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Influences of the cyber subculture on Chinese language

chinese cyber subculture, chinese culture

Chinese language is one of the basis for the Chinese civilization. It is the foot-stone and a messenger carrying meaning to the Chinese nation. Due to the popularity of the Internet, cyber catchphrases have been emerging one after another, and the Chinese culture has been adding various expressions and characters, some good and some bad. So people have called for the protection of the Chinese language, and this phenomenon has caused much attention in China.



What is cyber subculture?



Cyber subculture refers to the popular cyber culture, a kind of marginal culture characterized by its unique aesthetics and value. It easily penetrates the mainstream culture and influences communication. It is a special cultural value system, thinking mode and life style. It's formed, followed and spread by the Internet users. The followings are the influences of cyber subculture on the Chinese language.



Chinese characters are being changed and a lot of new characters are more prominent in the media



Many characters used on the Internet are using writing or pronunciation different from the original meaning. As they are frequently used in daily communication, the users don't mind whether they are written correctly or not over time. Here are two typical examples.



duang – made up of "成" and "龙". As the commercial of Jackie Chan (成龙) was spoofed, the character got popular on line over night. The character was made by putting "成" above "龙".



qiong – overlapping of three "买" (buy). It means that you will spend all of your money and become poor(穷, qiónɡ, if you keep buying, buying and buying.



2. The cyber slang is formed in various weird ways



If you don't have any basic knowledge of cyber slang, you will completely misunderstand what they mean and somehow get lost in communication.



●Acronym, abbreviation and homophone



MM- an acronym of Pinyin for Chinese characters, "美眉(měi méi)", which refers to a young and beautiful girl.

MM: 汉字拼音头字母缩写:常被指代漂亮美眉(美女),也指妹妹。


伊妹儿(yī mèi ér)- a homophone of "email". It sounds fancy to the Chinese speaker.

伊妹儿: 英语单词谐音:电子邮件。有种让人想入非非的感觉,有么?


7456- a homophone of "气死我了(qì sǐ wǒ le)", which means someone is driven mad.

7456: 数字谐音,气死我了。通常指被某人或某事气急了。


● New meaning for an existing word


斑竹- forum moderator; it has been popular since it was wrongly typed.



楼上- "upstairs" literally; it refers to the preceding post.



3. The youth become the largest prey of cyber subculture



It can be seen from the above chart that those born after 1985 suffer the deepest influences of cyber subculture! Those born after 1990 and 1995 account for over 1/3 of the total cyber slang users. The younger generation become the largest prey of cyber subculture, which somehow affects inheritance of the Chinese language in the future. 


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