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Analysing English as a Lingua Franca in Video Games

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


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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7. In-game scripted interactions


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7.    In-game scripted interactions

The third part of this book explores the English lingua-franca variations uttered by a number of non-native characters in a selected corpus of video games. Whereas the previous chapters have investigated the ELF exchanges between real players, this part will enquire into the linguistic and functional dimensions of pre-planned interactions. Since the production and reception of audiovisual texts are considered as communicative processes by which senders try to transfer their intentionality to the receivers (namely, the players), it is contended that the “scripted lingua-franca variations” integrate the audiovisual construction of video games to convey an accessible, multimodal characterisation of non- native participants. The analysis of these communicative contexts shall be carried out by adopting a Model that is here devised, which is meant to enquire into to what extent the construction and appropriate reception of the scripted lingua-franca variations stem from the senders’ and recipients’ cognitive and linguistic dimensions. After dealing with the reasons behind the proposal of the Model (7.1), its main phase and stages will be introduced (7.2), along with the examined video-game scripts (7.3).

7.1    ALFA Model: rationale

This study devises a model that has to support the analysis and interpretation of how the lexical, syntactic and phonological features of ELF variations, and the extralinguistic construction of audiovisual texts, aim at prompting specific reactions in the receivers, such as the identification of non-native participants in the cross-cultural, lingua-franca interactions planned by the script...

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