Slang words and Meme Culture

In class we have discussed ways in which oral societies conflict with literate ones. The Goody and Watt’s article describes these sort of consequences which ultimately leads to the destruction of oral societies.

For a long time now, our culture has been categorized as literate as opposed to oral. Most of us know how to read and write, we study literacy in school, and do much of our communication using words and written language. However, I believe that now our society is at a sort of hybrid with the presence of meme culture. Which, I hypothesize, can be traced back to slang words.

The article above provides an origin story for slang. Slang words can be thought of as informal language with widespread use. For much of history, slang was appropriated into mainstream culture from minority group colloquials. However, some words and phrases are taken from worldly events that were especially monumental and impactful on society. Things like “far out” and “going nuclear” where a result of the government getting involved in nuclear power and space travel. Slang words are created when people take one element of culture and use it to communicate another idea.

Is this not the same as meme making? I would argue most certainly and that slang words predicted meme culture. I mean, let’s think for a minute. Meme’s are essentially just an evolved form of slang, we even use a lot of them in daily conversations and not just online. If I stub my toe and say, “mother trucker dude that hurt like a buttcheek on a stick”, someone who is familiar with that viral video would know what I’m talking about. In the same way, when someone back in the 80’s said words like “grody” and “rad”. Their parents might look at the funny in the same way mine would if I quoted a Tik Tok audio, but the point remains the same.

Slang words reintroduced oral traditions back into society and meme culture is making sure it continues to thrive.

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