Functional shift and semantic change in Lord of the Rings Online

University essay from Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för utbildning, kultur och kommunikation

Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to identify functional shifts and semantic changes in the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game Lord of the Rings Online. The focus is on new uses of established terms in Standard English and the intent is to see how the word formation processes work in an online gaming environment, and identify the possible reasons behind them. Due to the lack of previous studies of language in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, the aim is to provide some insight into some of the language developments that occur in such an environment. A quantitative method has been utilised in order to distinguish patterns, and the material, in the form of chat logs, has been gathered from Lord of the Rings Online. The chat logs have then been used to create a corpus, and, from this point, a qualitative method has been employed. The corpus has been thoroughly analysed for the words which have undergone functional shifts and/or semantic changes, and a selection of these words are presented and discussed based on word formation process. The findings in this study seem to confirm that language changes in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game follow the same patterns as in other environments.

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