lolcat literacy

I have been pondering about writing something about lolcats for quite a while, but lots of people have been commenting on them, so I have held back. However, I am increasingly concerned about the widespread tendency of people to understand lolcats as devoid of any education and sophisticated use of language. Some people patronizingly link lolcat-language to babyspeak. In order to draw attention to the growing discrimination against lolcats based on their perceived disability to write purrfick grammr I decided to make this small survey of lolcat literacy available to my discerning readers.

Consider this stereotypical view of lolcats, blatantly accused of causing illiteracy!


Lolcats are being accused of degrading the English language with their ignorance and apathy.

Contrary to popular belief many lolcats have a keen interest in language and learning. In fact, many lolcats claim desks and libraries to be their favourite places.

lolcat in dictionary verbing your nouns

lolcat imporving her range of vocabulary

lolcat lost in reading

lolcat lost in reading

library lolcat

lolcat browsing library

lolcat grabbed by story plot

It is not just the materiality of books locats are fascinated with. Lolcats love reading books. Studies have shown that lolcats prefer reading novels of the fantasy genre over all other genres. Lolcat reading includes Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”, C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and of course, “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling.

The following case study shows that lotcat literacy is a situated social practice.

The average lolcat overcomes initial difficulties motivated by her desire to communicate and stay in touch.

technorati lolcat

Locats have shown a great admiration for the beauty of the English language, always trying to improve their literacy skills, expanding their range of vocabulary, and even master punctuation.

literacy lolcat improving her grammar

Literate lolcat improving her grammar.

apostrophe lolcat

Lolcat using apostrophe where it should.

Here are some samples of lolcast using big words almost correctly. This serves to show: lolcats are not cognitively challenged!

Lolcts have a also a great affinity for computers. Most of them are digitally literate, many of them keen bloggers or wikipedia editors. An empirical study of over 1500 cats has shown that 89% percent of lolcats own a computer and a high speed internet connection. (Infintecate.com 2007)

Lolcat demography

Here is a sad example of lolcat discrimination – an innocent lolcat accused of stealing the internets, while in reality many lolcats are highly trained computer specialists.

Discrimination against lolcats has been compared with sexual and racial discrimination, however leading lolcats claim that it is all about being a cat. Some people express such phobia of lolcats that they want to get rid of them alltogether. “We must rid the internet of not only LOLCATs, but of all cats.” says downwiththeinternets, (2008)

Despite all prejudices, discrimination and social disadvantages and long gruelling work hours many lolcats are successful high school and university graduates. However, until now only a few are holding respectable teaching and research positions in universities.

lolcat studying for exam

Lolcat studying for exam.

lolcat writing dissertation

Lolcat writing dissertation.

Lolcat writing thesis

Studies have shown that lolcats on average do not cheat or plagiarize more that the human population.

lolcat physics

Lolcat scholars are known to employ creative methodologies, thinking both inside and outside the box.

Lolcats have been accused of being politically indifferent by being impossibly cuddly. But having attractive looks does not indicate low intelligence (necessarily)! Some lolcast have been forming oppositional political movements, as you can see here – a radical locat activist politizising – dismissing derogative assumptions about lolcat language and culture.

We would argue with Ethan Zuckerman that “Web 2.0 was created to allow people to share pictures of cute cats.” Zuckerman states that pictures of cute cats may be an important part of political activism as “making activism viral probably means making it funny as well as political and heart-wrenching.” (The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism, 2008)

theory lolcat

Locat theorizing

It is about time locats receive the respect they deserve. The MIT is one of the first universities to open their catdoors to lolcats and locats lovers. Read more about a recent lolcat panel discussion “I can haz case study?” at ROFLcon held at the MIT.

