For example if somebody is saying: "Ooooooh myyyyyyy Gooooood" or if they realize something and go "Ooooooh!" or Darth Vader's "NOOOOOOO!", usually all of these extra vowels aren't included in the words(you won't find it in a dictionary), but does this phenomenon of multiplying have a name or a term?

I've got a hard time formulating the description to be short enough for google to help, so even if you don't know if there is a word for it, help with description/formulation would be appreciated too.

  • I think "assonance" will be your best bet.
    – Lord Soth
    Aug 9, 2014 at 8:43
  • Nooooooo, not assonance. Word lengthening seems to be the term.
    – Frank
    Aug 9, 2014 at 8:46
  • Word lengthening seems to be it. Thanks for the help, both of you. :)
    – user87722
    Aug 9, 2014 at 8:49
  • @Frank Yessssss, I agree "word lengthening" would be the better/right choice.
    – Lord Soth
    Aug 9, 2014 at 8:51
  • 1
    It says here that the term is word lengthening: grammar.about.com/od/tz/g/Word-Lengthening.htm It says it can alternatively be called 'elongation'. It also mentions some studies done into the phenomenon.
    – BenjaminJB
    Aug 9, 2014 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


'Word lengthening' seems to be an accepted term, e.g. see here. If you want the term to apply specifically to vowels, to exclude things like 'Grrrrrrr!', maybe 'vowel lengthening'?


As mentioned the term is 'word elongation'. It is mainly used by young people and technology is in part responsible for its diffusion. Here are some comments on usage:

  • This trend started with teens and people in their early 20s but has rapidly spread across all digi-speaking age groups. If you text or IM or Facebook, chances are you’ve picked up on this habit (even if you wish you really hadn’t). But why? It seems intuitive that adding all these extra letters will actually take more time and more space than just writing the word. In fact, this might not be the case. According to linguist Michael Erard, these patterns suggest a desire to incorporate verbal speech into our written exchanges Adding extra letters (as well as how many extra letters you add and where you add them) indicate a certain intonation that expresses some of the nuances of emotion.

  • It makes sense right? Think about the tone difference between “Hello” and “Hiiiiiii.” It bet when you read the latter, you dragged out the “i” sound. Sounds more friendly and less official, doesn’t it? How about, “I’m so excited.” and “I’M SOOOOO EXCITED!”? Which speaker sounds more excited? (I’d go with the second one. My inner voice screamed it.) Now think about how many extra words you’d have to add on to come close to expressing that same emotion. Probably easier just to stick some extra letters in there, huh?

  • Linguist Ben Zimmer notes that the reason why these have caught on is because we have become so dependent on platforms like the text message and Twitter to communicate, both places which starve for nuance. According to him, in these types of places small things that you can do to your words are crucial for understanding and communicating in (nevermind forming) appropriate relationships. We’ve been speaking like this for years, so it only makes sense that we would eventually incorporate it into our modern writing communications to express the same ideas.

Source: http://www.lovelyish.com/2013/02/24/word-elongation-the-difference-between-hi-and-hiiiii/

  • 1
    Ben is absolutely right about the nuance starvation of digital print media. They don't do intonation, stress, rhythm, gestures, facial expression, brows, eyes, gaze direction, body tension, or any of a large number of communicational effects people use along with lexical units. You can only stuff so much into 26 letters, 10 numbers, and a bunch of %^$(%*&_)(* characters. Especially if you have automatic help from a spellchecker. Aug 9, 2014 at 13:30

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