i was once talking to someone about marginalia. ok, more than once. it’s a topic that comes up a lot. i like to read, and when i read, i write, a lot apparently, and it is a habit many people feel compelled to remark upon (PUN INTENDED).
once, in my desperate grasping to describe the language i use when responding immediately and viscerally on the page to a text i am reading, i seized upon the word ebonics. my interlocutor was quick to point out ebonics was not what i was describing at all, and afterwards i felt rather sheepish and embarrassed, but i think this article starts to get at why i landed on that term when searching to describe how i write while reading.
i respond to a printed text in the same way i would to another writer on the internet, and the internet (or at least the internet i frequent and have grown up frequenting) has, as tia behari points out, its own unique dialect both similar to and different from other english dialects, like say ebonics, chicano english, or yinglish.
so while my interlocutor was write to point out that i am not in fact a proficient user of ebonics, i think my make-shift use of the term makes sense to describe how i use a dialect that is differentiated but still related to english when writing marginalia (or on the internet).
furthermore, behari points out that this specific dialect has super cool post-modern and feminist underpinnings:
Let’s compare and contrast that with Tumblr-speak: we’re taking a group of people who have insider knowledge of the English language (or at least a good grasp of it) and placing them in a new, unfamiliar, virtual space. This space introduces visual aids to language in the form of photos and gifs, the ability to comment on someone else’s text in a reblog and the ability to communicate a lot of information in very few words using hashtags. We also see the creation of tone in a toneless medium. In order to simulate conversational patterns in writing we SHOUT WHEN WE’RE SUPER EXCITED or *psssst whisper when we’re pretending to tell someone a secret while perfectly aware that anyone on the internet can read what we’re saying.* slash the coolest bit tho is that u can like ironically forgo all capitalization and punctuation just write in a weird speech pattern its ok everyone will still understand maybe it even helps read the text more quickly because nothing is interrupting the flow of words
In short, this dialect results when people who already share a language are given new tools. The result isn’t a butchering of English language but a creative experiment with it. Am I claiming that the Internet as a whole is operating on a level of postmodernism that would make Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon seem like novices? maybe i am maybe im not u punk wut of it like who r u to tell me otherwise
…what I find most fascinating about the Internet Language is that it is making language less, not more, gendered. Men and women on the Internet use many of the same tropes, enthusiasm markers and emphasizers in order to communicate. In the world of blogging and Internet writing, women are the creators of language. It is a realm in which women are not being socialized with already existing language but are doing the work of socializing and creating a community. Women dominate every important social media platform. Women outnumber men on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and account for 72% of all social media users. On Tumblr, where the number of men and women is roughly equal, women dominate the conversation.