November 20, 2009

Language an indicator?

This is merely a pondering of mine, but it is something I should investigate at a later date.

In linguistics in college I remember hearing about the different ways boys and girls would talk to teach other when they were building up friendships.  Boys would tend to have conversations where one was besting the other.  One would say "I kicked the ball really high!" and another would respond "Well I kicked it higher than you!"  And even another would add "I kicked the ball up to the clouds!"  This was just a friendly conversation that boys had with each other, not super competitive but the idea is still there.

Girls would actually talk about what they had in common.  One girl would mention "My mom has blue eyes" and another in excitement would go "My mom has blue eyes too!"  Very different in the sense that instead of trying to be bigger and better than one another like the boys, the girls try to be very much alike.

Of course these differences don't quite stay that way as everyone grows older, but it started to make me think about what the original Dungeons and Dragons was like.  Characters are constantly on quests to get the best rewards.  Each character is trying to level up to become the best fighter/archer/mage/thief in the land.  Although the players may not be comparing themselves to each other, they will be comparing their skills and stats to other non-player characters they encounter in game, and over time in the campaign these characters may become the expert.

The other day while reading the thesis I talked about earlier, the description of gaming reminded me of what I learned in linguistics.  Is it possible that games like D&D help continue the competitive conversation habits that men had when they were young boys?  I can't say for sure, but I find the connection very interesting.

Sometimes I had become an academic so I could find a way to study this more closely, with actual research papers.  This is definitely one of those times.

1 comment:

  1. Considering the way some guys brag about their WoW characters or their Halo exploits (etc.), I'd have to save your thesis is spot on.