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Some of my favourite linguistic developments

toloveviceforitself:

toddmonotony:

‘Is that a thing?’ for ‘does that exist?’

Deliberate omission of grammar to show e.g. defeatedness, bewilderment, fury. As seen in Tumblr’s ‘what is this I don’t even’.

‘Because [noun]’. As in ‘we couldn’t have our picnic in the meadow because wasps.’

Use of kerning to indicate strong bewilderment, i.e. double-spaced letters usually denoting ‘what is happening?’ This one is really interesting because it doesn’t really translate well to speech. It’s something people have come up with that uses the medium of text over the internet as a new way of communicating instead of just a transcript of speech or a quicker way to send postal letters.

Just the general playing around with sentence structure and still being able to be understood. One of my favourites of these is the ‘subject: *verbs* / object: *is verb*’ couplet, as in:

Beekeeper: *keeps bees*
Bees: *is keep*

or

Me: *holds puppy*
Puppy: *is hold*

I just love how this all develops organically with no deciding body, and how we all understand and adapt to it.

Man but the current usage of “is that a thing?” is not just standing in for “does that exist?” or it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. It can, depending on context mean:

“Is that a thing (that exists)?”
“Is that a thing (that people do)?”
“Is that a thing (that’s considered normal)?”
“Is that a thing (that’s possible)?”
“Is that a thing (that’s significant)?”

In a lot of cases “a thing” is standing in for the much more archaic phrasing “the done thing”, as in “is bringing host gifts to a summoning ritual (the done thing | a thing)?”

And that’s interesting in and of itself but it also encompasses all those other meanings with very few miscommunications. Despite the multipurpose phrasing we almost always understand what someone is asking when they ask if something is a thing, and that’s *really cool*

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