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Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology. Abelin , Axelsson , Schroeder Dept. of Linguistics, Gothenburg University Dept. of Technology and Society, Chalmers University of Technology.

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Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish?Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Abelin, Axelsson, Schroeder

Dept. of Linguistics,

Gothenburg University

Dept. of Technology and Society,

Chalmers University of Technology


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Intercultural Communication in Virtual Environments (ICVE)

The project is a collaboration between the Department of Technology and Society at Chalmers

University, Chalmers Medialab and the Dept. of Linguistics at Göteborg University, and is

financed by The Swedish Transport and Communications Research Board

Aim: to investigate how people communicate in Virtual Environments (VE’s)

Important questions:

What is specific about communicating in different VE's?

How does people's cultural background and previous knowledge affect their

communication and performance?

How is their social interaction related to their experience of presence and co-presence?

What is the usability of Virtual Reality?


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Aim of this study

Study how people with different languages communicate and interact in an Internet-based virtual environment, Active Worlds


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Active Worlds

Text-based 3-D computer-generated graphical environment

700 interlinked virtual worlds used by 100–300 users every day

User is represented by an avatar and can use a selection of movements (jump, wave, anger etc) and move around (walk, run, fly)

Users meet and socialise: talk, walk, build, play card games, go bowling etc


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

cont. Active Worlds

Worlds can be cosmopolitan, language specific, thematic …

AW still exits after more than 10 years


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

See www.ccon.org


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish: Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Previous studies of Computer Mediated Communication

A higher degree of informality and status equalization compared to face-to-face situations

Misztal (2000), Kiesler and Sproull (1992)

Traits similar to both spoken and written communication

Werry (1996), Yates (1996), Du Bartell (1995)

English is the most common language used in AW

Allwood and Schroeder (2000),


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Study Design

Method:Extensive participant observation of on-going conversations and interaction between users, in cosmopolitan and thematic worlds.

Material:Approximately 50 hours of logged text conversations


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

  • Example 1

  • (French world)

  • mimi:tu hablar portugues...mi frances y un poco english [you speak Portuguese ... me French and a little English]

  • “Frederino Toca”:ablo poco inglês también [I speak little English also]

  • “Frederino Toca”:y espanhol [and Spanish]


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Example 2

(French world)

mimi:you are a nina or a nino? [you are a girl or a boy?]


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Example 3

(Cosmopolitan world)

"Benni":älkääpä pilkatko [don't tease]

Stan:brb

"pOpmAn":stop talking finnish


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Example 4

(Cosmopolitan world)

Mikael:Hej GK...Allt väl? [Hi GK, Everything all right?]

Kango:and bye Happy..:)

"GoodCake":allt är bra [everything’s fine]

"GoodCake":du? [and you?]

Kango:arrrgh speak englihs


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Example 5

(Spanish world)

"Mano":Astes entiendes español? [Astes do you understand Spanish?]

"Hans":falas espanol? [Do you speak Spanish?]


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Example 6

(Spanish world)

"Astes":tambem é muito bueno teclar com voces da Spanha [it is also very nice to "keybord-button" with you in Spain]


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Example 7

(Spanish world)

"Mano":Astes, en el mundo de BRAZIL hay brasileños que hablan tu idioma ve y podras hablar con ellos [Astes, in the world BRAZIL there are brasilians who speak your language go and you can talk to them]


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Example 8

(Cosmopolitan world)

"RAXOR":I LIVE IN [NAME OF A NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY]

Dana van Droen: better take your caps off.

Dana van Droen: that is considered shouting here... and my bot will boot you.

"RAXOR":I DON`T UNDERSTAND

Dana van Droen: don't TYPE LIKE THIS

"RAXOR": YOU IS BEAUTIFUL

Dana van Droen: That is yelling.

Dana van Droen: take your capital letters off please.


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Main results

Language encounters are common throughout Active Worlds

Language encounters are more common in cosmopolitan (pre-dominantly English speaking) worlds compared with the language specific worlds

>>


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

>>

Three main reasons for introducing a language:

1) to find fellow speakers (“Anyone speak Spanish?”)

2) to start off language play

3) to disturb the on-going conversation

>>


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

>>

The introduced language is either

Accepted

Rejected

or

Ignored

>>


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

>>

The response depends on

1) main type of language (English, non-English or insider jargon)

2) the character of the setting (cosmopolitan, language specific or thematic)

3) Intention of language introducer (establish contact, initiate language play or disturb conversation)

>>


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

>>

English is usually accepted also in language specific worlds (Spanish, Italian, Russian etc); non-English worlds are more tolerant than English worlds

English speakers accept non-English languages more in thematic settings than in cosmopolitan worlds

Regular users are more tolerant to non-English languages than Internet newcomers are


Anyone speak spanish language encounters in multi user virtual environments and the influence of technology

Anyone speak Spanish? Language encounters in Multi-User Virtual Environments and the Influence of Technology

Conclusions

English is the main language in Active Worlds and acts as a back-up language in non-English settings

Non-English worlds are more tolerant to introduced languages than predominantly English worlds are. Non-English speakers are more often multi-lingual

However, experienced English speaking users – in thematic worlds – are tolerant to non-English languages. They are familiar with the playful Internet jargon

Users are more willing to try out a new language in AW compared with face-to-face settings


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