Third Year Modules Choices

For my final year I am studying four modules: Gender, (Im)Politeness and Power in Language; Critical Discourse Analysis; The Sociolinguistics of Language Contact; and a Language Project (dissertation).

Gender, (Im)Politeness and Power in Language focuses on how speakers use language to construct gender and also investigates language differences between genders. WE have covered core theories in Gender research and have looked at gender within the framework of politeness theory. We have also taken a historical approach to language and gender studies including looking at the Deficit, Dominance and Difference approaches to language variation between sexes. The deficit model was championed by Otto Jespersen (1922) where he discussed women’s language as deviating from the male norm. The dominance model was advocated by Robin Lakoff (1975) who believed patterns in male language are manifestations of patriarchal dominance and that language differences between sexes existed to put male speakers in a superior position and female speakers in a inferior position. Still in the dominance approach, Dale Spender (1980) commented that language confirms our suspicions of male superiority and female inferiority. She argued that language is inherently sexist and that features of language such as the male being the superordinate and the female being the subordinate (e.g. lion as the norm vs. lioness as the feminine marked category) was proof that language is inherently sexist. The difference model, espoused by Maltz and Borker (1982) proposed that, as children, boys and girls are socialised into different social categories and as a result develop different distinct communicative styles. The result is two categories who speak differently and have different communicative aims in language, for example Maltz and Borker claimed that men’s language is fact oriented whereas women’s language is relationship oriented. Deborah Tannen (1990) developed this by positing what she called ‘report’ and ‘rapport’: the idea that men’s speech focuses on reporting facts and information whereas women’s speech focuses upon building and maintaining relationships. A development of this difference model was the dynamism model (see Cameron 2007), the idea that gender is dynamic and constantly changing.

Critical Discourse Analysis teaches a range of approaches that have been developed in critical linguistics to understand how language uses (or discourses) enforce and challenge power relations in society. It incorporates an introduction to theories, approaches and perspectives in critical discourse analysis including analysis of lexical choice, modality, transitivity, text patterns, argument structure, figures of speech (including metaphor) and style. It also includes the teaching of the practical analysis of language and includes the explanation of methods that can be used in the critical discourse analysis including the discourse-historical approach, the discourse-space approach, critical metaphor analysis and rhetorical theory as well as showing how some existing concepts to such as cohesion, coherence, narrative structure, genre and classical rhetoric may be adapted to a critical linguistics perspective. The module also integrates the description, interpretation and explanation of the ideologies that underlie specific texts (interviews, speeches, media reports etc.) through analysis of relevant linguistic features (e.g. lexis, modality, transitivity, metaphor and argument structure) as well as teaching how the systematic analysis of metaphor (critical metaphor analysis) can contribute to our understanding of discourse.

The Sociolinguistics of Language Contact is concerned with developing an an understanding of approaches to bilingualism and language contact. The module covers a range of topics including grammatical and lexical borrowing between languages, types of code-switching and explanations for these, the sociolinguistic aspects of bilingualism and methods used to study bilingualism and language contact. We have looked at a wide range of varying topics including:

  • Definitions of Bilingualism
  • Definitions of Language contact
  • Bilingualism in relation to cognition, education, first language acquisition and second language acquisition
  • Interference and transfer
  • Borrowing and code-switching
  • Sociolinguistic aspects of language contact and bilingualism including attitudes, domains, proficiency and identity
  • The contact structures of a number of immigrant languages including pidgins and creoles
  • Linguistic identity, language attitudes and integration within and between the            communities

My language project, or dissertation, gives me the opportunity to study and develop a topic of my own choosing under the guidance of an assigned project supervisor. The final piece is 9000 words long and has to demonstrate an ability to independently carry out a research project in English Language and Linguistics, including conceptualising and researching a topic for investigation, planning out all project phases, data collection (or sampling of texts), analysis and project write-up an well as demonstrating an ability to use computational tools such as concordancing programmes, statistical analysis tools, Wordsmith or CLAN to handle numerical data and analyse texts. For my project I am investigating sub-genre variation in political discourse. I am investigating a U.S. politician (Hillary Clinton) to see whether, and if so in what ways, her speech varies within different sub-genres of political discourse. I will be using a corpus-based approach to investigate her use of personal pronouns between three sub-genre of political discourse: Presidential Debates, On The Trail Campaign Speeches and Talk Show Interview. These three contexts display varying levels of formality as well as differing audiences and as a result the speaker should use different communicative styles for each.




