Second Language Acquisition and Multiplayer Gaming

Authored by: Jonathon Reinhardt , Samantha Kirby

The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Technology

Print publication date:  February  2022
Online publication date:  February  2022

Print ISBN: 9780815360773
eBook ISBN: 9781351117586
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the phenomenon of SLA in social, multiplayer digital gaming contexts, for example, in MMOGs, or massively multiplayer online games. After providing some background and history of multiplayer gaming, we focus on the notion of game interaction and how it can be conceptualized in relation to SLA. We then survey research that has applied the aforementioned variety of SLA frameworks to analysis of multiplayer L2 interaction. Using pedagogical metaphors, we then discuss implications for practice and the design of L2 educational games. We then present and advocate for a design-informed approach and describe seven game mechanics or types—adventure, narrative, open world, role play, socialization, survival, and team cooperative—that might be examined more closely for their SLA potential when played in multiplayer modes. We conclude with a call for more research that attempts to associate these designed multiplayer mechanics and L2 learning outcomes.

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