A bit about me

I figured that if I was going to make a blog, and attempt to have any sort of reasonable discussions here (see, this is an assumption that eventually I’ll get readers, har har!) that you might need to know a bit about me, and what I expect from this blog.

First of all, I am indeed a woman.  I’m 25 now, which means I’ve had a bit of life experience, but I’m still terribly inexperienced in other areas.  My point of view is somewhat privileged, as I am a white, middle-class person.  I take a highly feminist stance on most issues, and although I do my best to write and analyze ‘fairly’,  I have to remember to check myself every once in awhile for my privilege and biases.

That being said, I have a little experience with a lot of different subjects that I would like to incorporate into my blog (let’s hear it for all the jack-of-all-trades people out there!).  I have been a creative individual my whole life; I used to draw, write, compose music, design games, do stop-motion films, and as soon as I discovered the internet, I took on designing webpages, writing anime and video game reviews, and doing a webcomic with my sister. (You probably never heard of it, but Shonen Chikara will return someday. Promise.)  I studied languages and foreign cultures, which I discovered intersected with my interest in games very well.  After completing an undergrad degree in 2007, I moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a Master’s in Language and Communication at Georgetown University.  This was one of the best and worst years of my entire life.

Firstly, I discovered I enjoyed writing about games.  I played World of Warcraft in ANY of the downtime I had from classes, which resulted in me having three level 70 characters (Burning Crusade, yeah!) despite the 13 hours a day I was spending doing school-related things.  I tried to incorporate nerdy issues into my papers, because technology and language, as I’d discovered, were highly intersectional, and they were relatively new and therefore untapped resources for a budding young linguist to bury herself in.

Secondly, I discovered that not only language within the gaming community, but other online communities as well, was beginning to change.  Patterns of discourse veered from the traditional mimicry of spoken language, to shortened forms of words (mostly seen in texting or in chatrooms/messenger programs) and even to syntax variation within certain circles.  The tl;dr of it?  Language was changing and evolving before my very eyes, and it was something I wanted very much to study.

Finally, as a woman who is very interested in gaming, graphics, technology, language, and other nerdy fare, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of sexism.  I want a safe platform to discuss women and girls in video games, and women and girls who play video games.  This is not commensurate with excluding men from discussing these issues, but I would like to say first and foremost that I will not tolerate any trolling, woman-bashing, or basic thread derailing. I am the only judge of what is, or is not considered to be any of the aforementioned taboos, so honestly, I don’t give a shit if you don’t agree with my calls.  Also, I expect that if you have any criticism, you can keep it constructive and not destructive.  I welcome debate, as long as it doesn’t get too heated.

So, this blog will be an exploration.  I want it to be open to non-linguists and linguists alike, and to all genders.  I look forward to sharing with you!

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3 thoughts on “A bit about me

  1. In my opinion, the reason why language is changing before your eyes is because those games and various aspects of net culture are a deliberate attempt at dumbing culture down to Orwellian “newspeak” so that people can’t think their way out of the scientific absurdity of man-made global warming and thus they’re trapped into paying carbon taxes. And if people can think their way out of absurd concepts like vaccinations for a mild flu, they can’t eloquently express their criticisms. Now it’s body scanners at airports, and a lot of people can’t use language to express their discomfort so they’re planning naked protests despite the fact that either way the perverts who make the rules get to see genitals. The English language now has five times as many words as what existed in Shakespeare’s time, and so super-ultra-mega-hyper-Shakespeare is possible, but a recent study showed that the average teenager only uses 800 different words in their regular vocabulary! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/6960745/Teenagers-only-use-800-different-words-a-day.html

    • That’s interesting. I do have a bit of a problem with that study, though.

      Teenagers have never been the bastion of eloquence. Even though there are your not-so-normal teenagers who will use more than a mere 800 words, your average adolescent isn’t going to concern themselves with expressing their feelings with a great variance in vocabulary. Coming from a sociolinguistic background, I can say I’ve read about numerous studies looking into WHY teenagers tend to speak the way they do. Of course these studies are also not without flaws; I’m sure there are loopholes to be found here, too. But what I want to get at is that these studies showed vocabulary playing a very large part in how they aligned themselves in terms of popularity — further, teenagers’ word choice changed depending on who they were talking to (as do most people’s, adult or not). Also, while this study probably is indicative of an increasingly “online” lifestyle, it WAS conducted in the UK, and I guess I haven’t a clue as to whether the studies of teens there can really have parallels drawn to teens here. Just a few thoughts.

      I do agree though, that there are a lot of really great words that have fallen out of usage — and for every word that pretty much goes extinct, technology and new discoveries bring about five more new words. Also, Shakespeare really liked making up his own words. 🙂

      • “Teenagers have never been the bastion of eloquence.”

        I think every high school has four or five people who have a level of social-phobia and spend a lot of their time reading, and they are eloquent when you actually talk with them. Just one example is a kid from my neighborhood named Luke — he’s only fifteen but I’ve had a dozen conversations with him in which his vocabulary and knowledge base is so well-developed that even I feel like punching him. I’ve been bullied by people who I perceive as idiots, and now I feel like punching this kid who’s a hell of a lot smarter than I am. I don’t punch him, but I’ve never understood why bullies do that until I met this very eloquent kid Luke. But these eloquent kids are not “popular”, they don’t go to the parties. Most of them don’t even know about the parties. But there’s four or five of them in every high school (a figure based on fractal theory, coming from my observances of people from my own high school experience) — which means they’re everywhere — and they’re the “bastion of eloquence.” Teenagers who are the bastion of eloquence are everywhere. When I was fifteen, I loved Dawson’s Creek because the high vocabulary of those characters reflected how me and my favorite friends spoke at the time … and then I got really angry when a teacher said that no fifteen year old talks like the kids on Dawson’s Creek. Part of that problem is the fact that I spoke differently depending upon the audience. I don’t think people should do that at all. I think people should always speak from their core personality. I think there should be a shift in consciousness in which “popular” becomes based on celebrating the diversity of each individual rather than celebrating the people who are the best at using the slang terms of the day.

        And Shakespeare rocks. Finding gaps in language and creating words to fill those gaps is the most important job of a writer. I’ve invented a word that I want to add to the lexicon. Get this: There’s a word for a kid who lost a parent, and that word is “orphan.” But there’s no word for a parent who lost a kid. I figure the word should be “rophan.” And I’m planning to put the word rophan, and “rophaned”, into a story I’m writing.

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