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A Cognitive Study on Naming Mechanisms of QQ Nicknames

Language is the carriage of ideas. Social reality pushes the advancement of language, and language reflects social reality. As the world has entered into the Age of Information, people are exposed to digital screens and online social media. Nowadays, people, especially young people, lay great emphasis on not only their real-life individuality but also their online images. Among all the social media apps, QQ is favored by Chinese people for a long time with over 530 million accounts. With fewer requirements in making nicknames, the naming mechanisms of QQ nicknames provide an interesting perspective for cognitive and linguistic study. Nicknames on social media are regarded as a mutation of people’s traditional names, allowing people to extend their creativity and project their personalities on the nicknames. This research chooses the QQ nicknames of the Grade 2020 undergraduates at Hohai University as research objectives. To find out the feature of the nicknames of the target group and explore the naming mechanisms underlying the nicknames, first, the essay goes through previous studies on the naming mechanisms and absorbs related research experience, and second, establishes a theoretical framework that includes three models: Event-domain Cognitive Model (ECM), the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CM1), and the Conceptual Metonymy Theory (CM2). After collecting 255 QQ nicknames and establishing a closed corpus of the nicknames, this paper makes reasonable categorization for further study. To solve the rest of the research problems, a thorough analysis is made and two compound models are established. Results show that the QQNE+CM1 Model is the most commonly seen naming mechanism of the target group. At the end of the paper, a discussion and evaluation of the entire research are done. This essay provides a new aspect for understanding the naming mechanisms of the young generation and may be conducive to further related studies.

QQ Nicknames, ECM+ Model, Cognitive Mechanism, Online Personal Identity

Ma Jinge, Li Xiaolong. (2023). A Cognitive Study on Naming Mechanisms of QQ Nicknames. Communication and Linguistics Studies, 9(2), 20-26.

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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