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Shannon Sauro
Malmö University, Sweden
shannon.sauro@mah.se |@shansauro | mah.academia.edu/ShannonSauro | ssauro.info
“I’M...
Extramural English
“…English-related activities
that learners come in contact
with or are engaged in outside
the walls of ...
Online Fandom
“the local and international networks of fans that develop around
a particular program, text or other media ...
Fanfiction Research in
Applied Linguistics
• Teen L2 learners’ use of fanfiction
in anime fandoms to transition from
novic...
Other Fan Practices
• Fan site web design and the
development of textual identity(Lam,
2000).
• Anime consumption and Japa...
Purpose
To explore the informal
L2 language learning
and digital literacy
development of a
Sherlock fan.
Steevee’s Fan History
2009
• Joined Supernatural Fandom
• Joined Twitter; Created a fan FB page
2010
• Joined Torchwood an...
“As we have noted, motivation
is never simply in the hands of
the motivated individual learner
but is constructed and
cons...
I tried to shift my accent
from American English to
British English. I tried to
learn to write colour with
‘ou’ and so on....
Spoiling
“…the purposeful discovery of crucial developments in the plot of a fictional
story of a film or TV series before...
“The non-native speakers are really the lose canon because
they might understand something incorrectly because of their
ow...
Due to the massive increase of hits and followers due to setlock, I somehow
became someone who was consulted on various th...
Affordances
“text-making practices are not
determined by what the
resources naturally offer but
are shaped by how people
p...
“Many young people today
consider what exists on the
Internet freely available raw
material to be used however
they see fi...
That was the first thing I
learned on Twitter,
basically. How not to
steal anybody’s tweet
because I got yelled at
for cop...
Twenty-first century
skills include critical
thinking, information
literacy, global
citizenship.
(Suto, 2013)
And setlock has taught me in a way to check many things that come up.
Like today, it was the Pope posted his first selfie…...
I know I have those tools because of fandom. To
think differently. To think critically. Especially to try
to see it from a...
1. Experience working
with clients from
multiple countries
2. Social media savvy
3. Internet research skills
4. Native wri...
References
Black, R.W. (2009). Online fan fiction, global identities, and imagination. Research in the Teaching of English...
Acknowledgements
Graphics
Fox Estacado of The Art of Fox Estacado: Fine Fan Art and Geekery (artbyfox.storenvy.com). All r...
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“I’m going to get online and I’m going to talk to people and learn English”: The Informal Language Learning of a Sherlock Fan

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This presentations reports on a case study of the informal L2 language and digital literacy development of an adult fan.

The focal participant for this case study, Steevee, is a female fan in her early 30s originally from a small city in eastern Germany who first entered online media fandom six years prior with the goal of developing her English in order to live and work in London. Data analyzed include semi-structured interviews, email correspondence, and analysis of Steevee’s fan-based social media accounts on Tumblr and Twitter.

Findings reveal how Steevee’s heavy involvement in the fan practice of spoiling, defined as the discovery and sharing of plot elements (Duffet, 2013), during filming of the television series Sherlock facilitated Steevee’s English and digital literacy development for the purpose of living an working in an English-speaking context. This study, therefore, documents the process through which an adult L2 English user makes use of popular culture, technology, and online media fandom to engage in informal language learning.

Published in: Education
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“I’m going to get online and I’m going to talk to people and learn English”: The Informal Language Learning of a Sherlock Fan

