On roleplay: interview with Sir Edge, the battlemage



Anna: I think that the average age in SL is 35. Are you younger or older than 35?

Edge: older..around 45

Anna: What is your mother tongue?

Edge: Portuguese.

Anna: When did you create your first avatar, and why?

Edge: It was in 2008. I heard about SL and decided to see what it was.

Anna: Where did you hear about SL? Do you remember it?

Edge: On TV, they mentioned that Second life had ended a couple relationship and said something about avatars.

Anna: *Smiles* So you came in to end couples relationships, right *giggles*

Edge: No. I came in because of the avatars *smiles*

Anna: *Smiles teasing him* fine, fine. Did you study or learn English before entering SL? If yes, what was your level, more or less?

Edge: I did study English at school and I took 5 years of it , but I learned more when I went to England to work.

Anna: So your English was pretty good when you arrived in SL, I guess. Much higher than other Portugueses of your age

Edge: I’ve always enjoyed English more than the other languages in option.

Anna: Do you speak other languages?

Edge: Some French too and some Spanish.

Anna: *nods, staring at the man with curiosity… then shakes her head and asks the following question*: Has your English improved since you joined SL?

Edge: Of course ..It has been brought alive in the writing as it never did before.

Anna: But well, you had been living in England, you said: a much more immersive environment than SL *giggles*. Your answer surprises me, I have to admit it

Edge: Yes, but when we speak we communicate with sounds and I had to guess how to write most of the words

Edge: ..writing helps me spelling the right way

Anna: So.. you sort of learnt to write in English in SL *smiles* that’s interesting…

Edge: Yes.. you can say it revived the English with more accuracy.

Anna: Ah.. from your coming back from England and your creating your first avatar.. how many years did pass?

Edge: …oooh, many. I stayed in England just for a year, in an hotel.

Anna: *giggles* Me too, but only 6 months … I learnt a lot in those 6 months..

Edge: nods* That was 15 years ago.

Anna: Then your English, when you entered in SL, was not the same of 15 years before, right?

Edge: Was nearly forgotten

Anna: Like mine *nods*.

Anna: How long did your English take to come back, after you entered SL? More or less, of course.

Edge: Well, two weeks after that I was surprised of myself .haha

Anna: *laughs* Very quickly!

Edge: yes

Anna: And  why and when did you start roleplaying?

Edge: Well. I started in SL with another avatar and then I created this one, came right to Artstonia and I’ve been in this RP Sim since then

Anna: You hadn’t roleplayed before? And why did you come straight to Artstonia?

Edge: I looked for a medieval place and a new meter system, because I was in CCS before, with fire guns, and I wanted something more in the earlier ages

Anna: You were already fighting but not roleplaying, right?

Edge: nods* True.. but I saw folks Roleplaying, and somehow I sometime was amused by how they emoted and created plots. Hihi.. but all I ever did was killing. I was good at that.

Anna: Well, you are still a wonderful fighter, one of the best here in Artstonia for what I know.

Edge: There’s always one even better …..

Anna: Of course, otherwise it’s boring, to fight with no foes to defeat.*smiles* But let’s go back to the boring language topic *giggles* Since when you started to Roleplay, have you attended any course or engaged in other activities that could have helped you improving your English (reading, movies, trips etc)?

Edge: No, I never did any language activities but writing.

Anna: Do you mean that you write in English outside SL?

Edge: Ah!  No

Anna: Do you practice English only in SL or in other contexts as well (work, leisure, other virtual worlds or communities)

Edge: No. I live in Portugal. Just in SL so far.

Anna: How many hours do you spend roleplaying? How many hours in SL (in general,  RP or not).

Edge: Lately no more than a couple hours a day.

Anna: And before?

Edge: I spent much more hours, like 4 or 5  a day.

Anna: Do you see any difference in the language you use normally in SL and the one you use in Rpg?

Edge: Not me, but I notice many Rolplayers changing the way the write and speak. Ones with symbols, and others with short ways of writing.

Anna: Can you explain it better?

Edge: Hmm.. Some Rolplayers try to transmit accent on through their writing.

Anna: And what do you think about it? Do you think that it affects you? You may risk to learn a sort of “wrong model”, or it could affect the way some people might use the language?