Guardian (2008) Internet celebs gather to swap memes

Wired (2008) ROFLCon: It’s Not Easy Being Memes

Cat Power http://www.slate.com/

Chiu Kevin (April 25 2008) Really Short Summary: LOLCATS Panel: I CAN HAZ CASE STUDY? ROFLCon

Dash Anil (April 23, 2007) Cats can has Grammar http://www.dashes.com/

Dash Anil (April 30, 2007) Cats, Comics, and Closure http://www.dashes.com/

ELFN 2007 (April 24th, 2007) LOLspeak as a Second Language (LKSL-101) in Five Easy Steps

Green Joshua (2007) Oh Hai! Cats, the internet, and tactical communities #19 receiver magazine http://www.receiver.vodafone.com/

Herwig, Jana (April 27 2008) Niedlichkeit als kulturelles Bindeglied (Online wie Offline) http://digiom.wordpress.com/

Higgins Chris (April 19, 2007) Image Macros: I’m in Your X, Y’ing Your Z http://www.mentalfloss.com/

Icanhascheesebuger.com

icanhascheezburger.com/some-links/

Pedantic overanalysis of LOLcats not pedantic enough, says blowhard http://www.boingboing.net

Linguistic Mystic ( May 29 2007) im in ur programmz, codin in ur dialect: LOLCode and Feline Dialectology linguisticmystic.com

Linguistic Mystic (Feb 7 2007) im in mai blog, postin’ bout cats: The Cuteness of Grammatical errors linguisticmystic.com

Lischka Konrad (2008) Kindliches Kätzchen-Englisch überrollt Netzforen Spiegel online spiegel.de

Lolcat wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolcat

Lolspeak Wiki SpeakLOLspeak

Merchant Guy (May 28 2007) Lolcats myvedana.blogspot.com

McRaney David (May 8 2007) A Special In-Depth Analysis by – L337 Katz0rz

Newitz Annalee (Jan 22 2008) Evolution Explains Why Lolcats Control Your Mind http://io9.com/

Robin (April 18th, 2007) I Can Has Talking Animals? http://www.radioopensource.org

Thomas Angela (July 23, 200) Lolcats Literacies: oh hai… pass me teh towel? http://angelaathomas.com/

Zuckerman Ethan (March 8 2008) The Cute Cat Theory Talk at ETech http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/

Related:

LOLTrek Start Trek meets lolspeak

HOBOTOPIA Hand drawn comic strip about stray lolcats, based on lolcat meme

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39 Responses to “lolcat literacy”

  1. freyar Says:

    Was an excellent read. I am obviously a bit daft when it comes to knowing the entire scope of lolcat relations, but at the same time everyone ought to just shrug and take it for what it is, a funny joke.

    Needless to say, the cats win.

  2. Sigrid Says:

    thanks for your comment :-) I guess there are few people who know all about locats. I just felt like sharing a few of my favorites and take the whole lolcat thing further :-)

  3. Busting a myth: Lolcats and literacy « !anaj ,em s’taht Says:

    [...] to, just wrote a very nice article about Lolcats and their misconception as illiterate creatures: lolcat literacy. ‘nough said: Read for [...]

  4. axinia Says:

    What a brillinat post!!! enjoyed it a lot… a post of a viral naure (will sent it all over to those who understand) :)))

    TANKZ!

  5. Colleen Says:

    In 1979, one of our local schools was required to teach African American children using what came to be known as Ebonics. It recognized that there was an underlying grammar to how the children spoke, and that their language usage was an English dialect, not simply “bad grammar”.

    What fascinates me about lolcats is that there is an underlying grammar and orthography. Maybe we can get a federal judge to rule that cats must be taught in their native dialect when they go to school.

  6. Sigrid Says:

    I read a study about African American children’s talk in that vein – I forgt the reference.
    I agree, the longer the phenomenon goes on the more certain spellings and phrases turn into new conventions, like the spelling of “kitteh,” and that process is fascinating to watch. I am all for lolcats being taught their own native dialect :-)

  7. Rudolf Says:

    Oh Hai !

    I fully agree with Sigrid! It is really fascinating to see a “new” language coming into existence and to observes how its own rules are being created by and in its usage.

    “Pidgin”does not apply here. “Pidgin” or “Pigeon” finds it origin in wars in which carrier pigeons carried messages and could only carry a limited area of paper, usually sealed in a very small canister attached to a leg. Since writing space was very limited, all sorts of abbreviations were used, leading to “pigeon” speak. (Not only in English).

    Furthermore, in English, orthography is, in many cases, “funny”. And so is sentence building (and grammar in general) when compared to other languages that are far more sophisticated like French, German, Russian etc.

    So, Lolspeak is a very refreshing alternative that is innovating, funny, simple, logical (!) and kitteh-related. It also makes sense.

    When trying to explain some Heisenberg viewpoints to some of my physics students at the university here, I have used lolspeak more than once and it works amazingly well to convey some of the more complex constructions. Of course, I also allow it in exams.

