Language, Culture, and Identity in Online Fanfiction

This article draws on constructions in second-language acquisition, literacy, cultural, and media studies as theoretical bases for examining how networked technologies and fan culture provide a young English language learner (ELL) with a site for developing her English language and writing skills.

Black studied an 11-year-old girl, Tanaka Nanako, a native Mandarin Chinese speaker who moved to a large Canadian city from China didn’t speak any English. It’s difficult for her to make friends and adapt the courses at school in Canada. After she joined Fanfiction.net and created a personal page, her writing and reading skills have been improved and she also achieved the identity of a successful and wildly popular author in this space.

Fanfiction is writing in which fans use media narratives and pop cultural icons as inspiration for creating their own texts. All the texts in fanfiction are written in English which force the authors to writing in English, gradually their writing skill has been improved. On the other hand, they expose more and gain more vocabulary. Fanfiction involves collaborative learning, learners can share and comment on each other in common interest such as music, comics, dramas, etc. so that the authors can make their work better. This website encourages those learners who are shy and have a negative experience in the context of formal schooling. As a result, they turn out to be very positive in using English online. I would agree that this tool helps learners in reading and writing, but how about their speaking and listening skills?

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