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image of “I am a real cat”

Abstract

Abstract

This paper is an exploration of the variety of French-speaking cats on Twitter. Among the many creative phenomena that the internet has produced, animal-related language varieties, the language used by pets, have been explored as early as the 2000s, yet with a strong and almost exclusive focus on English. I first describe the shared repertoire of lexical, semantic, phonographic, and syntactic features used by French-speaking cats, and show how the simultaneous use of a childlike code and a formal register constructs the sociolinguistic persona of cats as ambivalent animals. I argue that the French variety has become “enregistered” ( ) insofar as it is perceived and ideologically constructed as a variety of its own while promoting a welcoming culture towards new members. In doing so, cats show that the belonging to a community of practice, notably by drawing on a common repertoire of resources, does not need to be linked with processes of exclusion.

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2022-07-11
2022-08-12
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