Edited by Paolo Della Putta and Ferran Suñer
[Review of Cognitive Linguistics 21:1] 2023
► pp. 178–209
This paper explores the constructional properties of internet memes by conducting a case study of If 2020 was a(n) X (IYWX) memes within the framework of Viewpoint Spaces (Dancygier & Vandelanotte, 2017). By looking into constructional properties and viewpoint interactions at multiple conceptual levels evoked by the juxtaposition of text and an image, this paper aims to shed light on cases where extended meanings emerge as the cognizer’s expectation on the conventionalized use of the meme is flouted. IYWX memes reveal the meme maker’s stance toward the year 2020, either evaluative or depictive, with the help of the conditional construction and the pictorial presentation of X. This study also accounts for a third type, in which the de-conventionalized construal relies on the meme viewer’s expectation of the meme’s structure. This specific type is intriguing because it indicates that the conventional use of internet memes can be extended just as verbal constructions can.