FAN PRACTICES AND LANGUAGE LEARNING
@shansauro | ssauro.info| firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Do you know how your
pupils use languages other
than Swedish for fun
(outside of school)?
2. What are your pupils fans
of? What are you a fan of?
3. Have you ever read or
“…’fan’ is actually a much wider social category, referring to a mode
of participation with a long history in a variety of cultural activities,
including literature, sports, theater, film, and television.”
(Cavicchi, 1998 p. 3)
“A fan is a person with a relatively deep positive emotional conviction
about someone or something famous...”
(Duffet, 2013, p. 18)
“the local and international networks of fans that develop around
a particular program, text or other media product” (Sauro, 2014,
that learners come in
contact with or are engaged
in outside the walls of the
generally on a voluntary
basis.” (Sundqvist & Sylvén,
2014, p. 4)
CALL (computer assisted
language learning) in the
“informal language learning
that takes places in digital
spaces, communities, and
networks that are
independent of formal
(Sauro & Zourou, 2017, p.
A Few Fan Practices
• Anime and manga consumption
• Fan site web design
• Debating and modding
• Amateur translation
Anime and Manga
Anime consumption inspired
and enhanced Japanese
learning which inspired further
enagement with Japanese
anime (Fukunaga, 2006).
One learner developed a new
textual identity through regular
correspondence in English
around the design of a fan
website. (Lam, 2000).
Debating and Moderating
Advanced leadership and
literacy skill development by a
13-year-old engaged in debate
and moderating discussions in
an online discussion boards
and fan sites.
Fansubbing & Scanlation
The development and use of
intercultural and language skills
of 26-year-old Spanish manga fan
who engaged in amateur
translations (scanlation) of
Japanese manga into Spanish
(Valero-Porras & Cassany, 2015).
"writing that continues,
interrupts, reimagines, or just
riffs on stories and characters
other people have already
(Jamison, 2013 p. 17)
Fanfiction and Language Learning
• Case studies of teen learners’ use of fanfiction in anime fandoms to
transition from novice writer in English to successful writer (Black, 2006)
• Bilingual fanfiction writing practices of young Finnish fans of American
television shows to index multilingualism and global citizenship (Lepännen,
et al, 2009)
1. Can you imagine adapting any of
the fan practices mentioned
here or in the readings for your
2. If so, which ones?
3. What challenges might you face
trying to domesticate these
activities for your classroom?
The Blogging Hobbit
Blog-Based Collaborative Role-play
Inspiration for task and technology
and model from the Harry Potter
role play fanfic community,
Darkness Rising, on LiveJournal.
• Communal Blog
• Individual players/writers
participated using blogs made for
• Stories begin with a prompt or
background in a post.
• The story evolves in nested
A collaborative story of a missing moment from Tolkien’s
Task 1: Story outline and map
Task 2: Collaborative roleplay fanfiction - each group member to
write from the perspective of one character from The Hobbit
Task 3: Reflective paper
Detailed instructions available as a PDF here.
“this writing activity has
influenced my language
skills…. During this project I
have been able to expand
my repertoar [sic] of
English words which are
not so commonly used in
everyday English anymore.”
(Student 14, Cohort 2013)
“[a]fter a short
while, the writing
became very fluent
and I did not have to
think too hard
(Student 40, Cohort 2013)
It is lying still, yet it spins around
It tries to move but its body is bound
All because of the precious it stole
Fool us again and they eats it whole.
(from The Mirkwood Mysteries)
“…I would choose another book. I
felt it unfair to work with The
Hobbit on such a project since a
big part was to connect with a
character from the book and write
from that perspective. To choose a
book with absolutely no women at
all made me not wanting to take
neither Tolkien nor this
assignment to heart.”
