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Virtual Discourse Structure: An Analysis of Conversation in World of Warcraft

Collister, Lauren Brittany (2008) Virtual Discourse Structure: An Analysis of Conversation in World of Warcraft. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Discourse in World of Warcraft poses interesting insights for the organization of conversation in text-only mediums. In my work, I show how online discourse can be analyzed using the traditional tools of Conversation Analysis (Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974; Hutchby & Wooffitt, 1996). By analyzing logs of chat from within the game world, I show how turns are constructed, paying particular attention to the construction of multiple-message turns. I draw on the insights of Turn Construction Unit Continuation theory (Schegloff, 1996; Couper-Kuhlen & Ono, 2007) to illuminate the construction of these complex turns, and I show how the tools of Cohesion (Halliday & Hasan, 1976) can be used to link parts of a turn together. Finally, I show how participants in World of Warcraft use different kinds of repair functions in the discourse, namely *-repair for typographical errors and an in-group feature "get out of my head!" for overlap. Online discourse has unique and particular forms of organization, but can be analyzed in the same manner as spoken language; far from being a random and corrupted form of written language, online language use is regular and organized.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Collister, Lauren Brittanylbc8@pitt.eduLBC80000-0001-5767-8486
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKiesling, Scott F.kiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Committee MemberMauk, Claude E.cemauk@pitt.eduCEMAUK
Committee MemberMortensen, David R.drm31@pitt.eduDRM31
Date: 26 September 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 April 2008
Approval Date: 26 September 2008
Submission Date: 2 June 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ; conversation analysis; discourse analysis; game studies; game theory; mmorpgs; world of warcraft
Other ID:, etd-06022008-142543
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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