Download PDF

Abstract. The purpose of this research is the consideration of meme as a specific genre of the Internet-communication. A meme in our understanding is a small multicode text that unites an image and a brief message with contradictory meanings. The important features of memes, in our opinion, are reproducibility and precedence limited with the meme life. Visual and verbal components may be copied and changed both separately and together. The material includes the whole set of memes about Greta Thunberg having appeared in the net after her speech in the UNO. The analytical method corresponds with the research steps, taken to characterize the speech genre from some positions – conditions of meme’s birth and existence, genre model, communicative situation, multicodeness, stylistic features, intentionality, functionality. During the analysis of the mentioned material we distinguished the genre features of meme in each aspect. It is proved that conditions of meme’s appearance and development may be an event, which received an ambiguous evaluation in media, a bright image, able to produce an associative chain, a key word or expression with a logical contradiction. The meme’s genre model pre-supposes the situation which may be comically reconsidered, turned into an amazing game with the audience. Thus, the meme’s appearance itself is connected with ironic reconsideration of the reality. Meme appeared as the agenda reaction and appeals to the topical background knowledge of a communicator, correlating with the key vocabulary of the current moment. Multicode may be of various forms – image comments, collage, comics. Stylistically meme is characterized with unlimited word freedom, often similar to deliberate primitivity and rudeness of speech expression. The communicative purpose – an offer to laugh together, i.e. meme – is a genre with dominating idea to have fun. The laughter over an event leads to solidarity, refinement and grounding of connotatibe meanings of the epoch key words, incorporating the event into the world view of a contemporary man.

Keywords: meme, speech genre, Internet communication, key word

Natalia A. Prokofeva¹, Ekaterina A. Shcheglova²

¹٫ ²Saint-Petersburg State University Saint-Petersburg, Russia
ORCID id: 0000-0003-3105-4530
ORCID id: 0000-0003-1778-2021

Bakhtin, М. М. 1996. Speech genres’ problem. In: Bakhtin М. М. Collected works in 7 v. Russian vocabularies, Russian Dictionary publ., Мoscow, Vol. 5, pp. 159–206. Blank, A. 1999. Why do new meanings occur? A cognitive typology of the motivations for lexical Semantic change. In: Blank, A., Koch, P. Historical Semantics and Cognition. Mouton de Gruyter publ., Berlin/New York, pp. 61 –99. Blackmore, S. 1999. The Meme Machine. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 264 p. Dawkins, R. 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 224 p. Jiang, Y. 2012. On the Formation, Replication and Transmission of Strong Memes and their Cognitive Psychological Motivations. Theory and Practice in Language Studies 2(2): 398–401. Huizinga, J. 2019. Homo ludens. Аzbuka-klassika publ., Мoscow, 400 p. Kepa-Figura, D. 2019. (Internet-)mem as a new media genre. Questions’ statement. Media linguistics 6(1): 103–121. Koltunova, М. V. 2015. Media memes in political propagandistic discourse. Media linguistics 3(9): 85–94. Kull, K. 2000. Copy versus translate, meme versus sign: development of biological textuality. European Journal for Semiotic Studies 12(1): 101–120. Stern, G. 1931. Meaning and change of meaning with special reference to the English language. Elander publ., Göteborg, 456 p. Popova, Т. I., Kolesova, D. V. 2015. Informations’ visualization as a tendency of modern text develope. Media linguistics 4 (10): 85– 94. Vasileva, V. V. Multicodeness of media text. In: Duskaeva, L. R. (ed.) Media linguistics in terms and concepts: dictionaryreference. Flinta publ., Мoscow, pp. 88–91. Vezhbitska, А. A. 1997. Speech genres. Genres of speech 1: 23– 33.