Such Syntax, Much Meme: A Linguistic Analysis of Memes and Their Structural Syntax

But, how?


For this research project, we collected 360 memes from the KnowYourMeme website. These 360 memes come from 12 meme templates that we chose, with each meme template having 30 examples. In order to avoid bias in our research, we decided that it would be best practice to choose the first 30 that come up after searching the name of the meme on the KnowYourMeme site, while keeping class-appropriateness in mind. Once these were chosen, we compiled our courpus on to our GitHub repository.

From there, we created and agreed upon a schema that would keep us tagging our memes in a consistent way. With this schema in mind, and evenetually associated to all of our XML documents, we transcribed and marked up all 360 of our memes.

Each of these memes were tagged so that you could see each phrase in their simplest forms. For example, we tagged almost every individual word, and sometimes couple of words, to show noun phrases, verb phrases, and prepositional phrases. These phrases were also given attributes to show whether or not they met the criteria of being or having a subject or an object. When no subject was present in the sentence fragment, a null subject empty element was created in order to continue to track where our subjects were/weren't.