Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch

Because Internet

A linguistically informed look at how our digital world is transforming the English language. Language is humanity's most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive online commun...

Details Because Internet

TitleBecause Internet
Release DateJul 23rd, 2019
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreNonfiction, Humanities, Linguistics, Language, Science, Technology, Writing

Reviews Because Internet

  • Amanda
    The first book I've ever felt was written for ME: an Internet kid of a particular micro-generation, interested in examining my online life with as much respect and rigor as we apply to traditional literature and academic studies. I LOVED this book. I'll be buying copies for my dad, my little sister, and people of many ages in between.
  • NinjaMuse
    In brief: A linguist looks at the ways the internet has changed English, with digressions into internet culture as a whole.Full disclosure: This was a reading copy which I received through work, with the expectation that I would like it enough to review it and then order it for stock. This book is out July 23, 2019.Thoughts: This was a really interesting read, containing a lot of stuff I knew without knowing and also stuff I hadn’t thought abou...
  • Niklas Pivic
    This is as much a guide into the world of how living with internet—and all device-interconnected glories around it—has changed language and the ways in which we think, as it is a linguistic analysis into how language has become intertwined with internet.An example of when digital communications can be analysed:Even keysmash, that haphazard mashing of fingers against keyboard to signal a feeling so intense that you can’t even type real words...
  • Mehrsa
    Fascinating research about the evolution of online language and the differences between generations. I am not a digital native and so I always try to use good grammar in texts and tweets and I know that the cool young kids have a different way of interacting with it than I do. It was really nice to have the data to make sense of it. McCulloch has the coolest research agenda ever.
  • Jennie
    。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚ 4.5 stars 。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚Brilliant and joyful examination of language in the age of the internet. You'll learn something and you'll enjoy the ride. I think most people would find this interesting, but all you language/internet nerds out there will love it.
  • Ili Pika
    Because #IamOldA review of a book about the linguistics of the internet.I looked forward to this book because #IamOld and often puzzled by things I read on the internet and would like to understand them better. This book helped, in that I now know that the eggplant emoji is meant as a phallic symbol and that using a period at the end of a sentence may get me in trouble with a certain audience. Okay #helpful.Because #IamOld, I have been reading, a...
  • Jen
    This was super fun to listen to, and I'm glad that I opted to listen (the author's twitter posts about pronouncing keysmash and lol, etc. were a tipping point -- how could I, an dyed-in-the-wool internet denizen and audiobook aficionado, resist?).I thought it was really fascinating to hear my life described (I was an early internet person, first getting online in the heyday of IRC chat and I had files full of ASCII art in my non-graphical-interfa...
  • Sharon
    This is a fascinating and incredibly accessible look at how language has evolved in tandem with the internet. Although it's primarily about English, McCulloch is thoughtful about incorporating examples from around the world whenever possible.My personal favorite part of the analysis goes beyond typical generation names (Millennials, Gen-Xers, Boomers) to group people into linguistic cohorts: the way we talk to each other online is shaped more by ...
  • Anne-Cara
    I award this book five stars and all the internets; A++, would read again. (Very linguistics, much awesome, wow)
  • Jordan
    If you know just enough about Internet culture to be interested in this book than you'll probably get a lot from it. Know too little and the examples she uses will likely be inaccessible; know too much and you'll probably be bored. In either case, though, you might still find the analyses of the Internet's effects on non-Internet interactions to be interesting, and even Full Internet People (to use McCulloch's taxonomy) might not know all of the ...
  • Maciej Kuczyński
    a book about internet grammar? yes pleaseguess i should learn my lesson from it and start writing like this lolperhaps not but the book itself was really informative and i agree with almost everything the author saidher description of semi and full internet people is spot oni could totally assign people of my age into one or the other categoryi myself am the full internet person of course loli listened to the audiobook which was narrated by the a...
  • Robert Stevens
    My favorite quote from this enjoyable book is « Language is humanity’s most spectacular open source project. » I like this quote and will use it to combat the prescriptivists out there. If you are into linguistics, the internet, and culture, this is a book for you. The chapter on emoji as gesture is the strongest and I am particularly fond of the closing chapter. This book has the honor of being the first that had emojis and memes in the te...
  • Rina
