Extra-Mural Activities and Their Effect on Second Language Development : A Comparative Study of Upper Secondary Swedish L1 Gamers and Non-Gamers
Sammanfattning: Today, English is the most studied second language, being used in academia, international relations, social forums and mainstream entertainment, resulting in English becoming a common topic of research in the study of second language acquisition. One particularly interesting form of entertainment is the hobby of online digital gaming as English has become the de facto language used in absence of a shared native language among players. Because so many young people play these types of games, recent research has focused on the relationship between activities such as online digital gaming and English proficiency levels. This study aims to further this research by exploring whether any differences in conversation skills/strategies, lexical diversity and utterance length exist between Swedish speaking Upper Secondary School MMORPG gamers and non-gamers in an English, task-based setting. The theoretical background consists of theories in second language acquisition and conversation analysis in combination with studies relating to online digital gaming and English development. Results revealed few differences in conversational skills/strategies between the two groups, but did show differences in lexical diversity and average length of utterances, especially in relation to age. The study’s conclusion is that differences regarding conversation skills/strategies were difficult to see due to their high level of English skills, but that gamers had a slightly higher lexical diversity and average utterance length in comparison to non-gamers of equal age. This was likely due to the large amounts of input and interaction provided by the Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) they play. This has educational implications, encouraging teachers to take new approaches to teaching, while encouraging students to engage in extra-mural activities that benefit their language development.
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