The digital fandom of Na'vi speakers

  • Christine Schreyer University of British Columbia
Keywords: Avatar, Community, Fans


Few academic studies have focused on the fans of created or constructed languages. One reason behind this may be the popular impression, intensified by the media, that speakers of these languages are obsessed fans or fanatics. In this essay, I use data from a survey conducted in summer 2011 to determine who is learning to speak Na'vi (a language constructed for the alien race in the 2009 film Avatar), how they are learning the language, and why they are learning the language. I also address the questions of how important community is to fandoms, as well as whether virtual fandoms constitute communities. Na'vi speakers are a digital fandom as well as a speech community, and Na'vi speakers are developing shared social norms and culture via their use of the Na'vi language.

Author Biography

Christine Schreyer, University of British Columbia
I am an assistant professor of linguistic anthropology in Community, Culture and Global Studies at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus.