Das Internet-Meme als Sprache-Bild-Text

Autor: Andreas Osterroth
[erschienen in: IMAGE 22 (Ausgabe Juli 2015)]

The present article’s goal is to explain internet memes from a linguistic point of view. Therefore a brief overview concerning the subject of Bildlinguistik is needed and the so called pictorial turn is to be assessed. Terms established by leading linguists such as Sprache-Bild-Text, Sehflächen and others have to be considered before the analysis. Memes or artefacts which are capable of becoming memes, are not created by single individuals, instead they evolve from a collective process of semiosis which is not intentionally controlled by an individual or a small group. Change, variation and hereby conventionalization are constitutive for internet memes. The meme itself, after being established in specific contexts, is used for communicational acts within the meaning of Austin. Meme-users communicate with these artifacts instead of using only written graphemes or emoticons and so on. The meme inherits a specific meaning and can only be used in pragmatic contexts. Assuming better bandwidth and accessibility to the internet in general, memes may replace emoticons and some communicational acts in future. Already today, one can have entire conversations based mostly or even only on memes.

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