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Applying corpus linguistics to videogame data: Exploring the representation of gender in videogames at a lexical level

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Game studies
Issue number3
Volume20
Publication StatusAccepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper argues for the examination of lexical patterns within videogames. In particular, it posits that researchers should examine lexical patterns across large representative samples from a variety of games, in order to make more generalizable claims about how discourses around social identities are (re)produced. I thus argue for the use of a method called corpus linguistics. I demonstrate that corpus approaches to videogames can reveal fruitful information about how language is used within games of the same genre. This paper is designed to illustrate applications of corpora to the language of videogames. Throughout this paper, I outline the fundamental aspects of this method, primarily due to the dearth of literature which combines this method with videogame texts.

In this paper, I demonstrate the validity of corpus approaches to videogame language via an analysis of the representation of gender. I argue that male and female social actors are represented in different ways, with male characters being associated with physical violence and female characters being constructed in more multifaced ways. Non-binary characters proved representationally lacking in this corpus, and thus because they were statistical outliers in the data are not reported on here.