Analysis of the Top Ten Chinese Internet Buzzwords from the Perspective of Sociolinguistics
Keywords:Chinese Internet buzzwords, Internet language, speech community, sociolinguistics
As the Internet expands rapidly in the era of information technology, numerous Internet buzzwords emerge and vanish swiftly. In China, it has been an annual tradition to post the top Internet buzzwords or hot words, which spark heated discussions among Internet users regarding their meanings and usage. However, there is often a lack of clear distinction between buzzwords and hot words, and the overall characteristics and value of Internet language based on the top Internet buzzwords remain largely unexplored. The change of language is, to some extent, interconnected with the change of society. Consequently, with the aim of examining the features and functions of Chinese top Internet buzzwords from the perspective of sociolinguistics, this research specifically focuses on the top ten Chinese Internet buzzwords released by Language and Character Weekly from 2019 to 2023 in terms of word formation, topic, and emotion. It could be found that the Internet fosters a virtual speech community that spans across regions among Internet users. The spread of popular dialects and English words contributes to the variation and change of Chinese Internet buzzwords. Moreover, these buzzwords convey diverse emotional meanings. The meaning and usage of Internet buzzwords vary in different periods of society. In conclusion, Internet buzzwords are the product of Internet development, carrying information about the characteristics of society and individuals. There is a need to be more discerning about the Chinese Internet buzzwords from the sociolinguistic perspective, which holds significant implications for understanding the trends of the annual Internet buzzwords in the future.