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Multimodal analysis of language learning in World of Warcraft play: Languaging as Values-realizing

  • Dongping Zheng (a1), Kristi Newgarden (a2) and Michael F. Young (a3)

Applying Communicative Project theory (Linell, 2009), we identify and distinguish between the different coordination and language activities that emerged during an episode of World of Warcraft (WoW) gameplay involving English Language learners (ELLs). We further investigate ELLs’ coordinations between killing and caring, self and others, in which language and action arise. Using multimodal analysis, we found: 1) a diverse tapestry of communicative activities unlikely to match what would be found in a classroom environment; 2) that the values realizing involved in killing (a typical action in WoW) demonstrates a strong covariate tie with caring; and 3) that players’ values realizing is multi-layered, heterarchical and dynamic at a given time and space of situated interaction. We conclude by making suggestions for 1) the design of learning environments based on affordances for coaction and rich communicative activities and 2) the reconceiving of language learning as skilled linguistic action (Cowley, in press) grounded in situated learning and participation in intercultural, technology-mediated L2 networks.

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