Towards a ‘COOPING’ Model for the Investigation of Gamers’ Online Conversations in English

Pietro Luigi Iaia


This paper proposes a cognitive-functional investigation of gamers’ uses of English in online communication, in order to enquire into the possibility of introducing a model that could be called COOPING (‘COOperation Principles between INternet Gamers’). COOPING was devised at the University of Salento, and it was conceived as a further development of both Grice’s maxims and Guido’s principles describing English lingua-franca uses in intercultural exchanges. The main research hypothesis is that the interactants’ awareness of the need to cooperate to reach shared targets prompts them to select a common linguistic means, which is usually a variation of English, when different linguacultural backgrounds come into contact. This paper will detail the four phases of COOPING—Evaluation, Acknowledgment, Negotiation, and Manner—which are expected to reflect the steps that players follow when they intend to cooperate in these virtual communities. Through an analysis of the selected corpus of conversations, this study will illustrate that gamers: (phases 1 and 2 of the Model) examine and evaluate the interlocutors’ behavior in order to assess their cooperative attitude; (phase 3) decide to select English when community members come from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds; and (phase 4) generate conversation turns that are characterized by specific features, from authentication, to meaning negotiation, to creative and critical modifications to the standard norms, trying to pursue reciprocal understanding and communication.


English as a Lingua Franca; online communication; virtual transient international groups; computer-mediated communication; conversation analysis

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