TAOBAO Slang Dictionary(collaborated with Shengchen Zhang)


Taobao's product name shows a very distinctive method of word formation. In order to be searched, merchants will display a large number of words with varying degrees of relevance to their goods. This creates a peculiar landscape in which Taobao's goods do not correspond exactly to the name. Especially in the banned goods and fake clothing which use a form of slang to make these goods available. We make this TAOBAO Slang Dictionary by incompletely sorting out these and other goods, summing up the rules of word formation and etymology.







In the whole system, except for carrier A, which initially carries the meaning x, the remaining carriers are not directly related to x.


The propagation of multimodal information such as SLANG can be analyzed from the perspective of memetics. Here, Darwinian natural selection is manifested by the use of merchants/users and the regulation of Taobao. The information carrier (vocabulary) that best suits this choice w

ill survive and be further self-replicating.

Daily vocabulary is borrowed by individuals from the mainstream culture, deformed or used directly to refer to another meaning, forming a SLANG. The borrowing that can reach a consensus is solidified into the deviant subculture, and further dies as it spreads back to the mainstream culture.




product pictures of goods using SLANGs as names