Specifically, this study seeks to explore (1) whether or not 'hashtag' is (only) a new word or (also) the specific product of a new morphological process, that is, hashtagging; (2) what the very nature of the 'linguistic items' produced through hashtagging is; (3) how hashtagging as a (potential) morphological rule works and (4) how hashtags are pragmatically exploited, both online and offline.
In this paper, I argue that hashtagging could be looked at as a new morphological mechanism producing items, called hashtags, whose linguistic nature may be difficult to identify and relate to any traditional part of speech.
We may regard them as representative of a high degree of creativity displayed by hashtagging in Italian.
To sum up, what the different types of English and Italian hashtags show is that hashtagging seems to be more productive and to display a higher level of creativity in the Italian component, with the inclusion of non-standard varieties of the language.
However, considering the spread of hashtagging practices also in the 'real world', it may not seem unlikely to expect the hashtag itself to become a new part of speech altogether in the natural language of the so called digital natives, and the # symbol to add to the list of affixes already available in the morphology of both English and Italian.
Similarly, hashtagging does not correspond to any of the already existing morphological processes (like compounding, blending, agglutination).
As 'linguistic products' of the mechanism of hashtagging, hashtags are making language lexically richer in catchy phrases (e.