Linguistic Spontaneity

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3 thoughts on “Linguistic Spontaneity”

  1. Wow, Ben, that was fast.

    Here’s the definition of “meme”:
    an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
    – a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

    And its etymology:
    In his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, British scientist Richard Dawkins defended his newly coined word meme, which he defined as “a unit of cultural transmission.” Having first considered, then rejected, “mimeme,” he wrote: “‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene.’ I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate ‘mimeme’ to ‘meme.’” (The suitable Greek root was mim-, meaning “mime” or “mimic.” The English suffix -eme indicates a distinctive unit of language structure, as in “grapheme,” “lexeme,” and “phoneme.”) “Meme” itself, like any good meme, caught on fairly quickly, spreading from person to person as it established itself in the language.
    – from Merriam-Webster online http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme

  2. Reminder: that is Tina’s quote she emailed me and it sounded awesome so I can’t let it go. But it’s Tina’s.

    My students learned the French word “même”(same) pretty easily because c’est similaire mais c’est pas le même -ironiquement. It’s similar to the word meme-which kids use for those stupid images they spread around on Twitter or Instagram (like Grumpy Cat).

  3. I thought the word/idea of “meme” was so cool upon acquiring it when I was reading a lot of Daniel Quinn (author of Ismael) about 7 years ago. A gene is to the body as a meme is to the mind. And we’ve got a lot of toxic memes embedded in our collective mind. That language can be consciously mastered is one of them. One could say we are SLA meme warriors, and more of course.

    I like that one Tina! And Robert’s (which you can find on his website in the free stuff tab) with the Lord of the Rings connotation is priceless also.

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