Saturday, August 17

Broken English

Do you know what a “meme” is?

A “meme” is an image, video, story, or joke that is passed from one Internet user to another by e-mail, blog, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes they are used to promote a group, movie, etc. But most of the time their purpose is for entertainment or comedy only. In any case, memes are a very powerful medium or form of art.

The word “meme” comes from the Greek word “mimema,” which means something copied.

So many memes have appeared and disappeared. Some of them became very popular while others were just a little popular. Some stayed for a very long time, while others remained only for a few days.


One very powerful meme is the “lolcat.” It is an image that combines the photo of a cat and some funny words.

The word “lol” inside its name is an Internet abbreviation which means “laugh out loud” or “laughing out loud.” It is used in emails, text messages, and chats when you think something is funny.

For example,

A: OMG! I sent a sexual joke to my mother by mistake.

B: LOL! That is so stupid!

Here's one example of a lolcat meme: 

As you can see in our example, the words that come with the photo are usually strange and grammatically wrong. This is called “lolspeak” or “kitty pidgin*.

*pidgin = language that is mixed with the words or grammar of another language

“Kitty pidgin” breaks the rules of English spelling and grammar, and uses the wrong forms of Verbs.

It is a parody* of the poor grammar that’s widespread on the Internet. It is similar to baby talk.

*parody = an action that copies someone or something in a funny way

Here are other examples of ungrammatical messages on lolcat memes:

Kitty Pidgin
Standard English

U mite liek it.
You might like it.
I can has cheezburger?
Can I have a cheeseburger?
Spred the luv.
Spread the love.
You has bad tranlashun?
Do you have bad translation?
Email ur frenz.
E-mail your friends.

All Your Base…

Another very popular meme is “All your base are belong to us.”

It is a phrase that became very popular on the Internet. It was taken from the opening scene of the video game “Zero Wing(European version). The words were translated from the original Japanese and they were poor grammar.

In the early ’90s, the game became quite popular in the arcades and Sega, in Japan and Europe. And then in the late ’90s, its broken English phrase "All your base are belong to us" spread fast on the Net.

Here are other translation mistakes from the game:

Original Japanese

Broken English
Correct English
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
Engineer: Somebody has planted a bomb.
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Radio Operator: We're getting a video on the main screen
CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
CATS: Treasure what little time remains in your lives.
Captain: For great justice.
Captain: ...let there be hope for our future

In Summary

Memes are a great source of amusement and humor on the Web. But at the same time, it is sad that the Internet culture is focusing a lot of attention to broken English. Because of this, many Internet users are learning wrong grammar or becoming very comfortable with it. Some people, especially non-native speakers, might even think that it’s good style to copy the way lolcats and memes express themselves.

So my dear blog-reader, please be careful. You should try to distinguish whether something on the Net is made for serious purposes or only for comedy.

Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !

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