Language is an integral part of life, it allows us to communicate with one another through expressing feelings, emotions and creating relationships. It is the most diverse and technical skill that takes years of continuous practice and experimentation. Take a second to sit back and imagine what life would be like without it. Unimaginable right? As the years go on languages expand through a variety of sub-cultures, the one in focus of today is one for my fellow gamers out there and digital humanities enthusiasts.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of gamers all over the world has significantly risen. For me this doesn’t come as a surprise, for others it may, but admit it, sitting down in a comfy home setting, playing your favourite games and most of all chatting to your besties is nothing short of the best motive ever. Sometimes us gamers get so immersed in the fun; we don’t sit back and realise the learning process we’re involved in whilst doing so. Because of this, I thought I’d shed some insight into the topic of ‘gamer talk’, focussing mainly on how new words are established to create an argument towards a ‘gamer corpus’, the formalities that they associate with, whilst looking at language features which are used when creating them. These 3 slightly head rambling things are indeed helpful into understanding the bigger purpose – I want to observe the extent to which a sub-culture language is learned and realise its gradual progression towards the expansion of the English language.
Phew!! I hope I still have your attention after that last bit, I can already see some of you sat there thinking, “A gamer corpus?? What on earth is this geezer waffling on about?”; and hey, I don’t blame you, but as this goes along, I might be able to explain things a bit better…emphasis on the “might”. Okay, so in simpler terms a gamer corpus revolves around the study of language based on examples of real-life language use. For many researchers, the language (discourse) of gaming has flown under the radar due to their little to non-existent knowledge on the sub-culture, this does not however mean that further study is not useful as I believe wider research could benefit towards teachers and gamers themselves who would be interested in learning the linguistic associations.
My Own Research:
If you’re a ‘Call of Duty’ fan, then it’s your lucky day. I recently conducted a study based around the popular first-person shooting game, within this I wanted to evaluate the extent to which participants involved used gamer language. The study consisted of monitoring 3 veteran gamers for 2 matches and 1 veteran amongst 2 novices for 2 matches of Search and Destroy – arguably the best mode to grace the game in my opinion. This game mode upholds the most tactical method and requires users to communicate together frequently if they wish to stand a good chance at winning.
Once I collected all the data and transcribed the conversations, which took ages, don’t even ask! I aimed to look at the types of language used by these groups. Even though I pretty much knew the gameplay between veterans was going to be much more advanced, I was surprised to see the rate of which novices managed to pick up specific gaming terms. Veterans on one hand expressed more lesser-known examples such as “wap” which is another word for a weapon and “cutting” which relates to moving in a specific direction. These examples of neologisms (New words) are prime examples to show us gamers…and teachers, the extent to which the gaming community is gaining its own sense of legitimization through its evolutionary impact on language. The coolest part about it, is that the words which tend to gain popularity are the ones which have been accepted by the subculture community to join the corpus. What I found within my research including novices was different as expected but also surprised me. I found that novices tended to mimic the veteran with popular terms such as” OP” (Overpowered) and “Nade” (Grenade), this was most likely due to the players understanding the veterans experience for which they felt the need to use the same language in order to fit in and kind of claim their place within the community, even though everything was assured to remain anonymous, it’s still not nice to be left out eh guys, yeah you bully I’m looking at you ;).
Id love to share more of this study with you but you know what Uni’s are like with their plagiarism guidelines and yada yada yada, the point I’m trying to get across to you fellow gamers and teachers is that there’s more to gaming than just picking up a controller and going at it; there’s an entirely wider scale of cognitive development which is gaining traction every single day, shaping the way we communicate with one another, tweaking our thought processes and language choices. It’s all popping off over here folks, and the quicker we can spread the word, the quicker we can remove the stigma on gaming as a “joke” or “just a laugh” as some would say. Once this is done we can truly understand and spread that there is an educational purpose behind the pad.
For those of you that might sit there and think that gamer language isn’t such a good idea towards the development of language, just wanna say I hear ya! It’s obvious that some uses of language may carry a negative impact due to formalities and instances of derogatory terms such as s**- we won’t go into that. But then again think of it like this. Say you’re gaming online and its 2024, and instead of using the same old language that’s been lingering about for how many years, everybody is speaking in code, turn-taking is advanced to a whole new level, and people born from a multitude of countries throughout the world can speak your native tongue along with you. All this because of what? Online Gaming??? Imagine the impact this would have on the gaming industry as a whole? Honestly guys, I think the time for gaming recognition has arrived? Keep playing, keep conversing, and keep inventing, Peace!!