LEXICAL AND SEMANTIC NATURE OF NICKNAMES (BASED ON THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE)
The article deals with the main types of nicknames as onomastic units of the internet discourse that are used by a virtual language personality. Their lexical characteristics and semantic nature have been described and disclosed. The author compares the notions of a pseudonym, a nickname and a virtual nickname, referring to the etymology of these concepts. Also, some definitions of terms have been given, taking into account the interpretations of some modern linguists. The work focuses on the fact that studying nicknames of a web-personality within the framework of virtual reality as a linguistic cultural phenomenon is not only popular, but also extremely relevant for modern linguistics. In the author’s opinion, the virtual nickname is a unique phenomenon of nomination, important means of self-representation and image formation of the internet personality. The virtual names that had been selected from some authentic Italian web forums, internet chats and social networks served as the factual material. The communicants have not been limited by the age, social status, and occupation. It has been also emphasized that the meaning of the chosen virtual name can be disclosed only by the virtual language personality. Considering that the notions of a pseudonym and a nickname have some similar characteristics, the author only distributes the internet names according to the classification proposed by V. Dmitriev.