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Need a cyber-dictionary? Welcome to Grammar 2.0

“Can a dog be twins?” So reads the meme, a tweet composed by the unnamed heroine, five words that quickly go viral. Global. “The post had recently reached the penetration stage where teens posted teary face emoji to him. They were in high school. They were going to remember “Can a dog be twins?” Instead of the date of the Treaty of Versailles, which she did not know either, let’s face it.

Some of the new emojis available. Credit:Unicode Consortium

The heroine is from the novel by Patricia Lockwood, Nobody talks about it (Bloomsbury Circus, 2021). Mosaic mosaic, the book shadows our much-vaunted “poster girl” through real life and “portal” life, from the bedroom to the chat room, all distinctions fading in a single lifetime. friends and followers.

Lockwood, an American poet, has a rare gift for phrasing. The Cancel culture is gaining in her hands: “Every day their attention must turn, like the glow of a school of fish, all at once, to a new person to be hated.

Likewise, the gnawing of web addiction: “this metastasis of the next word, the word more.”

His humor is just as wild. Take the emoji-blindness from his mother, who sends in recipe texts that reads like porn. The girl must jump. “NEVER SEND ME EGGPLANT MOM AGAIN,” she wrote. I DON’T BAKE WHAT YOU COOK FOR DINNER! “

Any book dealing with the net deals with communication. More … than Beowulf or the telephone, the web is reshaping English. Gretchen McCulloch, Montreal linguist and author of Because the internet (Riverhead, 2019), attributes the impact to “weak ties,” where a tribe’s adjacent cohort of strangers transmits new grammar to distant platforms.


It’s the net, in a nutshell. Every message we send, every joke we share, is a raindrop hitting the surface of the great pond, padded and radiating from my space to yours. At one point in Lockwood’s novel, the heroine is celebrated in a literary festival, thanks to her “doggerel”. She shares a roundtable that is more fun: sneeze or sneeze.

Tellingly, even in discussion forums, such slang-centric discussions rarely occur, spoofed by adoption instead. As Lockwood writes: “The spellings of the word baby that the portal has been going through lately: babey, babby, bhabie. Middle English had experienced similar transformations: babe, babe, babi. Yet in each variation the meaning shone through, as durable as a soul wrapped in swaddling clothes.

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