I’m one of what McCulloch calls the Semi Internet People

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
This New York Times article titled "Why Has Language Changed So Much So Fast? ‘Because Internet’" has this passage:
With “Because Internet,” she has written an incisive and entertaining guidebook of her own. I was reflexively suspicious of her title — the “because noun” construction is quintessential internetese — but by reading this book I’ve gained a clearer sense why. To someone like me, who was introduced to email in college, the language of online chatter can look almost aggressively cute in the context of a book.

I’m one of what McCulloch calls, with her linguist’s affection for taxonomy, the Semi Internet People — those who “defined themselves by ambivalence towards technology and an orientation towards offline relationships over online ones.”
In the last sentence, is the use of what well-formed?
Why not use those who instead as follows?
I'm one of those who McCulloch calls, with her linguist’s affection for taxonomy, the Semi Internet People...
If this is possible, what's the difference in meaning?
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's unremarkable and has the advantage of being one word. There's no difference arising from using "those who", except it introduces an opportunity to argue about whether it should be "who" or "whom".

    And we don't need another one of those.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Then, why use those who after the dash?
    Can you use what instead those who for the same reason as follows?
    I’m one of what McCulloch calls, with her linguist’s affection for taxonomy, the Semi Internet People — what “defined themselves by ambivalence towards technology and an orientation towards offline relationships over online ones.”
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    No. The term "Semi Internet People" is being named by her as a classification - a thing - so can be referred to as "what".

    When the people are describing themselves they are no longer a classification but are people, so must be referred to as "who".
     
    Top