    This was absolutely delightful and I flew through it!I love passionate people, and if Gretchen is one thing, she's passionate about internet language.Fuck yeah!
  • Ben
    This was excellent, an extremely well researched and optimistic study of how language develops (and has developed) on the internet. Found the generational differences particularly interesting. Probably the only book to examine the linguistic rules of an excited keyboard mash.
  • Johanna
    a very interesting, enjoyable read, written with great humour ( such as I believe only linguists are capable of tbh), way too many x-files fandom references, and a bonus trip down memory lane for the Full Internet People™ I am. I can't even begin to fathom how much work went into this!
  • Sophie Rayton
    A fun look at the development of language and communication through different technological advances.
  • Anya
    As a Full Internet Person and a language nerd (who probably would have studied linguistics had it been an option at her university), this book is RIGHT up my linguistic internet alley! I have been following Gretchen’s blog All Things Linguistic for years, and to see all her hard work culminate in this book is amazing!Have you ever had to explain to your parents why their texts come across as passive aggressive? Have you tried and failed to expl...
  • Alexander Smith
    This was an easy linguistic read of the Internet! All things considered this was a fun little romp through a lot of literature to explain how much online communication has progressed, and how much the Internet has done to create vast spaces of informal language.That said, I have some critiques:(1) This is a VERY high level survey of what the Internet has done for language and how it relates to histories of linguistics. I didn't really feel as tho...
  • Mary Cebalt
    I ended up being a little let down by this book. Maybe it was just that I was expecting something different. I was really hoping for more talk about current linguistics/language from the internet. It was heavily about the history of the internet, which definitely served a purpose and was necessary to understand the evolution of our language with the internet. But there seemed to be little actual discussion on the interesting linguistic aspects of...
  • Orla
    A must-read for anyone who cares about language and how it changes over time, and an invaluable weapon in any argument with fusty prescriptivists who lament the "dumbing down" of language. It's not dumbing down, it's evolving, and the internet gives us a unique opportunity to watch that evolution as it happens.I did my linguistics thesis on the influence of American movies on the speech of young Irish people, back before the internet was a widely...
  • Nathaniel
    Gretchen has been cult cool for years and it's exciting to see her go mainstream. This is a cogent, ambitious, and generously written introduction to internet linguistics. It's definitely more primer than encyclopedia, but is still extensively researched (with a strong foundation in social theory and internet history) and it makes some incisive explorations of individual features (the emoji chapter was so informative?? 😱). There's a prominent ...
  • Emily
    Full disclosure that the author is an internet pal, or at least a mutual social media follow, or whatever the right word is for someone From The Internet with whom you're not close but you've talked a few times and you are definitely inclined to rate their book highly.Anyway, in a sea of writing about the internet and / or the language of the Kids (or, yknow, 35-year-olds) These Days that doesn't really get it or respect it, this book stands out ...
  • Mary Beth
    McCulloch brings not only her linguistic background but also a bright, curious sense of optimism to her exploration of how language has evolved in a digital context: in social media and texting and so forth. She does a remarkable job of contextualizing changes in style and norms, making Because Internet a charming, breezily erudite look at the role of informal writing in human communication—and language itself as “humanity’s most spectacula...
  • Jay
    I follow McCulloch on Twitter and couldn't wait to read Because Internet. It's a fascinating read full of insightful examples of internet things that can be explained by (traditional) linguistics. I'd recommend Because Internet for those passages alone. Some of my favorites include:(view spoiler)[- how we delete keysmashes (f;askndf;kads vs. zcxmnvbczmxbv) if they don't look aesthetic enough- how we're able to type words like "omgggg" even though...
  • Seth Fiegerman
    A delightful and illuminating look at how the internet has changed language by allowing for more informal written expression than was true for centuries and giving us the tools to express ourselves physically in our writing, through emoji and emoticons. I give this book two :) :) up
  • Emily Stewart
    Non-fiction isn't my go-to for vacation reading, but this seemed promising and I was not disappointed. Because Internet is an engaging introduction to internet linguistics that definitely made me think about how I and others on social media communicate.
  • Stevo Brock
    This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 7/28, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet and Stevo's Novel Ideas. You can find me at, on my Stevo's Novel Ideas Amazon Influencer page (, on LinkedIn (, on Twitter ( or search for me on Google for many more reviews and r...
  • Megan Regel
    So funny, so on point, so good!