Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Linguistic Theory & Typology

First Advisor

Dr. Allison Burkette

Second Advisor

Dr. Dennis Preston


For researchers, the study of video game players - how they behave, interact, and cooperate in a virtual world – presents a challenge: what methodologies are best suited to approaching these interactions? From a sociolinguistic approach, how do gamers converse, and what do these conversations reveal about epistemic, affective, and political relationships? This study uses John DuBois’ Stance Theory (2007) and recent modifications of it (Kiesling 2022), to analyze data gathered from the popular multiplayer online battle-arena (MOBA) game League of Legends. It focuses on in-game interlocutors’ conversation samples to show their positioning, intersubjective alignment, and evaluation of a constantly changing speech environment. DuBois’ Stance Triangle permits visualization of the stances taken within such chat-room interactions that focus on player comments concerning the game, game-playing, and other gamers (as well as themselves). In the search for stance identity, DuBois’ model specifically seeks to understand the alignment between interlocutors, the evaluation each interlocutor makes of the stance object, and the position each interlocutor takes with regard to that object.

This study builds on the work of researchers in stance-based analysis of gaming discourse (Sierra 2016), multimodality (Collister 2012), and language acquisition (Bakos 2018). This triangulation model will be supplemented with other discourse and pragmatic analyses when necessary, to interpret the stance-taking in a rapidly changing online environment filled with stances often likely to be related to ethical positions and displays of commentary on a range of topics, including the meta-game skills and abilities of the players, and extra-game references, and the intersection of these concepts in the construction of attitudinal positioning, stancetaking, and inter-personal dynamics in a common goal-motivated speech environment.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)