Constructing authorial pseudonyms and authorial identity in online fanfiction communities
This article undertakes the first linguistic analysis of the innovative online pseudonyms (e.g., <smollouisandtolharry>, <00Q007Narry>, <b0yfriendsinl0ve>) used by fanfiction authors. Specifically, this research explores the most frequent lexical formation processes employed when creating pseudonyms, why these processes are used, and what they reveal about authorial identity in fanfiction communities. The most common formation methods identified across the 600 names analysed are compounding, blending, and variant spellings. All three of these processes allow authors to create memorable and unique names which distinguish their work from that of other writers in their community. Indeed, despite their use of pseudonyms, these authors are still highlighting their individual authorial identities, and they do this by turning the process of creating a pseudonym into a ludic experiment in linguistic innovation. Consequently, future studies should further explore the relationship between self-selected names and the articulation of identity.
Keywords: identity, pseudonyms, fanfiction, onomastics, word formation, lexis, online communities
Published online: 13 December 2019
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