Contemporary French Civilization

French gamer-speak: new conceptualizations of text production, virtual spaces, and social stratification

Contemporary French Civilization (2019), 44, (1), 39–59.

Abstract

This article discusses the significance of French gamer idiolect, here called “gamer-speak,” for the French gaming subculture. Two Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs), World of Warcraft and WildStar, form the corpus under examination. Through examples of French gamer-speak found both in the videogame text and gamer interactions, this article describes French lexical innovation within the gamer subculture by engaging with three relevant conceptual landscapes. First, it develops the notions of textuality and paratextuality specific to videogames (Genette; Aarseth; MacCallum-Stewart; Barnabé). Second, it discusses the tensions between rules and fiction in videogame systems (Juul Half-real; Thorhauge; Frasca; Pearce). Third, it asserts the significance of French gamer identity (Ensslin; Even-Zohar; De Larios and Lang; Nachez and Schmoll).

Cet article traite de l’importance du langage des joueurs français de jeux vidéo, ici appelé “gamer-speak.” Deux jeux vidéo de rôle en ligne massivement multijoueur (MMORPGs), World of Warcraft, et WildStar, constituent le corpus de cet article. A travers des exemples de “gamer-speak” en français trouvé dans les textes de jeux vidéo ainsi que dans les conversations entre joueurs, cet article décrit l’innovation du lexique français dans la sous-culture des joueurs en s’appuyant sur trois cadres conceptuels. Dans un premier temps, il s’étend sur la textualité et la paratextualité propres aux jeux vidéo (Genette; Aarseth; MacCallum-Stewart; Barnabé). Dans un second temps, il traite des tensions entre les règles (rules) et la fiction dans les systèmes de jeux vidéo (Juul Half-real; Thorhauge; Frasca; Pearce). Enfin, il constate l’importance de l’identité des joueurs français (Ensslin; Even-Zohar; De Larios and Lang; Nachez and Schmoll).

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Videogames cited

Everest VR, Sólfar, 2016. Google Scholar

Pokémon Go, Niantic, 2016. Google Scholar

Skylanders Imaginators, Activision, 2016. Google Scholar

WildStar, NCsoft, 2014–present. Google Scholar

World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment, 2004–present. Google Scholar

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Author details

Strong, Samuel