Oksana S. Taran
Ph. D. (Philology), Associate Professor,
Lviv Polytechnic National University
Maria O. Zaiats
Lviv Polytechnic National University
The article defines the concept of “Internet meme”, analyzes its main characteristics, defines the main types, describes the methodology of content analysis of memes.
The purpose of this study is to carry out a computer content analysis of memes, to identify their features, and to determine their functions.
Researchers analyzed 240 Internet memes about the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2022. Ukrainian social networks were used as the source of memes, the sampling period: from February to October 2022. The sample included memes of the content-image type with a verbal component (creolized memes) or without it (graphic memes).
Content analysis was carried out using MAXQDA software. The system of categories (codes) – formal and content – was developed. The formal categories of memes include the following: meme type, meme language, communication levels, topic. The content codes include vocabulary with such subcodes, as standard vocabulary, substandard vocabulary.
The analysis of memes with the help of formal categories showed that the most often occurred memes used in social networks are memes on military topic, which contain a verbal component in Ukrainian on the level of communication or some captions or inserts. The analysis of memes about the Russian-Ukrainian war on the lexical level showed that almost half of them contain substandard elements, among which ethnic slurs and obscenities dominate. Euphemisms and neologisms often create a satirical effect.
The article also defines the following functions of memes: entertaining, anti-stress, expressive, pragmatic, ethnic, identification, epistemological, of collective involvement. Verbal and visual components of creolized memes do not compete, but complement each other. The perspective of this study is the analysis of humorous techniques in verbal memes.
Key words: meme, code system, verbal, content analysis, MAXQDA, category.
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