Elliptical Structures In Modern Internet Communication


The functioning features of elliptical structures in modern Internet communication are described in the article. The historical development of the concept of ellipsis and elliptical structures in the communicative system of the language are analyzed. Special attention is paid to the principles of communication on the Internet and the problem of situationally and contextually incomplete syntactic structures appearing due to the omission of utterance elements to convey a high degree of expressiveness and emotionality. Elliptical structures on the Internet are a communicative necessity. Nevertheless, completion of unsupported syntactic positions is possible only with the direct participation of communicators or the presence of non-verbal components of the speech situation that make it possible to fill in the missing language elements. Learning the language of Internet communication is associated with the problem of transience, short-term reservation of the message by the recipient. Comments can be deleted both by the user and by the author of the message under which they leave comments, which may lead to semantic and communicative gaps. Elliptical structures on the Internet are a communicative necessity, and often completion of unsupported syntactic positions is possible only with the direct participation of communicators or the presence of non-verbal components of the speech situation that make it possible to fill in the missing language elements at the semantic level.

Keywords: Ellipsiselliptical structures in languageInternet communication


Modern language reality proves the existence of an independent type of communication - communication on the Internet. The Internet is recognized as a communication channel available to the public, therefore the implementation of the language system in modern conditions is of constant interest to researchers. At the moment, it is possible to study the verbal design of innovative types of socio-cultural processes associated with the development of the scientific and technical process.

It should be noted that communication on the Internet is part of the semiotic system. The interaction of several channels of information transmission enables to create a specific, peculiar way of interaction between communicators.

Communication on the Internet tends to take the form of a dialogue: the addressee is always present in the communication space where the speech act is performed, or has the opportunity to insert a remark in the form of a comment to the post. This feature is most clearly presented in chats, forums, and discussions after posts in blogs / vlogs, where the speed of response to the interlocutor's remark is an important feature.

Problem Statement

The problem of studying Internet communication from the point of view of compliance with the norms of the modern Russian language is of high necessity due to several reasons: on the one hand, to for the purpose of identifying profanity and colloquial speech structures, and on the other hand, to determine the boundaries of the language system development.

Colloquial expressions that were previously unacceptable in writing are becoming widely used when texting on the Internet. The communicative situation enables to restore the missing element of the statement when analyzing the subsequent or previous context without compromising the understanding of the meaning of the communicative situation.

Modern virtual space makes it possible to combine the previously steadily separated forms of communication: oral and written. Thus, the current language situation is of particular interest from the point of view of identifying the specifics of the interpenetration of the language of oral and written communication.

In this paper, the collection and analysis of language material result in determination of the elliptical structures' distinctive functioning features of the "oral - written language" and illustration of these features with examples of elliptical structures.

Research Questions

The study of elliptical structures as a special type of utterance in Internet communication is an important issue, the solution of which helps to identify the prospects for the development of the modern language system as a whole.

The dependence of communication on the development of scientific and technological progress is especially noticeable in the XXI century. Features of the communication environment on the Internet are associated with the need to combine the main features of written speech and the most accurate verbalization of an oral message. In order to convey expressiveness and emotionality of the utterance communicators have to use the ellipsis as an important method of transmitting information. At the moment, the syntax of

Internet communication is the least studied aspect of the language, but it is the consideration of the features of sentence structures used in Internet communication that allows us to draw conclusions about the features of the formation of a special genre and stylistic system of the Internet language as a whole.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research is to identify the functioning features of the elliptical structures in modern Internet communication. The oral form of communication makes it possible to transmit information synchronously: the addressee and the addressant are simultaneously present at the time of speech in the same communicative situation and, accordingly, the process of transmitting and perceiving information occurs almost instantly.

Internet communication allows, on the one hand, to use this advantage of oral communication and transmit / receive information instantly through the use of special services, but on the other hand, the addressee, having received a message, is not always able to or does not want to instantly read it and send a response. Elliptical structures provide means for minimizing the time spent for transmitting the main meaning of the message, and make it possible to convey the maximum meaning in the most concise form.

Research Methods

Since it is the methods of selecting research material that largely determine the possibilities and prospects for its research, the main methods of the research undertaken are the method of continuous sampling, observation, semantic and syntactic analysis; qualitative analysis allows us to identify general patterns of elliptical structures' functioning in Internet communication.

