Mah Guildies

There are language changes happening around me again. This happens every time my friends pick up a new hobby, and it happens differently in text and in speech. Because a lot of us are interested in language and in communications, it's sometimes deliberate - but no less meaningful.

Usually it starts with the application of a term as a metaphor - for instance, you might refer to aggroing someone, which works well as a metaphor, because it implies that even though they attacked you (probably verbally; fist-fights are rare among the people I know), you did something to cause it, something you probably should have known better than to do - you entered their aggro radius. That's derived directly from mob behaviour, particularly in World of Warcraft. And after a while, aggroing someone passes into common usage. Someone who provokes a situation without preparation is already being called "a Leeroy" among folk who've never played an MMO.

We routinely use the terms of computer networking and system administration, because many of us work in those areas, or live with people who do. One household I knew when I was in college labelled goods in the fridge with unix permissions - a joke, certainly, but also instantly readable for anyone who knew the language.

We maintain mental friends lists (livejournal), speak of filtering and tagging (Web 2.0), know who's in whose household (SCA), use terms like "mosh" (grunge music and dance) and recognise the notions of top-down and bottom-up organisation (RPG world building). And this is all a parallel to other mixed jargons, other kinds of lingo and slang - "guildie" maps to "homeboy", "epixx" maps to "bling", and so on as you roll.

I want snapshots of my common-use vocabulary, so I can see how they change over time.

Posted by Drew Shiel at April 19, 2006 1:13 PM

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