  1. 1. Shannon Sauro Malmö University, Sweden shannon.sauro@mah.se |@shansauro | mah.academia.edu/ShannonSauro | ssauro.info “I’M GOING TO GET ONLINE AND I’M GOING TO TALK TO PEOPLE AND LEARN ENGLISH” THE INFORMAL LANGUAGE LEARNING OF A SHERLOCK FAN
  2. 2. Extramural English “…English-related activities that learners come in contact with or are engaged in outside the walls of the English classroom, generally on a voluntary basis.” (Sundqvist & Sylvén, 2014, p. 4)
  3. 3. Online Fandom “the local and international networks of fans that develop around a particular program, text or other media product and which foster the sharing of responses to the source material, including the production of novel fan-generated content.” (Sauro, 2014, p. 239)
  4. 4. Fanfiction Research in Applied Linguistics • Teen L2 learners’ use of fanfiction in anime fandoms to transition from novice writers in English to successful writers (Black, 2006; 2009) • Bilingual fanfiction writing practices of young Finnish fans of American television shows to index multilingualism and global citizenship (Lepännen, et al, 2009) • Youth writing of self-insert fanfiction to confront and examine social issues in their local context (Lepännen, 2008)
  5. 5. Other Fan Practices • Fan site web design and the development of textual identity(Lam, 2000). • Anime consumption and Japanese learning (Fukunaga, 2006). • Amateur translations (scanlation) of Asian manga into Spanish (Valero- Porras & Cassany, 2015). • Critiquing and restorying all white texts by racebending the characters in fanart (Thomas & Stornaiuolo, 2016).
  6. 6. Purpose To explore the informal L2 language learning and digital literacy development of a Sherlock fan.
  7. 7. Steevee’s Fan History 2009 • Joined Supernatural Fandom • Joined Twitter; Created a fan FB page 2010 • Joined Torchwood and Doctor Who fandoms • Created a fan Tumblr 2012 • Joined Sherlock fandom • First read fanfiction • Wrote first fanfiction 2013 • Began reporting on filming of Sherlock #setlock • Developed fact-checking skills, brevity & speed in English for posting. 2015 • Joined The Man from Uncle fandom
  8. 8. “As we have noted, motivation is never simply in the hands of the motivated individual learner but is constructed and constrained through social relations with others” (Ushioda, 2008, p. 157)
  9. 9. I tried to shift my accent from American English to British English. I tried to learn to write colour with ‘ou’ and so on. And I started to watch Doctor Who and Torchwood. Those were my next two big fandoms. (Interview, 14 December 2015) …it was the opportunity to completely immerse myself in the English language. That was it for me. I was so stoked. I’m going to get online and I’m going to talk to people and learn English. And I’m going to learn new words. And I used to sit there with a notepad next to Twitter and write down words I’d never seen before, look them up, learn them. (Interview, 14 December 2015)
  10. 10. Spoiling “…the purposeful discovery of crucial developments in the plot of a fictional story of a film or TV series before the relevant material has been broadcast or released.” (Duffett, 2013, p. 168)
  11. 11. “The non-native speakers are really the lose canon because they might understand something incorrectly because of their own lack of knowledge of the English language or sarcasm or whatever is being used as a metaphor for example.” (Interview, 14 December 2015)
  12. 12. Due to the massive increase of hits and followers due to setlock, I somehow became someone who was consulted on various things and I realized that if I wanted to help/give answers etc, I’d have to make myself understood in the way I wanted to be – that’s when my answers got longer and more in-depth, as I wanted to make sure my arse was covered XD (Email, 7 January 2016)
  13. 13. Affordances “text-making practices are not determined by what the resources naturally offer but are shaped by how people perceive what various representational resources can or cannot do for them” (Lee, 2007, p. 227)
  14. 14. “Many young people today consider what exists on the Internet freely available raw material to be used however they see fit. Moreover, tools for copying and modifying this raw material are simple and abundant. What is distinctive about the digital environment is not borrowing per say … but rather the sense that borrowing does not require an acknowledgement.” (Chun, Kern & Smith, 2016, p. 69)
  15. 15. That was the first thing I learned on Twitter, basically. How not to steal anybody’s tweet because I got yelled at for copying and pasting because that’s what I knew. (Interview, 14 December 2015) I had no idea what Tumblr was about until I got yelled at…And from then on I knew, you give credit. You reblog. You can tag some things. So somebody took me by the hand, and I’ve taken hundreds of people by the hand over the years, letting them into the fandom on Tumblr, so to speak. Don’t steal anybody’s art. (Interview, 14 December 2015)
  16. 16. Twenty-first century skills include critical thinking, information literacy, global citizenship. (Suto, 2013)
  17. 17. And setlock has taught me in a way to check many things that come up. Like today, it was the Pope posted his first selfie…Within one minute I had found out, even before Buzzfeed had found out, I knew that the picture was not a selfie but a screengrab from an interview he once did. (Interview, 14 December 2015)
  18. 18. I know I have those tools because of fandom. To think differently. To think critically. Especially to try to see it from a different point of view. And fandom has provided me with so many tools regarding my own everyday life and also accepting the other lives around me as part of the whole. (Interview, 14 December 2015)
  19. 19. 1. Experience working with clients from multiple countries 2. Social media savvy 3. Internet research skills 4. Native writing skills in both German and English. (Job Announcement, 20 June 2016)
  20. 20. References Black, R.W. (2009). Online fan fiction, global identities, and imagination. Research in the Teaching of English, 43, 397-425. Black, R.W. (2006). Language, culture, and identity in online fanfiction. E-learning, 3, 180–184. Chun, D., Kern, R., & Smith, B. (2016). Technology use, language teaching, and language learning. The Modern Language Journal, 100 (Supplement 2016), 64-80. Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom: An introduction to the study of media fan culture. New York/London: Bloomsbury. Fukunaga, N. (2006). “Those anime students”: Foreign language literacy development through Japanese popular culture. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(3), 206-222. Lam, W. S. E. (2000). Literacy and the design of the self: A case study of a teenager writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 457-484. Lee, C., K.-M. (2007). Affordances and text-making practices in online instant messaging. Written Communication, 24(3), 223-249. Lepännen, S. (2008). Cybergirls in trouble? Fan fiction as a discursive space for interrogating gender and sexuality. In C.R. Caldas-Coulthard and R. Iedema (Eds.). Identity trouble: Critical discourse and contested identities, (pp. 156-179). Houdsmills, UK: Pallgrave Macmillan. 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. Petersen, L.N. (2014). Sherlock fans talk: Mediatized talk on tumblr. Northern Lights, 12, 87-104. 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: John Benjamins. Sundqvist, P., & Sylvén, L.K., (2014). Language-related computer use: Focus on young L2 English learners in Sweden. ReCALL, 26(1), 3-20. Suto, I. (2013). 21st Century Skills: Ancient, ubiquitous, enigmatic? Research Matters. A Cambridge Assessment Publication,15, 2-8. Thomas, E.E., & Stornaiuolo, A. (2016) Restorying the self: Bending toward textual justice. Harvard Educational Review, 86 (3), 313-338. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17763/1943-5045-86.3.313 Ushioda, E. (2008). Language motivation in a reconfigured Europe: Access, identity, autonomy. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 27(2), 148-161. Valero-Porras, M.-J., & Cassany, Y. (2015) Multimodality and language learning in a scanlation community. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 212, 9-15.
  21. 21. Acknowledgements Graphics Fox Estacado of The Art of Fox Estacado: Fine Fan Art and Geekery (artbyfox.storenvy.com). All rights reserved and used in this presentation with permission. Photographs of #setlock Shannon Sauro. Slides available at http://www.slideshare.net/Shansauro

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