Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Learner interaction in a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG): A sociocultural discourse analysis*

  • Mark Peterson (a1)
Abstract

This exploratory study investigates the linguistic and social interaction of four intermediate EFL learners during game play in a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG). Twelve illustrative episodes drawn from the participants’ text chat, collected in four 70-minute sessions held over a one-month period, are analyzed from a sociocultural perspective. Qualitative analysis reveals the presence of interactional features associated with the development of sociocultural competence. Throughout this study the learners successfully engaged in collaborative social interaction involving dialogue, conducted exclusively in the target language. Participants made appropriate use of politeness involving greetings, informal language, small talk, humor, and leave-takings, as a means to support the operation of collaborative interpersonal relationships. These relationships appeared based on reciprocity, friendship, and teamwork. They were effective in facilitating the creation of a low stress atmosphere characterized by social cohesion that was conducive to co-construction, and the consistent production of coherent target language output. The data indicates that the learners were able to jointly establish, and maintain, states of intersubjectivity through the use of continuers, and requests for assistance relevant to in-game tasks. Learner feedback was positive, and suggests that although the participants found the game play challenging, as this research progressed they became increasingly comfortable as their familiarity with the game increased. Aspects of participation identified by the learners as beneficial included opportunities for risk-taking, enhanced fluency practice, and exposure to vocabulary not normally encountered in regular language classes. The analysis suggests that the game provided access to an environment conducive to forms of collaborative target language use and social interaction identified as beneficial in the sociocultural account of language development.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

This research was made possible by the generous support of the Hayao Nakayama foundation for science, technology, and culture.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Ang, C. S.Zaphiris, P. (2006) Developing enjoyable second language learning software tools: A computer game paradigm. In: Zaphiris, P. and Zacharia, G. (eds.), User-centered computer aided language learning. New York: Idea Group, 122.
Anton, M.DiCamilla, F. (1998) Socio-cognitive functions of L1 in collaborative interaction in the L2 classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review, 54(3): 314342.
Atkinson, D. (2002) Towards a sociocognitive approach to second language acquistion. The Modern Language Journal, 86(5): 525545.
Brown, P.Levinson, S. (1987) Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Darhower, M. (2002) Interactional features of synchronous computer-mediated communication in the intermediate L2 class: A sociocultural case study. CALICO Journal, 19(2): 249277.
Deutschmann, M., Panichi, L.Molka-Danielsson, J. (2009) Designing oral participation in Second Life—a comparative study of two language proficiency courses. ReCALL, 21(2): 206226.
Donaldson, R. P.Kötter, M. (1999) Language learning in cyberspace: Teleporting the classroom into the target culture. CALICO Journal, 16(1): 531557.
Firth, A.Wagner, J. (2007) On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. The Modern Language Journal, 91(5): 757772.
Foster, P.Ohta, A. S. (2005) Negotiation for meaning and peer assistance in second language classrooms. Applied Linguistics, 26(3): 402430.
Gee, J. P. (2005) Learning by design: Good video games as learning machines. E-Learning, 2(1): 516.
Jauregi, K., Canto, S., de Graff, R., Koenraad, T.Moonen, M. (2011) Verbal interaction in Second Life: towards a pedagogic framework for task design. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 24(1): 77101.
Lafford, B. A. (2007) Second language acquisition reconceptualized? the impact of Firth and Wagner (1997). The Modern Language Journal, 91(5): 735756.
Lantolf, J. P. (2000) Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lantolf, J. P.Appel, G. (1994) Vygotskian approaches to second language research. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Lantolf, J. P.Thorne, S. L. (2006) Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second language development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lee, L. (2008) Focus-on-form through collaborative scaffolding in expert-to-novice online interaction. Language Learning & Technology, 12(3): 5372.
Nassaji, H.Swain, M. (2000) A Vygotskian perspective on corrective feedback in L2: the effect of random versus negotiated help in the learning of English articles. Language Awareness, 9(1): 3451.
Peterson, M. (2006) Learner interaction management in an avatar and chat-based virtual world. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 19(1): 79103.
Peterson, M. (2010a) Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) as arenas for language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 23(5): 429439.
Peterson, M. (2010b) The use of computerized games and simulations in computer-assisted language learning: A meta-analysis of research. Simulation & Gaming: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 40(1): 863885.
Peterson, M. (2011) Digital gaming and second language development: Japanese learners interactions in a MMORPG. Digital Culture & Education, 3(1): 5673.
Prensky, M. (2001) Digital game-based learning. St. Paul: Paragon House.
Purushotma, R., Thorne, S.Wheatley, J. (2009) 10 Key Principles for Designing Video Games for Foreign Language Learning. http://lingualgames.wordpress.com/article/10-key-principles-for-designing-video-27mkxqba7b13d-2/
Reinders, H.Wattana, S. (2011) Learn English or die: The effects of digital games on interaction and willingness to communicate in a foreign language. Digital Culture & Education, 3(1): 329.
Rintel, E. S.Pittam, J. (1997) Strangers in a strange land: interaction management on Internet Relay Chat. Human Communication Research, 23(4): 507534.
Rintel, E. S., Mulholland, J.Pittam, J. (2001) First things first: Internet relay chat openings. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 6(1). http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol6/issue3/rintel.html
Schwienhorst, K. (2002) Evaluating tandem language learning in the MOO: Discourse repair strategies in a bilingual Internet project. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 15(2): 135145.
Steinkuehler, C. (2008) Massively multiplayer online games as an educational technology: An outline for research. Educational Technology, 48(1): 1021.
Suh, S., Kim, S. W.Kim, N. J. (2010) Effectiveness of MMORPG-based instruction in elementary English education in Korea. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(5): 370378.
Sykes, J. M., Reinhardt, J.Thorne, S. L. (2010) Multiuser digital games as sites for research and practice. In: Hult, F. M. (ed.), Directions and prospects for educational linguistics. Amsterdam: Springer, 117135.
Thorne, S. L. (2008) Transcultural communication in open Internet environments and massively multiplayer online games. In: Magnan, S. (ed.), Mediating discourse online. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 305327.
Thorne, S. L., Black, R. W.Sykes, J. M. (2009) Second language use, socialization, and learning in Internet interest communities and online gaming. The Modern Language Journal, 93(s1): 802821.
Von Der Emde, S., Schneider, J.Kötter, M. (2001) Technically speaking: Transforming language learning through virtual learning environments (MOOs). The Modern language Journal, 85(2): 211225.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Warner, C. N. (2004) It's just a game right? Types of play in foreign language CMC. Language Learning & Technology, 8(2): 6987.
Werry, C. (1996) Linguistic and interactional features of Internet relay chat. In: Herring, S. C. (ed.), Computer-mediated communication: linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 4763.
Wertsch, J. (2007) Mediation. In: Daniels, H., Cole, M. and Wertsch, J. (eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 178192.
Zhao, Y.Lai, C. (2009) Massively multi-player online role playing games (MMORPGS) and foreign language education. In: Ferdig, R. (ed.), Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education. New York: IDEA Group, 402421.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

ReCALL
  • ISSN: 0958-3440
  • EISSN: 1474-0109
  • URL: /core/journals/recall
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 14
Total number of PDF views: 350 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1278 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th May 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.