January 11, 2004

Contemporary cliquonymics?

The whole emo thing reminds me that I'm way out of touch with today's terminology for American middle-school and high-school cliques. My older sons graduated from high school in the mid-80s, and my younger son is in the second grade, where the groups are starting to find their identities but don't yet have names.

Please write to me and let me know what the groups are like and what they're called in your part of the world. If you know any web sites devoted to cliquonyms, or scholarly works on cliquonymics, let me know about that too. I'll also ask some of the freshmen here at Penn, when I see them at Tuesday's study break. I'll post a summary of what I've learned, probably some time next week.

I already know Penny Eckert's classic Jocks and Burnouts, so you don't have to send me that reference. But Penny's book was published in 1989 and reflects even earlier field work, and in this kind of culture, it's clear that 15 years is a long time.

Posted by Mark Liberman at January 11, 2004 01:18 PM