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Although the language itself is whimsical, its use is widespread and evolving. There is a Lolcat translation of the bible, Oxford University Press has even lightheartedly posted a lolcat generator on the Oxford Dictionary site and there are numerous lolcat translations sites on the web. Lolcat speak has even been used as the basis of a computer language, one form of which is apparently Turing complete.

I'm interested in what the categorization of this language might be in the context of Linguistics, and other relevant information, including if it has been studied seriously.


Context: I am asking about a silly subject on Linguistics because I have an interest in how comedy is constructed. This may involve intentional fallacies, inappropriate responses, random or calculatedly non-standard constructions, forms and usages, multiple meanings, and even vectors in the sense of leading up to an expected conclusion, then reversing. (Exemplars range from Mistress Quickly to Rickles, and more recently, lolcats and Ricky.)

My interest in this language is three-fold. (1) "Cuteness" has a utility function, is certainly a strategy, and probably an adaptation; (2) Formation and evolution of this language is relevant and interesting; (3) I suspect it might be a useful example to convey basic linguistics concepts to kids.

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    There is no formal acceptance process. There is also no voting organization whereby you could meaningfully ask those people "Do you accept this as a constructed language?". So I don't know what you mean by "accepted as a utilized language". Perhaps you can explain what you're asking. – user6726 Apr 10 '17 at 20:32
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    For the purposes of adding to Wikipedia, all that matters is whether you can find a reliable independent source that describes it as a conlang. What you or I, or any other reader of this site, think about the matter is irrelevant. – Colin Fine Apr 10 '17 at 23:46
  • @Colin I've amended the question to be answerable and useful. (Sorry for the initial confusion.) – DukeZhou Apr 19 '17 at 0:27
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There probably can't be a definitive answer to this (somewhat similarly to the false dichotomy of languages v. dialects) because of the way in which lolcat speak arose and is used. Lolcat speak was developed incrementally by a large community of online writers (rather than face-to-face speakers, generally speaking). It is essentially a written language game that has since become a jocular constructed quasi-dialect of English and slowly bled into real-life non-written usage. If you consider George Orwell's Newspeak a "real constructed language" then it's not so much of a stretch to think of lolcat speak as a constructed language either. An opposing point might though be that no-one considers language games such as French Verlan to be constructed languages (and that's actually regularly spoken) so why think of lolcat speak in this way? Then again, Verlan is usually less restricted than lolcat speak in that only one or two words in a sentence might be subject to its rules. As I hinted at the beginning, I think it kind of straddles the border between constructed language and language game.

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    thank you for this clarification! The concept of language as a game is very helpful in my own endeavors. – DukeZhou Apr 18 '17 at 18:16

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