Ellipsis can be called a characteristic feature of the Internet language, since it is in the virtual space that you can not only enter into an instant dialogue with the recipient, but also independently fill in the semantic gaps that are present in elliptical structures.

Focusing the addressee's attention on their own experience and / or visual components that make up an important part of Internet communication makes it possible to eliminate semantic incompleteness in the case of missing sentence components.

Compression itself, as a phenomenon of speech activity, cannot be attributed to elliptical structures. If there is no need to restore a contextually missing element, the structure is not elliptical. For example: "Look!", "Give!" are peculiar communicative signs that arise as a result of the frequency of use and the specifics of the context of use.

Accordingly, the main criterion for determining elliptical structures will be the presence of two variants in the synchronous language section: the complete one and the variant with the missing structural element.

For example: "Like and repost" = "Press like and do a repost". In such variants, the verbs "put" and "do" are omitted. Such an option of omitting words becomes possible in Internet communication in cases when these words are not sufficiently semantically filled or the structure is used so often that it becomes clear to the participants of communication in the reduced version.

The "like, repost, click the bell" structures are so often used by Internet bloggers and vloggers that they have become standard for inducing approval and dissemination of the information presented. However, along with them, the "Press like "and "Do a repost" structures also function. The sentence "And who does not agree - banned!" is an elliptical structure in which the verbs "will be" or "is to be" are omitted.

Modern scientists pay attention to various aspects of Internet communication: the globalization of Internet discourse (Akhrenova, 2009; Komalova, 2019), the peculiarities of building a dialogue in electronic communication (Berdichevsky, 2014; Orlova, 2009; Romanova, 2011).

Internet communication strives to eliminate excesses as much as possible, so the norms of literary syntax may not be observed. Consequently, along with elliptical structures, structurally incomplete ones appear. For example, the greeting of the Russian-speaking vlogger Maria Way: "Hey, Hello everyone! This is Maria Way!" can be reduced to" Hey! Maria Way!".

The demonstrative pronoun "this" and the greeting drop out, but their absence is made up for by the visual context - video blogger Maria waves her hand directly to the camera, addresses the viewer and presents herself.

More detailed structures can also be regarded as cases of ellipsis. The problem of distinguishing syntactic structures with situational omission and incomplete sentences is an important aspect of ellipsis research.

From the point of view of the history of the development of the concept of ellipsis, some scientists compare elliptic sentences with complete sentences and, accordingly, conclude that an ellipsis is a structural version of a complete sentence (Peshkovsky, 1956; Shakhmatov, 1941).

However, Vinogradov (1954) pointed out that elliptical structures are an independent syntactic phenomenon which perform a communicative function along with complete sentences. Some researchers do not distinguish between the concepts of "ellipsis" and "incompleteness", understanding ellipsis as a phenomenon of omission of a sentence element that is restored from context and consituation (Kamagina, 2015; Starodubova, 2009; Vardul’, 2006).

Shvedova N. Yu. introduces the concept of determinant - a free distributor of the predicative basis of a simple sentence and, based on her point of view, it becomes possible to interpret sentences with a prepositive determinant and an ellipsis of the verb “to be” as nominative sentences (Shvedova, 1964).

Arutyunova (1976) also points out the possibility of an elliptical structure in the case of a null form of the existential verb. The classical type of nominative sentences with attributes "is an elliptical structure made up of existential sentences that necessarily include a word form with an adverbial modifier or object meaning that fixes the area of being (or a class of existing objects), a being verb, or an existing object" (p. 231).

The similarity of elliptic structures and sentences with syntactic zero is noted by Ryzhenko (2004) who emphasises the similarity of syntactic zero structures, nominative sentences and elliptic ones with the meaning of existential being.

For example, the structure used at the beginning of a news blog: "I have news!" can be regarded as an interesting linguistic phenomenon - a syntactic model common in colloquial speech, which can be considered as a variant of the nominative sentence "I have (some) news (for you)".

In the example "in a month - a Husky concert", the main verb phrase "will take place" is omitted.

Elliptical structures in the speech of bloggers are associated with the most emotional moments of the story that are not prepared in advance. For example, contextual elliptic structures with an unexpressed verb. On the one hand, bloggers strive to accurately reflect what is happening on the screen in speech, on the other hand - to minimize the verbalization of the transmitted content.