(Nonfan, Cohort 2014)
“…fanfics that get really popular, they
kind of answer to some kind of
fantasy that people have about the
characters. Or something they really
want to explore or they create an
alternate universe … We didn’t have
anything like that, really. I mean, I
think ours was very, kind of, very
much like the book it a way, so
maybe it wasn’t as exciting as some
other fanfiction because it wasn’t
innovating in that way…”
B, Dream Team Interview
(Sauro & Sundmark, 2016)
Collaborative mystery writing
1. Retell a Sherlock Holmes
mystery or tell an original
mystery but in an alternate
2. Tell an original Sherlock
Holmes mystery in the
original context (Victorian
London) OR an alternate
Instructions available in PDF here
Example Fanfic Readings
The Beleaguered Red-Head by moonblossom - Retelling of The Red-
Headed League in the BBC Sherlock Universe
The Adventure of the Bridegroom’s Photograph by spacemutineer
Original casefic based on a real life mystery – ACD Holmes
The Vast Profundity Obscure by mistyzeo - Original casefic - ACD
Holmes/His Dark Materials fusion
“…my interest in Doyle and the
Sherlock Holmes world is still at
an intermediate level…. On the
other hand, my knowledge of
the Scooby Doo universe is far
greater and I could enter that
verse much easier than the
universe of Sherlock Holmes. As
a child I loved the characters of
the Mystery Gang and therefore
I really enjoyed this task.”
(Student 18, Cohort 2015)
“Good afternoon, sir.
This is Bragevägen 21B,
the home of Sherlock
Holmes? Is he available?”
asked one of the officers
who introduced himself
as chief officer
The von Sydow Murders
“…instead of saying “he said”, we and Doyle instead used “said he”. Second, we
and Doyle often, from Watson’s perspective, referred to Sherlock Holmes as “my
colleague”, and from Sherlock’s perspective referring to Watson as “my friend”.
Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes often said “pray” instead of “please”, and “I fancy”
instead of “I believe”, which we also used in our fanfiction. “
(Student 16, Cohort 2015)
“First off, I am highly Americanized in
my English use, and I blame
Hollywood. It has been a welcomed
challenge to write in British. My
biggest inspiration has once again
been the BBC show.…I truly enjoyed
using the word ‘foggiest’ in a text,
and it is now a part of my vocabulary.
My American is being invaded, ‘the
British are coming!’”
CURIOUS? THIS YEAR’S STORIES AVAILABLE HERE.
Black, R.W. (2006). Language, culture, and identity in online fanfiction. E-learning, 3, 180–184.
Cavicchi, D. (1998). Tramps like us: Music and meaning among Springsteen fans. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Curwood, J.S. (2013). Fan fiction, remix culture, and The Potter Games. In V.E. Frankel (Ed.), Teaching with Harry Potter (pp.
81-92). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom: An introduction to the study of media fan culture. New York/London:
Fukunaga, N. (2006). “Those anime students”: Foreign language literacy development through Japanese popular culture.
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(3), 206-222.
Jamison, A. (2013). ‘Why Fic?’ in A. Jamison (ed.). Fic: Why fanfiction is taking over the world. Dallas, TX: Smart Pop Books.
Lam, W. S. E. (2000). Literacy and the design of the self: A case study of a teenager writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly,
Lepännen, S., Pitkänen-Huhta, A., Piirainen-Marsch, A., Nikula, T., & Peuronen, S. (2009). Young people’s translocal new
media uses: A multiperspective analysis of language choice and hetero-glossia. Journal of Computer-Mediated
Communication, 14, 1080–1107.
Sauro, S. (2014). Lessons from the fandom: Task models for technology-enhanced language learning. In M. González-Lloret
& L. Ortega (Eds). Technology-mediated TBLT: Researching technology and tasks, (pp. 239-262). Amsterdam/Philadelphia:
Sauro, S., & Sundmark, B. (2016,) Report from Middle Earth: Fanfiction tasks in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal, 70(4), 414-
423 . doi: 10.1093/elt/ccv075
Sauro, S., & Zourou, K. (2017). CALL for papers for CALL in the Digital Wilds special issue. Language Learning & Technology,
Sundqvist, P., & Sylvén, L.K., (2014). Language-related computer use: Focus on young L2 English learners in Sweden.
ReCALL, 26(1), 3-20.