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Does CMC Promote Language Play? Exploring Humor in Two Modalities

Issue: Vol 27 No. 1 (2010)

Journal: CALICO Journal

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.11139/cj.27.1.26-47


In view of the growing body of research on humor and language play in computer-mediated communication (CMC) which--more than any other medium--has been associated with goofing off, joking, and other nonserious communication, this paper compares spontaneous foreign language play (L2 play) in text-only synchronous computer-mediated versus face-to-face (FTF) discussions. We examine how small groups of advanced learners of German engage in humorous language play, specifically, how they play with identity and frame in the two modalities. With play tokens occurring at similar rates in both modalities, our findings challenge the widespread assumption that the computer medium alone promotes play.

Author: Ilona Vandergriff, Carolin Fuchs

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