Birgit Swoboda (geb. Kramer)

Main focus: Digital communication


Languages: German, English

City: Vienna

Country: Austria

Topics: gaming, discourse analysis, pragmatics, linguistics


Mag. Dr. Birgit Swoboda (neé Kramer) BA, studied English linguistics and history at the University of Vienna. She received her PhD in English linguistics at the English department of the University of Vienna. Currently she is a freelance researcher investigating positioning, politeness and language usage in MMORPG communication. Her research interests include netspeak, language change, pragmatics, politeness theory and computer game studies, especially MMORPGs.

Examples of previous talks / appearances:

"Was bitteschön ist WTF?" Netspeak - Sprache im Wandel der neuen Medien

Präsentation über Sprachwandel in den neuen Medien im speziellen Wandel durch digitale Medien (Internet, Social Media, Gaming). // Wissenschaftlicher Abend der C.Ö.St.V Maria Theresia (Studentinnenvervindung) zu Wien; 2014; Wien.

L2P n00b - The language of MMORPGs

Insights into the language used in MMORPGs, in particular stylistic features (e.g. smileys, acronyms) and politeness strategies. // Future and Reality of Gaming (FROG); 2010; Vienna.

L2P FFS NOOB - Höflichkeit und politeness theory in MMORPGs

Präsentation über die Einschätzung der Spieler und die Realität von Höflichkeit und politeness theory in MMORPGs // Tagung Echtheit, Wahrheit, Ehrlichkeit – Die ethische Frage nach Authentizität in der computervermittelten Kommunikation; 2012; Hochschule für Philosophie München.

L2P FFS n00b!! - Language usage and positioning in MMORPGs

Presentation about how gamers position themselves by means pf interaction strategies in conversations // 5 Österreichische Studierenden-Konferenz der Linguistik (ÖSKL); 2012; Universität Wien

L2P FFS n00b!! - Language usage and positioning in MMORPGs

Presentation about how gamers position themselves in conversations by means of politeness strategies, stylistic features and other interaction strategies // 3. Sprachwissenschaftliche Tagung für Promotionsstudierende (STaPs): Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf Sprache, Diskurs und Kultur; 2013; Universität Heidelberg.

GTFO!! - Politeness and stylistic features as means of positioning in MMORPGs

OMG! Lol n00b :)! uber 1337! b00n you wiped us! When gamers, especially of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) like World of Warcraft®, talk to one another they adapt language to their needs, as do all speakers. It is a common misconception that language expressions such as smileys, acronyms, leet and neologisms are a deterioration of current language. On the contrary, they can be regarded as instances of creativity, efficiency, in-group markers and compensation of missing features available in face-to-face communication. This paper will not only describe the use and functions of stylistic features of the language of MMORPGs by drawing upon empirical data from an online-questionnaire and qualitative data from a language corpus, but also tackle the question of ingame politeness. Is conversation ingame really less polite than in real-life? By reference to theories of pragmatics, this paper provides insights into how politeness is perceived and used as an interaction strategy by gamers to position themselves in conversations.

I'm by default polite - Politeness and positioning in MMORPGs

Presentation about MMORPG gamers' use of politeness to position themselves in conversations as well as the special role of English as a lingua franca // 5th Brno conference on linguistic studies in English 2012: English as the Lingua Franca of the modern world: New challenges for academia; 2012; Department of English Language and Literature at the Faculty of Education Masarykovy univerzity Brno