Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Little cutie one piece An innovative human classifier and its social indexicality in Chinese digital culture




List of Authors: Heidi Hui Shi, Zhuo Jing-Schmidt

Publisher: JOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING CO

Publication year: 2020

Journal: Chinese language and discourse

Journal name in source: CHINESE LANGUAGE AND DISCOURSE

Journal acronym: CHIN LANG DISCOURSE

Volume number: 11

Issue number: 1

Number of pages: 24

ISSN: 1877-7031

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cld.00023.shi


Abstract
This study investigates emerging usages in Chinese cyberspace of the numeral classifier mei that violate syntactic and semantic conventions of canonical grammar of modern Chinese. We treat these usages as constructional variants of the canonical classifier construction and show how they afford users of Weibo a device of social indexicality in the sense of Silverstein (1976, 1985, 2003) and Eckert (2000, 2003, 2008). We argue that the constructional variants facilitate the creation of a cute, chic, playful, humorous, and youthful online style and that its popularity draws on multiple indexical resources including contrast to canonical grammar, contemporary language contact with Japanese, influence of the cuteness culture and its commodification, and consumerism in the digital economy. This study contributes to research on the linguistic construction of identity and style, linguistic creativity in the new media and digital culture, and usage-based constructionist approaches to language.

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Last updated on 2022-04-04 at 18:47