Have you ever been so flustered, amused, frustrated, or surprised that you… just… lkajhslkasdf?
Well, Allison Park sure has, and they’ve turned their experience with the online practice of keysmashing into a topic of serious linguistic study. In their recent paper ‘On the linguistic behavior of keysmashes’, Allison argues that keysmashes are fundamentally linguistic, behaving according to many of the normal criteria used for establishing that expression is ‘language’, like semanticity, standards of form, and arbitrariness. Then, Park goes on to evaluate the kinds of criteria which go into people’s judgements about whether a keysmash is ‘well formed’ and ‘acceptable’, finding that not only do keysmashes have to be the right length and have the right amount of repetition, but that the location on the keyboard of the characters used is crucial, along with other important characteristics.
For more information about this work, their findings, and the social, linguistic, and communicative goals of keysmashing, have a look at San Diego Linguistics Papers Issue 11 on eScholarship.
San Diego Linguistic Papers is the working papers archive of the Department of Linguistics at UC San Diego.