Dialect representation : Language varieties in The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Abstract: This study examines the dialect representation in CD PROJEKT RED's video game The Witcher: Wild Hunt. The study intends to contribute to an already narrow sociolinguistic field of research of how dialects are represented in video games, more precisely role-playing games. The purpose of this study is to find out: 1) What are the pronunciation, word choice and grammar features of the farmer Bruno and the Witcher Geralt in the game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and 2) What social status, class, traits are the two characters' pronunciation, word choice and grammar features associated with?. The study looked into language varieties, regional dialects and stereotyping with support from sociolinguistic variables to help analysing the dialects. Character 1 was assumed to use West Country English. Character 2 was assumed to have a General American dialect. Each dialect was compared to dialects with similar linguistic features, and the case for each dialect was argued and proved through analysing the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. The study had two assumptions, 1) that the dialects used in The Witcher: Wild Hunt were used because of the real-life associations they have. There was no clear answer to this. However, it could be suggested that there indeed was a deliberate choice to assign the characters with their dialects, since many linguistic features correlated to real-life dialects and so did the associations we make with the dialect. The first character of low socioeconomic background and low social status had a dialect often associated with these traits. The second character had a linguistically neutral language, and had a dialect associated with similar traits. The second hypothesis was 2) the dialects in The Witcher: Wild Hunt run a risk of enforcing stereotypes. This was vaguely proven to be true, as it depends on how aware the players are when they play the game, as they might otherwise subconsciously enforce them. Disregarding the stereotypes as humorous representations was argued to be equally dangerous as a simple dismissal might do harm as well.
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