Catalan Identity and Language Attitudes Through Fan Translation of Video Games in the Digital Wilds

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Journal of Language Identity and Education

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For fans of popular cultural products, digitization has meant the configuration of affinity spaces online and opportunities for learning in the “digital wilds,” including incidental language learning and identity development. Through online multiparty written interaction, we explored how 15 Catalan-speaking gamers organized themselves to translate games from English into Catalan. Results indicated distributed roles, routinized translation practices, and, through translating and commenting on new members’ translation tests, the emergence of folk linguistic attitudes and beliefs regarding Spanish-Catalan interference, changes to Catalan linguistic norms, or positionings towards the group’s English-Catalan translation strategy: They favored creative expressions and what they believed were idiosyncratic language choices with symbolic power to signal what Catalan is or ought to be. The group of fan translators configured a site for metapragmatic discussion and identity development which navigates across monoglot/heteroglossic, prescriptive/descriptive/idiosyncratic conceptions of language, manifesting grassroots linguistic activism fueled by the diglossic status of the Catalan language.


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