2020, Volume 17, Issue 3

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Margarita A. Klimova
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Nicknames in Video Gaming: Functional Use and Variation

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp. 293–315 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.3.045

Received on 29 August 2019

Abstract: The article discusses the use of nicknames in online games (specifically, the Dota 2 game) which constitutes a completely new field of onomastic research. The paper starts by reviewing the main onomastic issues related to nicknames: correlation with similar and synonymous terms, questions of their status amongst other categories of anthroponyms, approaches to classifying, including the functional typology. It is exactly the study of the functional use of nicknames and their variability that the paper is devoted to. The game is rather popular and has a large community of players divided into the amateur and the professional clusters, although this opposition is rather diffuse. The functional specificity of nicknames in Dota 2 manifests itself in a number of in-game communication features and a range of pragmatic indicators. The revealed features help to distinguish the nicknames from pseudonyms and player names, and also provide the grounds for their separate consideration in professional and amateur eSports. The diversity of virtual nicknames was studied based on self-appellations of professional Russian-speaking players. Their range can be represented as a field structure where the main (the most recognizable) nickname constitutes the core, and the periphery is formed by its modifications at different levels. An online survey of amateur players was conducted to explore individual motivation behind the nickname choice. In the case of pragmatic purposeful naming, the functions are found to be diverse. It is concluded that nicknames as a category of anthroponyms are subject to internal functional differentiation.

Keywords: virtual personal name, nickname, video games, Dota 2, eSports, nickname functions, pragmatics of anthroponym usage, anthroponymic variation.


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