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The Multilingual InternetLanguage, Culture, and Communication Online$
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Brenda Danet and Susan C. Herring

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304794

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304794.001.0001

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Anyone Speak Swedish?

Anyone Speak Swedish?

Tolerance for Language Shifting in Graphical Multiuser Virtual Environments

(p.362) 16 Anyone Speak Swedish?
The Multilingual Internet

Ann-Sofie Axelsson

Åsa Abelin

Ralph Schroeder

Oxford University Press

English is the dominant language on the Internet, but as more people access the Internet, more nationalities and languages meet. This study examined language encounters in the Internet-based shared virtual environment (SVE) ActiveWorlds. The aim of the study, based on participant observations, was to discover whether language minorities are accepted or rejected by the language majority in SVE conversations, and how different conditions affect the outcome of the language encounter. It has been hypothesized that English would be the dominant language, but that minority languages would be common and well accepted by majority language-speaking users. The results showed strong English dominance. Shifts to minority languages introduced by participants were rarely accepted by English speakers and were fully accepted only in language-specific worlds.

Keywords:   chat, code switching, English, graphical chat, language shift, language choice, language dominance, language tolerance, lingua franca, virtual worlds

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