Edge: Yes, it may affect the way some people that speak other language get the wrong English way , but those Rp players are not that many that can do great damage to the English.. But we may catch some wrong words as we are under the influence of each others.

Anna: Also because there are many whose native language is not English. Did it ever happen to you to learn a word and then discover it was not “English”? I’m asking it because it happened to me in RL, hanging around with Spanish people while I was in England.

Edge: Well.. it just needs to change one letter of a word to make the sentence means another thing, that happened to me many times. The result is not English nor any other language ..lol

Anna: *giggles* Yes, creative English, I call it.

Anna: Most rpg are in chat, that is people do not “speak” but simply write what they have to say. Do you feel comfortable with your spoken English? Do you know many words or expression in their written form but not how they sound?

Edge: nods* I’ve been learning words every day,  but I know that my spoken English is rusty as I haven’t spoken it for years.

Anna: You do not use voice in SL? Never?

Edge: I did long time ago ..was funny. But I don’t see the use to do that

Anna: What do you mean? You have micro…

Edge Yes, but not in every Sim one is allowed to speaking. At least in the ones I go.

Anna: *giggles* That’s very strange for us language teachers. Most of us almost only communicate by voice..

Edge: hehe… It makes it more simple yes?

Anna: Well, you  can walk and talk.. at least *giggles*.

Edge: hihi.

Anna: Can you remember and share with us a language learning situation in Rpg? A moment in which you realised that you were learning something new? Or a moment you were aware of some language learning taking place?

Edge: The RP classes are a good example of that here in Artstonia.

Anna: Ah.. why?

Edge: Because we learn RP and read the correct English writing

Anna: Yes, when one starts there is a lot of reading.. and well.. later too, if you join a guild, the tasks you have to do to go up in the ranks..

Edge: good thinking ..nods*

Anna: Would  you recommend to roleplay in SL to improve one’s foreign language?

Edge: Why not? It’s one of the best places. Otherwise is more gestures and symbols.

Anna: Thus you think that someone with a decent level of English could actually learn the language by roleplaying?

Edge: I’m positive about that .. I did and I believe I still have much to learn * smiles*

Anna: Is there something, language related, of course, that I did not ask you and that you would like to add?

Edge: I just hope my answers may be an help to someone new that wants to explore RP. It has been great, thank you

Anna: I’m the one who have to thank you, Edge, *smiles* it was very interesting to interview you.




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On roleplay: interview with Sir Soltel’vayas, the drow

Sir Sol, a wonderful, snobbish, intelectual drow

Anna: I think that the average age in SL is 35. Are you younger or older than 35?

Soltel’vayas: I am younger, with my 21 years of age.

Anna: What is your mother tongue?

Soltel’vayas: I speak Portuguese as a first language.

Anna: When did you create your first avatar, and why?

Soltel’vayas: Of when I cannot actually give you a straight answer, but I think it was at the last months of 2006, I saw a notice on TV news about Second Life and made me curious enough (mostly about the building possibilities at first) to create an account to “check it out”.

Anna: Did you study or learn English before entering SL? If yes, what was your level, more or less?

Soltel’vayas: I had English in school since 4th grade, sooner than most my age, but if I am not mistaken currently, it’s on the schooling system since 3rd grade. I took an English course during summer after I finished 7th grade. I wouldn’t be able to level my English, but it is above Portuguese standards I am sure.

Anna: did you have any difficulties with the language when you arrived in SL? Or did you feel immediately at ease with everything in English?

Soltel’vayas: shakes his head “No, I didn’t find any sort of trouble upon arrival. I cannot say my English is far better now than it was when I first joined, but my vocabulary is. I mean, my English most certainly has improved, not as much as constructing a grammatically well formed sentence, but my vocabulary has improved greatly, I have learned a whole lot of new words”.

Anna: I have the impression that one learns a lot of colloquial expressions…

Soltel’vayas: laughs “Well here’s a learning moment now, as I am not familiar with the term “colloquial expression”

Anna: Those expressions you use in your everyday life, with friends and family. Not those you read in school books

Soltel’vayas: scratches his chin “Within a role-play scenario, I must disagree with that statement. I’ve read the most beautiful pieces of well arranged words, almost daring to say, professional work.

