Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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(‘although but’)’ used on Chinese social media is a novel variant of ‘ (‘although’)… (‘but’)’, a typical pairing of adversative connectives in Mandarin Chinese. This article hypothesizes that ‘’ is a memetic expression resulting from pragmatic ellipsis and repeated use for special functions in the context of online communication. To verify this hypothesis, the authors collected data from Weibo and WeChat, two most widely used social media platforms in China, and analyzed the use of ‘’ in context. It is argued that as an elliptical form, ‘’ complies with the requirements of the Economy Principle and the Politeness Principle. As a meme, the emergence and popularity of the variant are ascribable to its special functions of teasing and facilitating social bonding, as well as to the vagueness of language use and the richness and complexity of cyber-context afforded by the Internet.


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