Has internet dating changed society
(Indeed, Zimmer points out, the American Dialect Society proclaimed “Because” the Word of the Year for 2013, largely because it had been revitalized by this syntax play.) would we be suddenly messing around with syntax? Mc Culloch thinks it may be related to a larger trend she’s identified, which she calls “stylized verbal incoherence mirroring emotional incoherence”.
Most of these syntax-morphing memes consist of us trying to find clever new ways to express our feelings.“You want to convey that you’re kind of overwhelmed by your emotions,” she says.
You also want to be witty while you’re doing it.“You get more attention online if you’re witty, and people actually engage with you if you’re witty about your feelings.”On the other hand, if you really don’t like this trend, there is—as it happens —an image-meme for your feelings, too.
For as long as romantic relationships have existed, people have sought assistance in meeting potential partners using whatever options were at their disposal.
The number of Americans getting married has been steadily declining, and today a record-low 51% of the public is currently married (in 1960, 72% of all adults 18 and older were married).
Americans are also waiting until later in life to get married, and other living arrangements—such as cohabitation, single person households, and single parenthood—have grown more common in recent decades.
You need to stylize your incoherence, so that it’s part of a broader thing people are doing.
You don’t just kind of keysmash all over the place.
Subordinate-clause tweets and Yik-Yak postings seduce us into filling out that missing info, Mc Culloch says.
“It’s saying, ‘this thing has happened to me, this has happened to me before and this was my reaction, it’s probably happened to other people and they’ve also reacted the same way.”Or as Zimmer puts it: “To be elliptical in that way requires various kinds of shared knowledge — the shared knowledge of situation.”This isn’t actually a point of Mc Culloch or Zimmer’s; it’s mine.
But it occurs to me that one big power of today’s standalone subordinate clause is that it’s punchy.
And of course, a lot of words got invented, like “selfie”. Now we’re messing around with — the structure of sentences, the order in which the various parts go and how they relate to one another.
This stuff people are doing with the subordinate clause, it’s pretty sophisticated, and oddly deep. We’re mucking around with what makes a sentence a sentence.“Playing with syntax seems to be the broad meta trend behind a whole bunch of stuff that’s going on these days,” Mc Culloch tells me. Many of the biggest recent language memes were about syntax experimentation, such as the “i’ve lost the ability to can” gambit (which I wrote about a few months ago), or the gnarly elocution of doge, or the “because” meme.