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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The acclaimed New York Times best seller.

Because Internet is for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. It's the perfect book for understanding how the internet is changing the English language, why that's a good thing and what our online interactions reveal about who we are. 

Language is humanity's most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive online communities spread new slang and jargon with dizzying speed. What's more, social media is a vast laboratory of unedited, unfiltered words where we can watch language evolve in real time. 

Even the most absurd-looking slang has genuine patterns behind it. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer 'LOL' or 'lol', why ~sparkly tildes~ succeeded where centuries of proposals for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

©2019 Gretchen McCulloch (P)2019 Penguin Random House LLC

Critic Reviews

"McCulloch is such a disarming writer - lucid, friendly, unequivocally excited about her subject - that I began to marvel at the flexibility of the online language she describes, with its numerous shades of subtlety." (New York Times)

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  • Kirstie Whitaker
  • 01-19-20

Amazing job reading about typed text by the author!

This book is about written language on the internet but the author makes the text come alive (including pronouncing key smashes like neiwygj and aslkslad in ways that totally make sense!) I really enjoyed listening to the story of the internet so far and how we’ve expanded our ways of communicating in the 20th & 21st centuries. Recommended :)

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  • Olly Buxton
  • 12-01-19

fascinating, funny, thought provoking

there are any number of books about the forthcoming technological revolution, but a book about the linguistic one which is being pulled along by it it is a much rarer thing. this is a fascinating, funny, and thought provoking book read entertainingly by the author.

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  • Nathan
  • 04-05-22

An excellent guide

Written and performed well, a guide to all matters of lingustics and internet communication.

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  • Andres Truuvert
  • 03-16-21

Great book and great performance

I was initially somewhat concerned about how a book about written internet speech would fare as an audiobook version but I found myself really enjoying the often very clever ways of getting around the limitations to clearly express the intention of the internet message. The tone of the book feels like a linguistics nerd who’s excitedly talking about what she’s found and it’s great, you can hear the authors’ excitement and passion for what she’s talking about in her work. As for the book itself, it taught me a lot as an internet user, and is nice and concise. I recommend to anyone who wants to understand the internet better

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  • Milena Popova
  • 02-17-20

amazing reading!

The author reads her own work in this audio production, and it's amazing! Pronouncing different kinds of keysmashes definitely a favourite. I think the audio version should be the canonical version of this (both highly entertaining and educational) book.