Linguistik online




Sinatra, He3nry und andere moderne Enzyklopädisten. Synchron und diachron vergleichende Anmerkungen zur Eigen- und Fremdbenennung von Wikipedia-Autoren

Joachim Grzega (Eichstätt)



This paper analyzes the formation of authors' pseudonyms in the English, German, French, Italian and Spanish versions of the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. 694 semi-randomly collected Wikipedia usernames ("nicknames") are checked against traditional classifications of pseudonyms and compared to a semi-randomly collected corpus of 607 pseudonyms of English, German, French, Italian and Spanish writers of the 18th and 19th centuries (who published, at least in part, non-fictional works). The main results of the diachronic comparison are the following: (1) Qualitatively, typical modern phenomena are the replacement of letters by similar-looking special characters (called leetspeak, e. g. Serg!o for Sergio), the use of abstract nouns, the use of non-standard forms, deacronymization (e. g. when a Spanish Wikipedian's initials FG become Efegé), and the formation of nicknames from Wikipedia pseudonyms on users' discussion pages ("nick-nicknames"). (2) Qualitatively, typical historical phenomena are the use of symbols not easily representable on modern (Latin) keyboards (e. g. musical notes and Greek letters). (3) Quantitatively, there is a clear decrease in the use of Latin elements in pseudonyms. A cross-linguistic comparison of Wikipedia nicknames leads to the following characteristic features of the different Wikipedia communities: (a) English Wikipedia nicknames show the highest amount of non-onymic elements and numbers and the lowest amount of nicknames with foreign elements. (b) French-speaking Wikipedians use the lowest amount of numbers in their nicknames and are the least informative as regards telling the motivation behind their usernames. (c) Italian-speaking Wikipedians are the most open to tell about the motivation behind their usernames, use relatively few non-onymic elements in their nicknames, but are very productive as to forming nicknicknames. (d) Spanish-speaking Wikipedians use relatively few appellative lexemes, are the most reserved as to using foreign elements, but use clippings relatively often and are very productive as to forming nicknicknames. (e) German-speaking Wikipedians are most open to using foreign elements.

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