Wednesday, November 15, 2006

interview with Noah


The following interview is being written down as an ongoing project. I am interviewing my 14-year-old son, who uses chat in two domains and knows quite a bit about it. Please note that I am revising it actually as I write it, and therefore anything you might read today may change tomorrow, either because he does not agree with the way I transcribe what happened, or because I myself have chosen to add further questions and insert them (the interview may not be true to time order of questions asked). I am trying mostly to get the facts down so I can peruse them later.

ME: Tell me about the domains where you use chat. I understand that at our house you spend about three hours a day on Runescape.
NOAH: Yes, and I am chatting most of that whole time with other players, mostly my friends.
ME: How many are there?
NOAH: When I log on it says that about 200,000 are now on the total of Runescape. But there are different worlds (~100 maybe, ~half of these are member-only), and my friends and I usually occupy a single one. You can chat publicly, which means that anyone in the area can understand you, or chat privately to anyone who is on your friends list, who is playing the game anywhere.

ME: And you have a certain chat language that is unique to Runescape?

NOAH: Definitely. First, Runescape has filters that prevent certain words from coming through. So we have to make others- like shucks, bstrd, fhk, doushe, that will slip through the filters. Another one is dumasse. They bleep homosexual and gay because they don't want people calling each other that.
ME: Can you tell me more about that?
NOAH: Sure. Of course they bleep all the big ones, and we just go around it whenever we have to. But they don't bleep hell. We had a big argument, or discussion, once. I took the stand that they didn't bleep hell because they didn't want to, because they didn't think it was strong enough as a cuss word. But one of my friends took the stand that they didn't bleep it because he'll turns into it and it's so common to not use apostrophes.
ME: Do people get banned?
NOAH: Yes, you can get banned for your language. One guy said that he got banned for saying that Jesus was black. I don't know if it's true or not, though, he just went around saying that. It's true: people come up to you and say that Jesus loves you, etc. But you're not allowed to use various profanities and you can be banned for certain insults.

ME: Are there words that are common to all chat?
NOAH: Yes. brb, lol, gtg, others...
ME: Would you say that you adopted and learned Runescape dialect, or that you created it with your friends?
NOAH: My friends have words that only they say and we understand. But in general, we picked up the Runescape dialect when we got here. We started writing like they do. For example, we never use punctuation.
ME: Never?
NOAH: No periods, no apostrophes, no quotation marks. In fact, I'm annoyed when people do use it. It seems like they're trying to be smart.
ME: Can you tell me more about that?
NOAH: Well, the forums are different from the game, but in the game, the game automatically capitalizes the first letter that you type, and then, it only allows small letters after that, unless you use a period. And nobody ever uses a period.
ME: Is there anything you miss about not using punctuation?
NOAH: Yes, quotation marks. In fact, I do use them sometimes, because I really need them to communicate that it's someone else's words. I find it hard that I can't emphasize things, like make capital letters to make things strong. But I don't miss commas, apostrophes, etc. much.

ME: Do you have times when various conversations are going on at once?
NOAH: Yes, there's a place called the bank which is really more like an open stock market. Everyone is talking at once. You go there to buy what you want or sell what you want and get money. So there are lots of conversations going on at once. Some things you buy at fixed price, other things you bargain a price for. For example, Nats. People go and work hard for Nats and there are some people who try to kill nats; they're called Nat PK's. There are also Nat PK PKers. Those are people who kill Nat PK's. People have strong feelings about this because fewer Nats raises the price; also it is possible to get by these people who just hunt for people who are dealing in Nats.
ME: Sounds like you have lots of words, like Nats, PK's, etc. that are particular to Runescape in that they mean something to those of you who are there but not much to those of us on the outside.

ME: Are there any words that have disappeared, or gone out?
NOAH: Yes. For example, noisce=nice. You don't see it anymore.

