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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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8. Analysis of in-game scripted interactions


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8.    Analysis of in-game scripted interactions

This Chapter explores the features of the English variations identified in the selected corpus of in-game scripted interactions, and illustrates their contribution to the multimodal representation of non-native speakers. The latter’s utterances will be analysed by means of the ALFA Model so as to pinpoint the lexical and syntactic deviations – mostly similar to the ones already found in real chats – as well as the audiovisual characterisation of “non-native” participants, who are visually and acoustically (and therefore not only linguistically) opposed to the native interlocutors, who generally resort to Standard English.

8.1    Analysis of Final Fantasy IX

The video games under analysis resort to specific multimodal strategies to convey their semantic and communicative dimensions to the players. One of the most common features in the English and Japanese versions is the integration between the verbal and audiovisual dimensions that mark the foreignness of some participants. The selection of the English and Japanese scripts is due to the fact that both represent the main source versions for the local renderings (Mangiron / O’Hagan 2006; Mangiron 2010; Chandler / Deming 2011). Before analysing the first multimedia text, though, it would be better to explain the particular acceptation that is given in this context to the adjectives “native” and “non native”. The selected video games, in fact, are set in fantasy worlds, so the label “native speakers” is associated with those characters that generally play high status (at...

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