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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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Language is one of the distinguishing features of human beings, which allows people to think about the surrounding reality, and to communicate their experiences. At the same time, the existence of several cultures and social constructs may represent an obstacle to communication, but it is in this context where language reveals its great potential as a bridge by means of which speakers share and communicate their messages.

Over the years, English, mainly due to political and economic factors, has evolved in the light of a common linguistic means for international, cross-cultural communication, acquiring its status of “lingua franca”, or the language to which speakers from different linguacultural contexts may resort. This book has investigated the lingua-franca variations that people produce and use in the course of in-game real and scripted interactions – a focus that represents an important addition to the current state of ELF research, since this subject has not been thoroughly explored.

1.    Summary and results of the analyses

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