"I really have no idea what non-fandom people do with their lives." A multimodal and corpus-based analysis of fanfiction


Abstract – Fandom is a growing phenomenon in the contemporary user-generated mediascape, inasmuch as it is capitalizing on the unprecedented possibilities of publication, distribution and interaction made available by digital technologies (Hellekson, Busse 2006; Stein, Busse 2012). In transmedia storytelling, integral elements of a story are dispersed systematically across various delivery channels with the goal of creating a networked entertainment experience (Jenkins 2006, 2007). Stories are no longer experienced through linear narratives, but they are accessed through several “points of entries” that encourage a customized reading/viewing/writing practice: the global fanfiction experience. Fanfiction is explored of this study from two distinct but complementary theoretical and methodological standpoints.

Building on previous studies on the matter (Thomas 2010; Sindoni 2013) and drawing on a mono-generic corpus, LJFic, the research questions that this paper addresses deal with diatypic variation (Halliday 1991) in fanfiction from both linguistic and multimodal perspectives. Keyness analyses have been carried out using two different reference corpora (FLOB and COCA), assuming that such analyses can shed light on a range of linguistic issues, for example with regard to spoken/written variation (approximating Biber’s MF/MD analysis, 1988) and with a focus on the most prominent lexical items for the investigation of the entries’ aboutness (Scott, Tribble 2006; Bondi, Scott 2010). However, a purely computational analysis cannot account for the multimodal nature of fanfiction. To fill this gap, a sample of entries will be analysed qualitatively, by unearthing and unpacking the multimodal resources involved.

Abstract – Il fandom è un fenomeno in crescita nel panorama mediatico contemporaneo prodotto dagli utenti. Tale diffusione è legata alle possibilità senza precedenti di pubblicare, distribuire e interagire, resa possibile dalle tecnologie digitali. Nella narrazione transmediale, gli elementi integrali di una storia sono sistematicamente dispersi tramite vari canali di distribuzione per creare un’esperienza interconnessa e ramificata di intrattenimento (Jenkins 2006, 2007). Le storie cessano di essere delle esperienze di narrazione lineare, e i diversi punti di accesso alla storia incoraggiano una pratica di lettura, visione o scrittura personalizzata: l’esperienza globale della fanfiction. Questo studio si concentra sul fenomeno della fanfiction da due prospettive teoriche e metodologiche distinte, ma complementari.

Partendo da studi precedenti (Thomas 2010; Sindoni 2013) e basandosi sui dati forniti da un corpus monogenerico, LJFic, le domande a cui questo studio tenta di rispondere riguardano la variazione diatipica (Halliday 1991) nella fanfiction da un punto di vista sia linguistico che multimodale. Si discuteranno gli esiti di un’analisi di  keyness svolta con due corpora di riferimento (FLOB e COCA), ipotizzando che questa possa gettare luce su una serie di questioni linguistiche, per esempio riguardanti la variazione diamesica (approssimando i risultati che si sarebbero potuti ottenere tramite l’analisi multidimensionale di Biber 1988) e con un’attenzione specifica verso i lemmi più frequenti per comprendere l’aboutness dei testi (Scott, Tribble 2006; Bondi, Scotti 2010). Tuttavia, un’analisi puramente quantitativa non può rendere conto della natura eminentemente multimodale della fanfiction. Per colmare tale lacuna, un campione di post sarà analizzato qualitativamente tramite lo scavo e la dissezione delle risorse multimodali.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v13p277

Keywords: fandom and fanfiction; blog; multimodality; corpus analysis; keyness analysis


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