    Kthxbai,

    Rudolf.

  8. Robert Mark Bram Says:

    Vry cool. The lolcat pics I meen. Dun reed wordz less theyz in lolcatz. :)

  9. Sigrid Says:

    Hi Rudolf, sorry I never got round to reply to your thoughtful post. I would love to know more about how you use lolspeak for teaching physics -that really blows my mind!
    Sigrid

  10. Miss Poppy Dixon Says:

    It sounds to me that there’s a little smidgeon of Kazakhstani in LOLCAT. You like?

    I’d love to hear what you all think of teh LOLCAT Bible Translation Project:
    http://www.lolcatbible.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

  11. Katie Says:

    Great post, love it. I’ve been educating some lecturers at the university I work at about lolcats and lolcat speak. I accidentally wrote in lolcat in an email about meeting up for lunch: “can has own foods” or something similar. Now I just need to find more lolcat posts concerning digital literacy and information society and I’ll have them sold on the idea! ;^)

  12. Happy cats bro Says:

    Iz lik tis… itz beeen a resorcez for mi lol catz UVersity. wi trean cat lawerz :D. Thakz! ~HAPPY CAT’s BROTHER KIBBLE I haz a phd in catnip genetics and a phd in teachin but i fail grammer :( sniff catisum strikes agenz.

  13. Organiser Girl » links for 2008-08-30 Says:

    [...] n lolcat literacy « word and image [...]

  14. brandon Says:

    ROLFMAO

  15. word and image Says:

    [...] this just proves my point about locat literacy and I guess I just have to add this alphabet book to my recent ABC book [...]

  16. lolcat literacy and alphabet books » lolcat.us Says:

    [...] this just proves my point about locat literacy and I guess I just have to add this alphabet book to my recent ABC book [...]

  17. kennedy Says:

    cute pix!

  18. lolcat literacy update « word and image Says:

    [...] literacy update By Sigrid Here is a long overdue update to my earlier post on lolcat literacy. More evidence supporting the notion that most lolcats are not only proficient in numeracy and [...]

  19. Lolcats and popbitches | websites | Says:

    [...] 100th posting on this blog. So to celebrate I thought I’d write about something very important: lolcats. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a lolcat is a (usually cute) picture of cats or [...]

  20. Lolcats and popbitches | iphones | Says:

    [...] 100th posting on this blog. So to celebrate I thought I’d write about something very important: lolcats. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a lolcat is a (usually cute) picture of cats or [...]

  21. TopCat Says:

    That was very amusing. I love this blog. I have been searching and making lolcats for many many many years, and I really like this “deep” evaluation on this subject. Furthermore, I would like to say that this was… totally wicked!!!1!!

  22. emily Says:

    wow those are fuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  24. Sigrid Says:

    thank you for all your positive comments!
    Sigrid

  25. paul Says:

    this is crap !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Using Wordpress Wiki | Top Social Media Optimization Says:

    [...] WordPress Wiki "Using WordPress Wiki" image from: http://wordandimage.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/lolcat-literacy/ "Using WordPress Wiki" on [...]

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  28. acidania Says:

    loooooooooooool I like very muh those picts! LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL so funny!!!

  29. Fuzzy Logic Says:

    Ha,So much WIN!

  30. Lol + Cat = Lolcats! Lol. « babae. haliparot. dakila. alitaptap. Says:

    [...] Image form HERE. [...]

  31. Lol+Cats=Lolcats. LOL. | Editor-at-Large Says:

    [...] Image from HERE. [...]

  32. Lolcat Literacy « Lizzy is a pre-service teacher Says:

    [...] http://wordandimage.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/lolcat-literacy/ [...]

  33. lolcat literacy (via word and image) « Looking Forward Says:

    [...] I have been pondering about writing something about lolcats for quite a while, but lots of people have been commenting on them, so I have held back. However, I am increasingly concerned about the widespread tendency of people to understand lolcats as devoid of any education and sophisticated use of language. Some people patronizingly link lolcat-language to babyspeak. In order to draw attention to the growing discrimination against lolcats based … Read More [...]

  34. Free Bible Commentaries Says:

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  35. enty Says:

    LOL

  36. Funny Animals Says:

    Funny Animals…

    [...]lolcat literacy « word and image[...]…

  37. cat Says:

    so true

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