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Analysing English as a Lingua Franca in Video Games

Linguistic Features, Experiential and Functional Dimensions of Online and Scripted Interactions

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Pietro Luigi Iaia

This book examines the English Lingua Franca (ELF) uses in a corpus of online and scripted video-game interactions. While research generally explores the playful and technological aspects of computer-mediated communication, this study focuses on the strategies of cooperation, language simplification and authentication, lexical creativity and meaning negotiation that are generally activated within the «community of practice of gamers» to facilitate cross-cultural conversations. The scripted exchanges, instead, are examined by means of the ALFA Model (Analysis of Lingua Franca in Audiovisual texts), which is devised to enquire into the extent to which the non-native participants’ language variations are part of the multimodal actualisation of the cognitive construct of «non-native speakers», to which authors resort in order to prompt specific reactions on the part of the receivers. Finally, since the participants’ turns in both online and scripted interactions are visually represented as written messages on screen, this research also contributes to the development of the description of written ELF variations, so far not thoroughly explored in the literature.

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4. Analysis of typographic deviations from standard norms

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4.    Analysis of typographic deviations from standard norms

This Chapter opens the second part of this book, where the selected corpus of in-game interactions is analysed. In particular, it focuses on the typographic deviations from standard norms, considering for example the lack of apostrophes or the omission of capital letters in the messages that senders produce. This account will be integrated with the examination of the lexical and syntactic deviations that may depend on the influence of the participants’ L1 background (Chapter 5), and with the investigation of the characteristics that illustrate the level of cooperation between players, who generally perceive themselves as part of the same community of discourse and practice, the virtual community of gamers.

4.1    Analysis of the selected corpus of interactions

The deviations that will be detailed here are strictly related to the written channel of communication of in-game chats. In fact, these interactions allow analysts to enquire into the inclusion or omission of capital letters or apostrophes, characteristics that are included within the group of deviations that are applicable to the study of ELF exchanges. What is more, the analysis will also illustrate that despite these modifications, the communicative dimension of the interactions is mostly preserved, since even though the apostrophes are missing, or the surface structure is not correct, speakers eventually succeed in sending their messages – and hence their intentionality. The recipients’ answers and reactions seem to confirm the appropriate reception of the interlocutors’...

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