Game of Thrones : a game of accents? : a sociolinguistic study of the representation of accents in HBO's television series
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This thesis examines accent representation in the first season of HBO`s television series Game of Thrones. The study intends to contribute to the relatively small sociolinguistic field of how accents are used and represented in fiction. The thesis has two purposes: 1) to examine what accents are represented in Game of Thrones, and 2) to determine how the accents correlate with the portrayal of the characters. Standard language ideology, language attitudes and stereotyping provide an overview of sociolinguistic concepts linked to accent. Moreover, the study outlines relevant language attitudinal studies as well as studies of the function of dialect and accents onscreen. This provides the theoretical backdrop for the thesis, which helps to facilitate the qualitative discussion of the results. One of the main hypotheses was that the accent representation could largely be connected to the regional area a character is from. However, this proved to be only partly true, which suggests a symbolic representation rather than a realistic one. In particular, non-prestige accents tend to be more represented amongst male characters, or those with particular masculine traits, or for characters with a low level of sophistication and/or social status. Prestige accents were correlated to a smaller range of variation; mostly the speakers of such varieties had a high level of sophistication as well as social status. Female characters and children spoke with a prestige accent, for the most part. In addition, interpersonal relationship and authenticity proved to be two aspects that also correlated with accent representation.