Hiatus over

After taking almost a year and a half break from blogging to focus on my studies and to gain some much-valued work experience I have decided to start blogging again. This post is going to be a summary of what I have done since my last post and what I plan to be doing in the future.

My last post was on the 5th September 2014 titled ‘Speech and Language Therapy Research Work Experience Journal’ and detailed my time at the Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit (BSLTRU). Since then I have completed my second year of university and am now two-thirds of the way through my third (and final) year.

From the start of 2015 I took part in a volunteering programme at the Bristol Royal Infirmary as an outpatient Speech and Language Therapy volunteer. This involved meeting up with a person with acquired communication difficulties once a week and helping them to work towards ‘real-life’ goals such as ordering a drink in a loud cafe or helping them slow down their speech to aid coherence. I volunteered for the programme for about six months in total and learnt so much, varying from how the NHS works to learning specific strategies to help people with communication difficulties. The staff and members of BRI (North Bristol NHS Trust) were brilliant and helped me at every step they could, something for which I am very grateful.

For my second year of university I passed with a first and so progressed into my third year head-on. For my final year I am studying four modules: Gender, (Im)Politeness and Power in Language; Critical Discourse Analysis; The Sociolinguistics of Language Contact; and a Language Project (dissertation). I will be writing a separate blog post talking about these modules.

In November (2015) I applied for a place on the Masters Language and Linguistics programme at Lancaster University. I applied on the Friday and on the following Monday I received an email saying my application had been accepted and that I had been offered a place on the course. I firmly accepted the offer and will begin studies there October this year (2016). Lancaster’s linguistics department is world renowned for their Linguistics research and some of the biggest names in the world of linguistics teach there. The department specialises in corpus approaches to language as well as discourse studies.

That summarises my absence from blogging and I am going to try to post regularly (once a month) until I start my Masters degree.



Speech and Language Therapy Research Work Experience Journal

When I first sent out an email to the Bristol Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit detailing my interests in Speech and Language Therapy and that I would like to partake in some voluntary work experience, it was very daunting. Having visited the website beforehand and looked at the Research Team it was almost as if I were daring to ask to be placed amongst a team of such experienced people who between them seemed to have this massive expanse of knowledge.

Of course this sense of nervousness soon left when my email was replied to and I was told that there was an opportunity for work experience at the research unit. Immediately I felt a sense of excitement at the prospect of being able to gain work experience in a professional research environment that also has close links to my university.

I think of my three months of work experience as being split into two sections: pre and post my two week visit to Thailand in July.
Something that struck me on beginning my placement at the research unit was how female dominated Speech and Language therapy is. Having done research into Speech and Language therapy as a profession prior to my placement I had read that over 82% of speech and language therapists are female. To be completely honest this made for a nice break as having grown up with two brothers it was nice to move away from such a competitive environment to one where everyone was so welcoming and treated each other with such approbation.

My first task was checking pairs of transcripts of the same audio transcribed by different people for reliability and working out the percentage of same or equivalent phonemes transcribed and also working out a percentage for the difference between the transcripts. This work introduced me to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children or ‘ALSPAC’. Having grown up in Bristol my whole life and being (along with all my friends) ‘Children of the 90s’ it was incredibly interesting to learn of such a world-leading study in my own city. ALSPAC is one of the most in depth studies of its kind and holds a wealth of information about the environmental and genetic factors that affect health and development and so to be involved in anything to do with it was a privilege.

After checking the reliability of 48 pairs of transcripts, I moved on to a data management and processing task which involved using a computer to locate, identify and relocate ALSPAC audio files to then be later sent off to America. In this task, I managed to successful move or ‘batch’ 322 sets of three audio files.

These data management and processing tasks were quite laborious and required considerable time and effort but the knowledge I gained made that irrelevant as I know I have learnt so much from working on them whether it was honing my phonetic skills or researching about ALSPAC in my own time. At times it was challenging to do quite repetitive work but the pros far outweighed any cons.

I completed the ALSPAC work the day before I left for Thailand (4th July). On my return on the 23rd July I immediately began work on transcribing audio of an aphasia discussion group where interviewers were asking four aphasia sufferers ‘If you could change one thing about your communication, what would it be?’. I found myself learning a vast amount from the task as it introduced aphasia to me, something which I knew little about previously and is greatly focused upon within Speech and Language therapy and psycholinguistics.

