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Massively Semiotic Ecologies and L2 Development: Gaming Cases and Issues
The Modern Language Journal (2012)
  • Steven L. Thorne, Portland State University
In dialectic tension with the immense growth in digital information and communication media, Internet information and communication technologies have amplified conventional communicative practices in the areas of breadth, impact, and speed and also have enabled the emergence of new communicative, cultural, and cognitive practices. These practices emerge within distinctive cultures-of-use—that is, the process wherein communication tools and the practices they mediate co-evolve (Thorne, 2003). With these aforementioned issues as context, this article begins by describing contradictory appraisals of the perceived value and complexity of new and ‘sociable media’ (Donath, 2004) environments. This is followed by a discussion of the diverse semiotic ecology comprising the widely played massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft (hereafter WoW), including routine player engagement with written texts and exposure to multiple languages, assessment of the linguistic complexity of texts designated as highly important by players, and consideration of attendant textual and expressive activity occurring outside of the game, with the purpose of better understanding the potential usefulness of online gaming, and WoW in particular, as a setting for language use and learning.
  • Second language acquisition,
  • Semiotics,
  • Internet games,
  • World of Warcraft (Game)
Publication Date
Citation Information
Steven L. Thorne. "Massively Semiotic Ecologies and L2 Development: Gaming Cases and Issues" The Modern Language Journal Vol. 89 Iss. 3 (2012)
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