The researcher Tseitlin (2010) notes two main types of ellipsis: contextual and situational. The essence of the situational ellipsis is that the missing component is suggested not by the verbal context, but directly by the situation of speech: "In the case of a contextual ellipsis, the set of omitted (and "implied", easily restored) syntaxes is practically unlimited " (p. 120).

Based on this point of view, we can say that in Internet communication, a situational ellipsis is often encountered, when the missing element cannot be restored unambiguously and is not explicitly mentioned in speech. Situational ellipsis requires analysis of the pragmatic components of the utterance content and consideration of the extralinguistic context. In colloquial speech, semantization occurs due to the presence of communicators in a certain speech situation.

Communication on the Internet makes it possible to semanticize elliptical structures of a situational nature by including a visual component. For example, an advertising banner of a bakery on the site: two girls choose a product at the counter:

"Black for me!"

"White for me!"

The visualized place of conversation, in this case - the bakery, absolutely directly indicates that we are talking about black and white bread, and not, for example, about black and white chocolate. Such structures can be semanticized only based on the situation or if there is a visualization of the situation of speech communication. So the structure "Let's take two for the price of one?". Without context, it is not clear what exactly is offered to take - packs of cottage cheese, washing machines, packages of washing powder.

Spontaneity and a tendency to save speech resources in Internet communication are the reason for the widespread use of elliptical structures, the syntax of the Internet language is becoming less strict and is gaining similarity to spontaneous everyday speech. So the ellipsis can be caused by a repeated question, an expression of bewilderment or doubt in relation to the interlocutor's remark:

- The crisis has come.

- Who's who? (has come)

Kutyanina (1998) draws attention to the fact that "re-questioning ellipsis is the most common syntactic means of re-questioning function", however, such structures can also be considered contextually incomplete (p. 7).

The presence of such elliptical structures in Internet communication, along with other reasons, may be due to the general linguistic tendency to fragmentarity and syntactic segmentation of sentences in modern colloquial speech.

Saving language resources is used if you need to convey the maximum amount of information in the shortest possible time. A video clip on Instagram is no more than 60 seconds, and Twitter is no more than 140 seconds (in written terms, no more than 140 characters). The Youtube service allows you to post larger videos, but the most popular format is videos that last 10-15 minutes. In such videos, the desire for elliptical utterances is often associated not only with the actual language reasons and language tradition, but also with extralinguistic conditions.

The spatial distance between the addressee and the addressant in the course of Internet communication is the reason for the lack of extralinguistic components that accompany personal communication. However, often the informal nature of communication on the Internet makes it possible to compensate for the inability to use facial expressions or gestures in the chat by making use of visual materials.

The informal nature of interaction promote the spread of memes, emojis, gifs, and other specifically creolized texts as illustrations.


The interest in the problem of elliptical structures' functioning is due to the fact that such sentences are widely used in colloquial speech. The law of saving language resources in this case finds its maximum implementation. Internet communication is elliptical in nature, since it is extremely rare for an utterance to be equal in full to the thought it conveys.

This condition makes it obligatory to develop ways to transmit the information using language tools that are necessary and sufficient for expression of the meaning and its understanding. Elliptical statements are undoubtedly the most striking feature of the syntax of comments on the Internet, however, elliptical structures are also often found in the speech of bloggers.

This feature can be explained by the emotionality of bloggers' statements and the spontaneity of speech in comments to posts. The omission of words with varying degrees of intensity is manifested at all levels of the language, but it is at the level of sentence structure that ellipsis, contributing to the reduction of the length of speech units, is implemented as a means of increasing their expressiveness.


Learning the language of Internet communication is associated with the problem of transience, short-term reservation of the message by the recipient. Comments can be deleted both by the user and by the author of the message under which they leave comments, which may lead to semantic and communicative gaps.

The most important problem of organizing the communication space on the Internet is the volume of the message - the tendency to save speech effort along with a constant huge information flow. The frequency of using elliptical structures is associated with the need to attract the attention of the addressee and at the same time the need to express maximum information with a minimum number of language tools.

Elliptical structures on the Internet are a communicative necessity, and often completion of unsupported syntactic positions is possible only with the direct participation of communicators or the presence of non-verbal components of the speech situation that make it possible to fill in the missing language elements at the semantic level.


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Yagodkina, M., & Kotleva, E. (2021). Elliptical Structures In Modern Internet Communication. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 355-362). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.42