Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vocabulary and Communities

Benedict Anderson talks at great length about the role that language and the vernacular played in the formation of national identities. It seems, for him the formalization of certain vernacular languages into written text provided the means for groups of people speaking a diversity of dialects to form similar imaginings of community and nation. It is interested to me then, to ask what role the internet plays in transforming the structure of written languages. Beyond the obvious examples of text speak (lol) and other internet abbreviations, the internet seems to generate new visual linguistic standards (image and text memes) whose entertainment value necessarily rely on a certain kind of fluency in both the cultural reference and internet vernacular. To what extent then does the rise of Internet vernaculars alter our imaginings of community and nationality? Similarly I am interested in how Internet vernaculars and its structure as a series of gates communities would map with regard to community and national boundaries. Further considering that the internet and its languages are accessed through technology and digital devices, to what extent does wealth (an individuals access and ability to purchase such devices) play a role in forming new Internet based communities and language?

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