Upon completing the transcription task, I then started writing lay summaries for published journals and articles by members of the research team. I managed to complete six lay summaries, ranging in focus from what it is like living with a sufferer of semantic dementia to defining communication disability response to the World Report on Disability. This writing not only taught me a huge amount regarding speech and language therapy but also aided me in developing my skills for both academic writing and writing for a lay audience.

When I finally completed all the work I was asked to do (and more as I completed much of it ahead of schedule) I felt a sense of achievement I had not experienced before. The reason for this was because at university it is very straight forward: you study hard and as a result you get a good grade and whilst you are happy with that good grade you are not surprised as it is the result of the effort you put in; similarly if you achieve a poor grade it is because of the effort that was not put in. Whereas when I completed a large sum of work the result was that I felt I had accomplished something more because I was in a professional environment completing work that had importance. Completing a task to a high standard in such an environment was very rewarding as I had to use not only knowledge but apply intuition, use professional skills and even judge and identify problems, aspects that are rarely tested at university and therefore to be told I had exceled in such a task which tested me beyond anything I had done before was incredibly fulfilling.

My placement has also been what could be called ‘eventful’. Just five days after I started I was driving to the unit through Frenchay with my windows open and a low flying (what some may call suicidal) pigeon flew into my driver’s side window managing to hit me in the side of the head and tumble down into my foot well and become trapped underneath my pedals. I of course immediately slammed on my breaks narrowly missing crashing into the wall that ran alongside the road; I had the rest of the day off and written on the whiteboard my absence was noted as plain and simply ‘hit by pigeon’. Just over a fortnight later I finished work to come out to my car to see my off-side mirror had been what can only be described as destroyed, presumably by someone who decided to drive just a few inches to close. I am pleased to say after these two ‘events’ my placement went without any more major problems.

My time at the Bristol Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit gave me an invaluable insight into both what it is like to work in a professional environment and also what it is like to work in a research based environment. I was able to talk about speech and language therapy as a career with members of the research team and I really do feel I have gained a wide understanding of Speech and Language Therapy and all the different aspects it covers.

Looking ahead to the future, this work experience has allowed me to acquire transferable skills and the experience to enable me to hit the ground running when I start my first ‘proper’ job after my studies, something which not many students can say. The experience I gained from my placement was not only academic and professional but also personal. I have gained a lot of confidence throughout my placement and also I proved to myself that I am an able and capable person that can rise to the occasion.

I am very thankful to have worked at the research unit and to have completed my time there with such ease and I am indebted to everyone there for helping me learn so much and develop myself on both a knowledge and personal level.

Looking at Aphasia and Semantic Dementia

Aphasia (sometimes known as dysphasia) is a condition that affects the brain and leads to the inability or impaired ability to both understand and produce speech due to progressive or sudden brain trauma or damage. Aphasia can be defined as a ‘communication disability’ and it is caused by the damage of the communication centres within the brain. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke (disturbance in the blood supply to the brain) but it is also caused by brain haemorrhages (an artery in the brain bursting and causing bleeding in the surrounding tissue, the bleeding kills brain cells) and brain tumours (a growth of cells in the brain that multiply uncontrollably). There is also a condition called Primary Progressive Aphasia although the cause of this is undecided. Sufferers of aphasia make errors in their speech and at times use the wrong sounds in a word, choose the wrong word or use words together incorrectly. Aphasia affects writing as well as speech. Many individuals with aphasia find it challenging to understand words and sentences they hear or read.

Aphasia affects different people differently. Some people cannot speak at all whereas some can speak; this ranging from use of only a few words to more complex sequences of words. Aphasia can also have an effect on a person’s capability to be able to read, write and also understand or use numbers. Aphasia is incredibly common in the UK, every 11 minutes three people have a stroke ( On average, a third of those people will have aphasia. In addition there are people who have aphasia due to other conditions (brain tumours or haemorrhages).

There are several types of aphasia, the diagnosis depends upon which area of the communications centre in the brain is most damaged.

‘Broca’s Aphasia’ (also referred to as non-fluent or expressive aphasia) is when a person speaks with short sentences due to not being able to find the words they need to form a complete sentence. These sentences often make sense but they require great effort to produce.

