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Gaming Literacy: the Future Traditional Literacy?
Po Kan Lo, Cheuk Yuen Mok

Last modified: 2017-05-02


In the 2010s, the dichotomy of biliteracy between spoken and written literacy is no longer in vogue. A new kind of biliteracy has emerged. Disparity is found in languages used in the online medium and in the offline medium. (Varnhagen, Mcfall, and Pugh 2010). Although there is a prima facie conflict seen between the literacies, the former is becoming a source of influence on the latter. (Danesi 2016) Even, with the prevalence of online gaming, the gaming language (or, actually slang, a.k.a. “ludolects”) seems to be forming part of the literacy system. While their use can be deliberately socially oriented to signal belonging to a social group and to exclude outsiders, (Shortis 2001) they are now eclectically used in mainstream discourse in the social context or even in journalism in order to achieve specific effects such as humour in their target audiences. (Ensslin 2012) The specialised vocabulary, despite its informality, finds its root in the game discourse in which the makers and users of games create and use a jargon of their own. (Ensslin 2012) The paper examines two aspects of gaming language. The first is how these words in the semantic area are formed and structured, with initialism being a common example, which in fact has been an important element of computer mediated communication, along with other examples including affixation, semantic and functional shift. The second is the language used in conversational interaction among players and how the conversations are managed and how they usually manifest the players’ strong emotional involvement in the game. The paper finally ends with an analysis of data gathered from university students on their use and perception of gaming language, which may serve as an indication to that the gaming language could become an important source of the future traditional literacy.