The Influence of Cyber Language on Adolescents Learning English as a Second Language: Voices from Italy and Pakistan

By Roberto Bergami, Biagio Aulino and Ameena Zafar.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reports on pilot studies in Italy and Pakistan on the influence that cyber language is rapidly gaining on linguistic communities of adolescents using virtual social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. These studies focus on the use of cyber language (also known as cyber speak; net speak; text speak; net lingo; linguanet; and internetese) and how this is responding to new technologies. Data for these studies were gathered through the administration of a voluntary written survey. An analysis of the data reveals a framework of linguistic strategies used by adolescents for both on-line and off-line communications. The use of this framework allows cross-cultural comparisons on Italian adolescents studying English as a second language (L2) with Pakistani (L2) adolescents. The adolescent speech varieties discovered in this project reflect the types of observations suggested in literature by other researchers in Europe and North America. These researchers highlight the existence of a distinct and recognizable speech code that adolescents have developed and use among their peers. The paper concludes by highlighting a pedagogical rationale on the importance of including cyber language in the design of the curriculum, to ensure it is relevant and of interest to the language learner of the 21st century in the context of classroom teaching and learning.

Keywords: Foreign Language Teaching, Foreign Language Learning, Italian Adolescent, Pakistani Adolescent, Adolescent Communication, Virtual Linguistic Communities, Cyber Language

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 12, pp.107-120. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 823.761KB).

Dr. Roberto Bergami

Senior Lecturer (Practice of International Trade) and Associate Researcher, Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives, School of International Business, Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University, Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Roberto has over twenty years’ experience in the manufacturing industry, primarily within the pharmaceutical sector. He held a number of roles with an international focus in finance, sales, marketing, customer service and logistics. Roberto’s teaching spans over twenty years with experience in Higher Education, TAFE and private education providers. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer in the School of International Business at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, and an Associate Researcher in the Centre for Strategic and Economic Studies and the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing. Roberto holds a Master in Education, a Master of Business by Research (Applied Economics) and a Ph.D. Roberto is a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of South Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic. Roberto has maintained his involvement with industry through a number of peak associations where he enjoys various grades of senior level membership. In 2002, Roberto received the State of Victoria Quarantine Award for his efforts in educating students in quarantine matters. Roberto’s main areas of research interests are in international trade focus on government regulations; delivery terms (Incoterms); international payment terms; and market entry barriers. His other research interests include professional development of academics/teachers, the development of communities of practice, online teaching and online communities, migration from Emilia-Romagna (Italy) to Australia and teenage/youth dialect.

Dr. Biagio Aulino

EdD Graduate, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Biagio Aulino has a Doctor of Education from the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in the area of Second Language Education. He also has a Master of Arts degree in Italian Studies from the University of Toronto. Currently, he is Dean of French, Classical and International Languages in the York Catholic District School Board. He has been teaching for 20 years. Biagio also teaches part time at the University level in the department of Education, Methods of Foreign Languages at Niagara University in Ontario and French as a Second Language at the University of Toronto for teacher candidates who would like to teach at the elementary and secondary levels. Each summer session, Biagio teaches Italian as a Second Language to Canadian students in Italy during the month of July. His interests of study include the speech varieties of Italian Canadian adolescents, youth culture and second language acquisition.

Ameena Zafar

Assistant Professor, BBA Program Coordinator, Consultant/trainer, Faculty of Management & Social Sciences, Muhammad Ali Jinnah University, Islamabad, Punjab, Pakistan

Ameena Zafar is a Ph.D Scholar in English Education. Pakistan. She is currently an Assistant Professor, Head of the Communication Cluster, Patron of Crescendo Society and a senior member of the Consultancy at Muhammad Ali Jinnah University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Her venues of research are English for Specific Purposes, Curriculum Design, Business Research, and English Literature. She has five International Journal Publications and six International Conference Papers to her credit. She represents MAJU as a consultant/trainer at various institutions and organizations, training new and seasoned professionals. She has a varied teaching experience of seventeen years. She has taught Basic/Advanced English, Verbal Communication, Communication Skills, Business Communication, Case Study Writing, Business Report Writing, Technical Report Writing, Research Methodology, Modern/Classical Drama, Modern Novel and Prose and English Literature in the graduate, undergraduate and high school programs.


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