Another type of aphasia is ‘Wernicke’s aphasia’ (also referred to as fluent or receptive aphasia) is when a person speaks in long sentences that may not have meaning or may even make up words. The aphasic person is able to speak normally and use complex sentences, but the words they use do not make sense or they include non-existent words in their speech. A big implication of Wernicke’s aphasia is that many sufferers are often unaware their spoken language makes no sense and may become frustrated when other don’t understand them.

Global aphasia is when the aphasia is very severe, it causes a virtually total reduction of all areas of spoken and written language

Primary Progressive Aphasia is a different kind of aphasia which is characterised by the fact that improvement does not occur over time and rather it is progressive as opposed to being caused by an event such as a stroke. Primary progressive aphasia is degenerative meaning sufferers will continue to lose their ability to speak, read, write, and understand spoken language. It is not caused by stroke or head injury but typically starts as trouble with articulating words which progresses to a total inability to speak.

 Semantic Dementia is a form of Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) charcterised by the loss of speech related abilities such as finding words when talking and also naming people, places and objects and also finding it hard understanding other people’s speech but whilst still being able to do other things the same. Semantic dementia is a language disorder in which sufferers demonstrate a progressive deterioration of word comprehension, especially nouns and recognizing objects while other cognitive abilities remain oddly intact.

The categorising feature of semantic dementia is difficulty in generating or recognising familiar words. For example, when a patient is presented with a picture of a ‘dog’, they can neither say what it is nor can do they recognise the word when it is told to them, the patient will usually  characteristically ask “what is ‘dog’?” when told what the picture is. This happens for rare words first and then common nouns later on. Verbs usually aren’t affected.

The amount of stress the people who care (care givers) for those with semantic dementia are put under is often very great. People who have a relative with this illness often find themselves having to adapt to dealing with a new person because semantic dementia often causes changes in personality. It is very hard to talk with sufferers and to connect with as them as they often will only talk about subjects that interest them and these are often very arbitrary topics. Not being able to connect leads to much emotional stress.


Discovering ALSPAC


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Discovering ALSPAC

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) is a large scale study of children in Avon, England born during the 1990s. The programme is also often referred to as The Children of the 90s. It is a study of genetic and environmental factors contributing to long term health and development.

ALSPAC is a longitudinal study, that is to say it is a correlational research study that involves repeated observations of the same variables over long periods of time to provide results that demonstrate a concordant pattern. A long-term and large-scale population study, ALSPAC is a study of the biological and environmental influences affecting a person’s health. The ALSPAC project obtained a mass of health and lifestyle data collated from questionnaires completed by parents, physical examinations of children, health records, biological sample analysis and tests on the home environment and also by the children themselves.

ALSPAC is used by researchers in health, education and other social science disciplines all over the world. The study is hosted at the University of Bristol and was initially led by Jean Golding and is now directed by George Davey Smith.


Subsequently ALSPAC has become known as an invaluable resource to researchers around the world investigating child health issues and the causes and prevention of childhood ailments and disorders.


Economic and Social Research Council


Over 14,000 mothers signed up to ALSPAC during pregnancy in 1991 and 1992, and the health and development of their children has been followed in great detail ever since. ALSPAC families have provided an array of genetic and environmental information over the years. This resource is assisting scientists with research into a wide range of health problems.

The ALSPAC project focused on gathering data from a geographically defined population from the West of England, collected as part of the European Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ELSPAC). The child has been followed since the 8th gestational week and at various ages between 0-7 years. Detailed data on pregnancy (clinical and biological markers including maternal blood samples), birth, child growth, socioeconomic circumstances and outcome (blood pressure, lipids, weight and height) are available. More detailed nutritional data are available for about 1,000 children. Over 8,500 children have been seen at age 7 years and 70% of these gave a blood sample.


A brief Timeline of ALSPAC questionnaires


A sample of 14,541 pregnancies with a mother as a resident in Avon with an expected date of delivery between 1 April 1991 and 31 December 1992 is created. Resulting in 14,062 live born children entering the study

During pregnancy questionnaires regarding medical history and physical health of the mother and grandparents were completed by mothers. Other data also obtained from mothers included exposure to environmental pollutants / electrical equipment, sleeping patterns or deprivation, diet, caffeine and alcohol consumption, smoking and use of illegal drugs. Information on the psychological wellbeing of the parents was also obtained. Socio economic situation including neighbourhood was also acquired.

