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Vernacular mobile literacies: Multimodal creativity and identity Abstract
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Mastering a language in the 21st century requires that learners engage in a wide range of literacy practices involving the combination of multiple modes and multiple media which often afford new and creative ways for making meaning, managing interaction and enacting social identities. The development of these literacy practices often takes place at the intersection between classroom practices and learners’ vernacular digital practices around activities such as online social networking and digital gaming. Understanding the relationship between creativity in language learning in this new environment requires that researchers explore the way learners use the affordances of digital media to communicate in their daily lives, drawing on a variety of linguistic and non-linguistic resources. This paper focuses on how advanced Arabic learners at a woman’s college in Saudi Arabia use Snapchat to communicate with their classmates. It examines not just the way the English language becomes a meaning making resource in these exchanges, but also how English is strategically mixed with photos, drawings, emoji’s, and other languages to create meanings, identities, and relationships. In particular, we focus on how Snapchat creates opportunities for female students of English in Saudi Arabia to open up new ‘cultural spaces’, and how these spaces can facilitate their language learning.
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