UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

You're the only one who knows my true identity : how fandoms create new identities for constructed language learners Peacey, Brianna


This thesis explores the intersections between fan studies, feminism, language, identity, and belonging. To do this, I employed community-based research with the online language fan community, Slakgedakru, who spend time learning the language Trigedasleng. Trigedasleng was made for the television show The 100, which airs on The CW Network. The members of Slakgedakru consist of both fans of the language and fans of the show. Many assumptions about fans have cast them in a negative light and this research also aims to dispel misconceptions about fans. Fans are more often intelligent, mature, and reasoning than they are portrayed. This is especially true of language fans, who spend their time learning grammar and vocabulary, and, in the case of Slakgedakru, expanding the language. Slakgedakru’s international member base emphasizes the importance of online research. This research consisted of two phases: the first included a general survey for anyone learning Trigedasleng and an interview with the language’s creator, David J. Peterson; the second phase involved two text-based focus groups, one on the software platform Slack and one on the software platform Discord, both of which Slakgedakru belong to. Throughout these phases, I also conducted participant observation within the general, public chat channels on both platforms. Once these phases were complete, I analyzed the data and found that Slakgedakru is comprised of intelligent, mature fans who are inclusive and diverse in gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. The community itself provides a space where the language, the show, and real-life intermingle and this produces discussion on real-world, complex topics. In addition, members are able to explore their diverse genders and sexualities with a community of like-minded individuals. By accessing these alternative worlds, members are able to re-imagine possibilities for the real world.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International