Questionnaires completed by the mother, about the mother at four regular periods during the pregnancy continuing annually after the birth of the child to a total until the child reached 12 years.

During early years of the child, data regarding health, lifestyle (sleep patterns, diet and physical activity) and development were collected. A series of questionnaires about the child to be completed by the child were sent out, beginning at 5 years of age and continuing until 16. In addition the mother completed a questionnaire about the child over a similar time span until the child reached 16 years of age.


ALSPCAC has led to some major outcomes. Some of the latest findings include:

High lead levels in blood could lead to premature births 14 May 2014

Men who started smoking before age 11 had fatter sons 02 April 2014

Frequent childhood nightmares may indicate an increased risk of psychotic traits 28 February 2014


Long gone are the days of paper notes…


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If you are like me then you would have made the shift from written notes to electronic notes or ‘e-notes’ a long time ago. But I am still the minority, out of the sixty people on my course I can safely say less than a fifth of the people make electronic notes but for me they are the clear winner.

The two main contenders in the world of note making software are Microsoft’s OneNote and the increasingly popular Evernote. Both of them have similar features: you can handwrite or type notes, both allow for syncing to the cloud for in order to keep all your devices updated and both have note sharing capabilities so it is even easier to share notes with other people.

My note software of choice is OneNote, for me it is the better software but I will come to that later. The deciding reason that made me consider using note taking software was simple, organisation. You can be the perfect student but if you have poor organisation you will not get far in the world of academia.

At first I was sceptical as the only electronic notes I had ever made before was with Microsoft Word and for organisation it simply consisted of  ‘folder1’ and ‘folder 2’, not exactly suitable for university. The key ‘feature’ I looked for when choosing which note making software to use was simplicity. I use an iPad for university for that very reason, they are simple and get the job done, no prior knowledge of IT needed. So, it was even more important that the app I was going to use on my iPad was easy to use but still diverse. My ‘criteria’ were as follows: firstly it couldn’t just be plain text I was making notes in, I needed an application which allowed me to insert pictures, hyperlinks and even handwriting at times; secondly, I needed my notes everywhere, by this I mean that I wanted an app that synced my notes with other devices, so I could make my notes in my lecture and by the time I had walked home they would be on my laptop waiting for me to edit, revise from and print off.

Both Evernote and OneNote are full to the brim with features and at first it can be daunting when their websites have these vast lists of why they are the superior service, but I have whittled down the key similarities and differences between the two;

1/ Both organise your notes into folders which in turn can have various sub folders. The main difference here is the way that they are organised; both apps use a similar system, you have notebooks which inside them have various subfolders and in those subfolders are ‘pages’ where you write your notes down. Notebooks are groups of individual notes. Potentially, you could have one universal notebook and use that for everything, but I have tried and tested that method and it doesn’t work. Most people create different notebooks for different topics, that is to say that you could have a folder (known as ‘stacks’ in Evernote) called ‘English’ and within that two notebooks called ‘literature’ and ‘language’.

But, the apps differ slightly in that Evernote organises its notebooks as ‘stacks’, these stacks are collections of notebooks. For example, you could have a stack called “Uni” that has separate notebooks for each topic. It is easier to think of these stacks and notebooks as a traditional filing cabinet. Stacks would be the individual drawers and notebooks would be the different sets of paper stapled together in the drawers and then pages are the pieces of paper themselves.
Here is an example of organisation in Evernote…


In this image, ‘Notebooks’ at the top would count as the stack, ‘Personal’ as the note book, and ‘Home Renovation Inspirations’ as a page (note a ‘page’ is not limited to a single page in length)

OneNote’s design is similar but it based upon the idea of a ring binder. Notebooks are selected from a drop down menu (which can be pinned to the side of the screen permanently). Once you have accessed a notebook, similar to most internet browsers you see nowadays, there are ‘tabs’ across the top, much in the style of a ring binder, each of the tabs is a different section of the notebook and then finally once a tab is selected on the far right of the screen is a list comprising the different pages within that section of the notebook.


