“INNIT, BRUV” AS GRAMMAR. McWhorter says that the process that makes “LOL” a way of signaling empathy is operating also in speech. He gives the example of “You know what I’m sayin’?”— sometimes, he says, pronounced as “noam sayin’?” or even “Msehn?” McWhorter says “You know what I’m saying” —however, pronounced—“is now a piece of grammar, soliciting the same sense of empathy and group membership that LOL does.” I posted here about Loki-69’s comments: “I think Shakespear needs to talk in modern English, innit, bruv?” and “It’s brilliant, innit, blud?” It occurs to me that these phrases perform the same grammatical function as “LOL”, soliciting, to use McWhorter’s words, a “sense of empathy and group membership”.

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