We express ourselves the best we can, when I lack the knowledge for better I stick with the simple, but it’s not for me so interesting to read”.

Anna: *shakes her head* no, we did not understand each other. For colloquial expression I did not mean “simplified language”. Let’s make an example: you go to a bar with your friends. Do you speak like your history book or do you use another kind of expressions and register there?

Soltel’vayas: smirks “While how I speak with my friends is casual and laid back, the form of speech I use for role-play is tailored more carefully. These are two different environments.”

Anna: Because your character is.. let’s us say.. a snobbish intellectual..

Soltel’vayas: Ha! Indeed.

Anna: I have a student like Sol: clever and snob.. but he differs from Sol because he’s a nice person, not an evil drow like you *giggles*

Soltel’vayas: He sips his wine reading a book, can’t get much more snobbish

Anna: Why and when did you start roleplaying?

Soltel’vayas: He smirks reading the question, turning his gaze to an empty space… remembering how his roleplaying journeys in SL began. “I was building in a sandbox, when I was approached by a fine dressed female avatar, questioning me about my intention to become a vampire (bloodlines noob hunter), I curiously accepted it as a challenge. I started playing the role easily, it was a goth casual society, I quickly raised in their ranks, ups and downs eventually ended into discovering new forms to express myself in a roleplay and I discovered the combat systems, at the young age it seemed just like a multiplayer videogame.” chuckles “I’m drifting already… let us carry on.”

Anna: *smiles at the mention of “at the young age” but decides to carry on with the following sentence*  Since then, have  you attended any course, or engaged in other activities that could have helped you improving your English (reading, movies, trips etc)

Soltel’vayas: The seek of knowledge, either for a personal research or for a roleplay kind of information always makes me read in English, I would rather do so as most of the articles I see in Portuguese are simply translated, and sometimes simplified from the English written ones. Movies, series, programs, all of that helps, I watch cable TV most of the time, it implies I learn more, sometimes even laugh my way when the subtitles get it wrong. There is also music, that teaches me a lot, as I do not dare to headbang my head to the sound of lyrics I do not understand.

Anna: Do you practice English only in SL or as well in other contexts (work, leisure, other virtual worlds or communities)

Soltel’vayas: SL is without a doubt the place I keep my English the sharpest, curiously I only know a Portuguese individual here, and yet we speak English with each other. Both of us have learned a lot of words with each other as well.

Anna: How many hours do you spend roleplaying? How many hours in SL (in general,  roleplaying or not)

Soltel’vayas: I log averagely everyday for a while, lets say 4 to 5 hours, unless I have others affairs I am logged in SL, usually in a roleplay Sim, if I am not roleplaying I am building or/and chatting on private channels. Even then RP might just engage on its own around ones location, that means get your prims collected and raise a brow looking superiorly around.

Anna: Do you see any difference in the language you use normally in SL and the one you use in Rpg?

Soltel’vayas: Well that would very well depend on the character and theme you play in. Eg.: a person playing a different race than human might have a different language, also a person playing a commoner might use a more rudimental language, lets say “Ye aint go’in t’take me wine cos yer a fo’okin wench”, apart from that there is of course the emoted behaviour, roleplayers end up using it on a casual conversation as well, demonstrating their body movements and voice tones, their reactions *cleaars his throat and shrugs* got it? *laughs*

Anna: don’t you think that this “strange” English could be a danger for a learner?.. you can pick up expressions that are not real English for instance… or that nobody says that way anymore..

Soltel’vayas: No I don’t think it truly influences the way I learn, it’s easy to understand that, the way those character speak is not the standard model, I see it as very interesting and a different source, for also different knowledge.

Anna : I found very challenging the “emoting”, I mean, that a kind of language we do not usually use when speaking in RL. Language used for describing facial expressions or movements or many other things. Did you remember if you had any difficulty with it at the beginning? and do you find it useful to “RL purposes”?

Soltel’vayas: The fact one can manipulate words to describe actions is, I believe, divine. But apart from your self-satisfaction, and verbal gratification, I don’t see a casual use for this in real life, cause we don’t say “coughs” when in fact we do so. Since the beginning I found emotes as a magnificent way to express yourself in SL, and of course, the roleplay. I actually emote in a casual typed conversation *laughs*.