This is a screenshot from the OneNote app on my computer. ‘English Past Present and Future’ is the notebook I have selected by clicking on the drop down menu and selecting it, and as you can see within that are the different coloured tabs at the top, e.g. I had selected ‘TB2 LecSem4’ and within that as seen on the far right are the different pages of notes, once again note a ‘page’ is not limited to a single page in length.

2/ Both apps have a huge range of text formatting options, (talking about the iPad versions) on OneNote it is the typical Microsoft Office style ribbon which allows you to do anything you can do on Microsoft Word. Evernote is similar to this and gives you a banner at the bottom of the screen which has similar features but I dare say it is lacking in comparison to the plethora of features that are made available to you with the Microsoft Office style ribbon with OneNote.

3/ Multimedia note taking is another feature which many may see as a deciding factor as in a modern technological age more than just the ability to write plain text is needed. This is where there is a back and forth between the two applications. Evernote allows brilliantly innovative features such as their ‘web clipper’ feature which allows you to select a webpage and save a simplified or full version of it to an Evernote notebook, this comes in handy especially for design related courses. Both apps allow you to insert audio, pictures and drawings as standard but one, for me, huge advantage of OneNote over Evernote is the ability to put content anywhere on the page. This means that when you want to draw a diagram or insert an image it doesn’t have to be in line with all your other text it can alongside it, something I have found to be incredibly useful for when I am studying a complicated theory and I can have a diagram or picture alongside it to help me understand better.

As I mentioned earlier, for me there is a clear winner. Microsoft OneNote offers a much wider range of features and also I feel the whole OneNote experiences much smoother and seamless than Evernote. By this I mean Evernote has lots of aspects it needs to iron out whereas OneNote is already a sleek and refined service.
Electronic notes are something that have definitely revolutionised the way that I learn and revise, they allow for better sharing and improve organisation and for me are definitely the superior note making option.


Here is a list of the words that I’ve used that may be new for you, or you just want a clear definition for

Application – an application is a program or piece of software designed to fulfil a particular purpose. Lots of applications have computer counterparts; for example both OneNote and Evernote are available on various devices such as iPads or computers

Cloud or the cloud – this refers to cloud computing. The word cloud or the cloud is used as a metaphor for “the Internet,” so the phrase cloud computing means “a type of Internet-based computing,” as opposed to computing just done on the device cloud computing means your materials are shared across the internet with any other device that has the application you are using

Syncing – syncing or to synchronise means for something to happen simultaneously. That means that when you click sync on your device (most applications do this automatically when any new additions are made) your data will be sent to all your other devices with the same software. So for example if you are using OneNote for your iPad, if you tap sync when you get home your new additions will be on your other devices

Page – a page is simply any notes you make, it is not limited to a page in length it can be as long as you want it to be

Notebook – a notebook or notebooks is a folder consisting of various pages of notes you may have written

What do a Cod, a Lion and a Llama have in common?

They are of course all internet ‘memes’: Ling Cod, Linguistic Lioness and Linguist Llama. Defined by the Oxford dictionary as ‘an image, video, piece of text, typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users’ memes, pronounced [miːmz], were traditionally an element of culture that travelled orally, generally as a fable or joke. Nowadays, memes travel much faster than word of mouth as methods such as chain emails or Facebook allow them to be passed on from person to person instantly.

Majority of the memes we see today are humour centric, light hearted images or texts that have the sole purpose of appealing to a viewer’s humorous side and as a result being shared, forwarded or passed on.

Memes are usually transmitted by teenagers due to the simple fact it is this generation of people that message each other most and also pay more focus to internet trends and being at the forefront of social interaction.

Lauren Ancel Meyers, a biology professor at the University of Texas believes that memes spread through the internet person to person as a disease does in the real world. She is perhaps channelling the view of Richard Dawkins, who in 1976 described memes as forms of cultural extension, a way for people to transmit cultural ideas to each other. As Meyers said, not unlike the way that disease spreads from host to host, a meme idea will also travel from mind to mind leaving behind a mark or memory.
The Internet and in turn its capability of instant communication is how memes are spread today. From Facebook posts of Chuck Norris with over a hundred thousand ‘likes’ to a link of a YouTube video of Rick Astley, memes are as diverse as they are simple. Interestingly they are universal, ranging from the a specialist subject like linguistics as seen in Linguist Llama to a dog(e) that just likes to say “wow”.

See examples, such as “tense, moody and irregular: must be a verb” and more on