An Examination of Player and Spectator Swearing in Multiplayer Online Gaming

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Multiplayer online video games have become a popular social community where a huge number of multinational players and spectators of all ages assemble to participate and communicate between and among individuals. As this is the case, language use is worth paying attention to in the online gaming context. Thus, this study examined the use of swearing in conversations among the players and spectators of Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA2) and used a linguistic analysis methodology to explore its functionality based on the five swearing functions. The results reveal that the most frequently used function is abusive swearing, followed by cathartic, dysphemistic, emphatic, and idiomatic swearing. It is important to note that the swear words are not merely used in negatively to abuse or express unpleasant attitudes toward others, but also serve the positive purposes of releasing emotions, accentuating tokens, and playing a role as a conventional part of the language use in today’s global online communication.