Hui Shi

Abstracts

2 A Linguistic Product of K-Pop: A Corpus-Based Study on the Korean-Originated Chinese Neologism Simida

Authors: Hui Shi

Abstract:

This article examines the online popularity of Chinese neologism simida, which is a loanword derived from Korean declarative sentence-final suffix seumnida. Facilitated by corpus data obtained from Weibo, the Chinese counterpart of Twitter, this study analyzes the morphological and syntactical processes behind simida’s coinage, as well as the causes of its prevalence on Chinese social media. The findings show that simida is used by Weibo bloggers in two manners: (1) as an alternative word of 'Korea' and 'Korean'; (2) as a redundant sentence-final particle which adds a Korean-like speech style to a statement. Additionally, Weibo user profile analysis further reveals demographical distribution patterns concerning this neologism and highlights young Weibo users in the third-tier cities as the leading adopters of simida. These results are accounted for under the theoretical framework of social indexicality, especially how variations generate style in the indexical field. This article argues that the creation of such an ethnically-targeted neologism is a linguistic demonstration of Chinese netizen’s two-sided attitudes toward the previously heated Korean-wave. The exotic suffix seumnida is borrowed to Chinese as simida due to its high-frequency in Korean cultural exports. Therefore, it gradually becomes a replacement of Korea-related lexical items due to markedness, regardless of semantic prosody. Its innovative implantation to Chinese syntax, on the other hand, reflects Chinese netizens’ active manipulation of language for their online identity building. This study has implications for research on the linguistic construction of identity and style and lays the groundwork for linguistic creativity in the Chinese new media.

Keywords: New Media, Humor, loanword, Chinese neologism

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1 The Diminished Online Persona: A Semantic Change of Chinese Classifier Mei on Weibo

Authors: Hui Shi

Abstract:

This study investigates a newly emerged usage of Chinese numeral classifier mei (枚) in the cyberspace. In modern Chinese grammar, mei as a classifier should occupy the pre-nominal position, and its valid accompanying nouns are restricted to small, flat, fragile inanimate objects rather than humans. To examine the semantic change of mei, two types of data from Weibo.com were collected. First, 500 mei-included Weibo posts constructed a corpus for analyzing this classifier's word order distribution (post-nominal or pre-nominal) as well as its accompanying nouns' semantics (inanimate or human). Second, considering that mei accompanies a remarkable number of human nouns in the first corpus, the second corpus is composed of mei-involved Weibo IDs from users located in first and third-tier cities (n=8 respectively). The findings show that in the cyber community, mei frequently classifies human-related neologisms at the archaic post-normal position. Besides, the 23 to 29-year-old females as well as Weibo users from third-tier cities are the major populations who adopt mei in their user IDs for self-description and identity expression. This paper argues that the creative usage of mei gains popularity in the Chinese internet due to a humor effect. The marked word order switch and semantic misapplication combined to trigger incongruity and jocularity. This study has significance for research on Chinese cyber neologism. It may also lay a foundation for further studies on Chinese classifier change and Chinese internet communication.

Keywords: Humor, semantic change, Chinese classifier, neologism

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