."

So use upper case that way, and BE the change you want to see in the world.

punctuation, spelling and language are arbitrary ... and change with the culture(s) over time
there are no permanent rules
I've even heard there are languages other than English

President captain Bolsonaro recently signed Executive Order No. 29938 affirming that there will be no emojis in Portuguese, the language of the future, nor will there be k, y, or w. Whiskey will be spelled uisque in all official communications.

“and change with the culture(s) over time”
More importantly, it changes—constantly—during our lifetime, and always just on the periphery. Because in reality it’s people who change language, not language that changes by itself. And we are pretty protean.

The alphabet is overrated. Emojis are the best. ☺️

And Klingon. Don't forget the visceral appeal of Klingon...

Blooming English, by Kate Burridge (Cambridge UP, 2004) is quite readable, specifically about English. In general, any textbook of historical linguistics will open your eyes if you are inclined to think that any language is static. Or for that matter, browse the Language Log site.

"String of dots" and "string of commas" ... I don't know what McCulloch is referring to. Maybe this is something people use on twitter and while texting (both of which I rarely read)?

People have been using ellipsis for decades so I'm presuming it's some new use of a string of dots, does McCulloch show any examples of this new usage?

Gretchen McCulloch is the real deal: a trained linguist whose knowledge is deep and wide-ranging. She's a keen appreciator of contemporary culture and the central role language plays in our world, and sets out to explain how internet language came into being, and has now reached every corner of communication. "Because Internet" is a guide for everyone: digital natives and the digitally baffled, and everyone else who uses, wants to use, or needs to decipher, memes, emojis, excessive punctuation and lolz. A great book for writers at 12HoursEssay, readers, internet historians and language enthusiasts!

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