Is “Algospeak” D@ngerous?

On today’s episode, Rachelle Hampton is joined by Alexia Fawcett, a PhD candidate in linguistics at UC Santa Barbara and Kendra Calhoun, an assistant professor of linguistic anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Calhoun and Fawcett wrote a presentation titled, “They edited out her nip-nops: Linguistic innovation as textual censorship avoidance on TikTok,” which explored both the ways in which and the reason behind why users have developed language like “unalived” and “seggs.” And while these neologisms originate on TikTok, their increasingly-wide adoption is causing concern among observers who notice a perhaps unnecessarily-broad softening of language across social media.

This podcast is produced by Se’era Spragley Ricks, Daisy Rosario, Rachelle Hampton and Candice Lim.

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Slate’s new digital culture podcast ICYMI is here to digest all the latest chaos, trends, and #drama from the web — so you don’t have to. And for that, we thank hosts Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton for their service. This bi-weekly podcast goes beyond the surface of our screens, covering not only what trouble the newest viral main character of social media got into, but also why it matters. It’s incisive, insightful, and miraculously always finds a way to cut through the static noise of the digital void to find the human side of it all.

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