ME: Do you see other languages at all?
NOAH: My friend and I use German once in a while. You see a lot of Spanish, especially in the wilderness. People use it because they don't want others to understand it.
ME: Is it fluent Spanish or fractured Spanish?
NOAH: Fluent, I think. Maybe the people out there are actually Spanish-speaking.

ME: Do they use text-language much; for example, using numbers?
NOAH: Not much. Maybe about 25% use it; they are the ones trying to be cool, being innovative, etc.
ME: And you never look up new words when you see them?
NOAH: Never. I just ask, if I don't know what it means. Also, there is a certain politeness culture. For example, you can't just say "gtg" and then disappear. You have to wait a minute or two. There is a certain time you have to let pass before you leave. You have to let them respond.
ME: Can you talk about some words that are particular to Runescape?
NOAH: Sure.

woot (sometimes spelled w00t) - Hooray!
there are variants of this one- unique, as far as I know, to Runescape. You see wootness, for example.


owned- beat, burned
extremely common. Used much more widely than just as a verb: I owned you. Also used just as an answer. A: I finished a hard quest. B: Owned. B is just answering A. There is more meaning besides just "cool" but it's kind of like that.

pawn/pwn/pwned/powned- beat, burned
of these pwn/pwning is most common. Don't know where it came from. It seems very related to owned, which is very common; maybe it's owned with an added gesture. Don't know.

By the way also common is ownage, pawnage, etc.

this one originally meant people who were new to the game. But it got expanded to be a general insult that people use even on people who are clearly not new to the game. My friends and I decided not to use it, because Runescape was becoming a crude place, and we didn't like that. So we stopped using it altogether.
It has these two variants: noob is more joking, while newb was the original putdown and meant it.

hop- go
mad hop- go to another level
mad hoppage, etc.

these seem to be equally common variants...

shortened words

plz/pls=please. Of these plz is more common. My impression is that it is not because of sound, but because z looks cooler and because they can use z.

double consonants=single,
-unless it's latte=late (can't be done)


lol- laugh out loud
brb- be right back
gtg- got to go
rofl- rolling on the floor laughing

tyvm- thank you very much
yw- you're welcome
jj- just joshing
jk- just kidding
brt- be right there
afk- away from keyboard
afc- away from computer

lmao- laughing my a-- off
lmfao- laughing my f-- a-- off
roflmfao etc.

NOAH: Of these I hate the last three, because it's like they're putting you down.

:-) -smiley face
=/ -about to do something hard
=P -tongue out at someone
-_- -said something funny
=( -sad face

ME: How is IM different?
NOAH: For one thing, it's always one-on-one. There is a lot less in common. Rune has its own world, with an entire language, but IM has mostly abbreviations that people know.
ME: Can you talk about words that are particular to IM?
NOAH: Sure.

ttyl - talk to you later
ttfn - that's all for now

these seem to be common to all chat:

lol- laugh out loud
brb- be right back
gtg- got to go
rofl- rolling on the floor laughing
btw- by the way
otoh- on the other hand
gle- good luck everyone (from online trivia)

ME: What other online environments have chat that you are aware of?
NOAH: Another big game is World of Warcraft. But that costs $15/mo. and is definitely addictive. It definitely has its own chat language.

ME: Can you tell me a little about the process of innovation? Who makes up new words?
NOAH: Some people just seem to do more of that than others. Maybe they do it to be cool, to be on the edge. It seems that they catch on if the other people admire them and want to sound like them. For example, if they are the leader of a clan, or something, and they just have a lot of prestige.
ME: Do you think any of this is subconscious?
NOAH: Yes. People use new things and aren't even aware of it sometimes. If I wanted to make up a new word, I could. I'd just have to tell all my friends to start using it, and they would. I'm not sure if it would work or not. I've never tried it. But that's how I imagine it's done.


Blogger eaglith77 said...

I think the "ttfm" you put with no explanation is supposed to be "ttfn" which means "ta ta for now."

9:02 PM  

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