Update on Buffyspeak

After doing some preliminary research and planning earlier this summer, last week marked my first real “full-time” week working on this project. I spent last week at my grandmother’s farm, where internet is hard to come by, so unfortunately I’m a bit behind on the blogging.

xanderquotecorrectIn my quest to analyze the strange language used on the popular TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have been methodically examining each episode, either by reading scripts or watching the episodes with subtitles.  As the image on the left shows, the dialogue is jam-packed with fun language that can make the show nearly incomprehensible to those who aren’t familiar with it. I write down every line of dialogue that contains something I find interesting or unique, and split those entries into two color-coded categories: blue for new words, and green for interesting phrases that don’t necessarily contain new words. For example, in the quote in the picture, “wiggins” would be a blue entry because according to all the information I can find (including this article), the slang term “wiggins” was coined on this show. “Chalkboard Tourette’s” and “Hellmouth Lite,” on the other hand, would both be written in green, because I still think they’re noteworthy even though they are not new words.

I’m about halfway through the episodes, and I already have well over 300 entries in my binder. Some of those entries even include multiple new words! I’ve noticed several patterns with the dialogue, including how it plays into the tone of each episode, that I am excited to investigate further and share on this blog soon.



  1. rparthasarathy says:

    Hi Lindsey,

    I’m so happy to hear that your research is going well, and excited to see what you discovered! I’m guessing you’ll move to some kind of computational text-analysis soon, rather than staying on paper in binders? I remember reading once that there are many more synonyms for negative words and feelings than there are for positive words and feelings, and it would be really intriguing to see if most of the made-up words are positive in connotation (in order to sort of fill that gap, as it were) or if they generally match the mood of the episode they’re in. I’m psyched to see what you’ll find!

    Best wishes with your research 🙂