Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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This study investigates emerging usages in Chinese cyberspace of the numeral classifier that violate syntactic and semantic conventions of canonical grammar of modern Chinese. We treat these usages as constructional variants of the canonical classifier construction and show how they afford users of Weibo a device of social indexicality in the sense of Silverstein (197619852003) and Eckert (200020032008). We argue that the constructional variants facilitate the creation of a cute, chic, playful, humorous, and youthful online style and that its popularity draws on multiple indexical resources including contrast to canonical grammar, contemporary language contact with Japanese, influence of the cuteness culture and its commodification, and consumerism in the digital economy. This study contributes to research on the linguistic construction of identity and style, linguistic creativity in the new media and digital culture, and usage-based constructionist approaches to language.

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