A good example of an emote taken it’s way to our casual speech is the “lol”. Here in Portugal the teen folk use the abbreviation like it’s a Portuguese word. Instead of laughing at a joke, they vocalise the word LOL.

Now how funny is that?

Anna: well… technology is changing our everyday language.. yes.

Soltel’vayas: *nods*

Anna: most rpg are in chat, that is people do not “speak” but simply write what they have to say. Do you feel comfortable with your spoken English? Do you know many words or expression in their written form but not how they sound?

Soltel’vayas: You got a point there, though, me personally, believe I don’t speak the so called “voluntary typonese” too often, if I have doubts I usually try to go around the subject through another sentence. I’m surprised it seems to me that I type better than a lot of persons I’ve met in SL that have English has their first language. I know a lot of words and expressions both on their writing form or sound, I do have trouble pronouncing them out loud, I don’t do voice in SL under the fear of swallowing my own tongue and dying.

Anna: you never, never use voice in SL? never did? Neither outside Rp?

Soltel’vayas: laughs “Actually, no. There were times I tried, short lasted ones. I might on occasion turn the mic on and play guitar, I don’t have trouble maintaining a typed conversation with someone that is using voice, but I just have such a terrible accent, like I said before I tell you now as a fact “I fear I might swallow my own tongue””.

Anna: *laughs* well… I assure you that I’ve a terrible accent and I’ve never swallowed my tongue. And good to know that you play guitar on the micro… may I book for your next live session?

Soltel’vayas: HA!

Certainly not, but I’ll play a little someday, never did in the pub cause arts doesn’t have the sound on.

Anna: Can you remember and share with us a language learning situation in Rpg? A moment in which you realised that you were learning something new? Or a moment you were aware of some language learning taking place?

Soltel’vayas: I honestly cannot recall any particular event, it’s like a friend says: -When in doubt, IM and find out. So right she is, that is exactly what I do, when I don’t know the meaning of a word during RP or casual ooc conversation I just send a private message to the person who used it. You can only learn when you seek to do so, or are tricked into doing so.

Anna: Would  you recommend Rpg in SL to improve one’s foreign language skills?

Soltel’vayas: I am aware it could be used to do so, but I wouldn’t recommend it based on desire to improve ones vocabulary, but I do agree it helps on that level. I just wouldn’t roleplay with that as a main goal.

Anna: is there anything that I did not ask you and you would like to say? Something language related, of course

Soltel’vayas: No, not that I recall at the moment. *laughs* Oh there is one thing: be warned, translators are evil scripted objects in SL.

Anna: Lol, I know. I hate translators in SL.

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On roleplay: Interview with Sir Keriandal, the vampire

Sir Keriandel at his workplace

Anna: I think that the average age in SL is 35. Are you younger or older than 35?

Keriandal: Younger

Anna: What is your mother tongue?

Keriandal: Finnish

Anna: When did you create your first avatar, and why?

Keriandal: Lol, this one will sound odd.

Anna: *giggles* Why?

Keriandal: I saw CSI episode about SL and well, all started from that

Anna: Mhm in that episode, for what I know, SL was not portrayed too realistically nor to positively. What did you think when you first log in?

Keriandal: I was amazed that this type of simulator has good graphics

Anna: Did you try some other Virtual worlds or Multi-user online game (like Wow) before?

Keriandal: WOW sucks…lol.

Anna: *laughs*

Keriandal: Yeah… many MMorpgs

Anna: So you came from the online gaming world.. mhm I will ask some questions to you later on that.

Anna: Did you study or learn English before entering SL? If yes, what was your level, more or less?

Keriandal: I had good base of English

Anna: Was your English level average for your age and your country or higher?

Keriandal: Higher

Anna: Because of the MMorpgs? or there was another reason?

Keriandal: High interest toward the language

Anna: but when you played online, you were using the English language, right?

Keriandal: Mostly English

Anna: Is there any difference in the use of language in MMorpgs and SL?

Keriandal: Well same type as English was used for chatting

Anna: And could you say that your higher level of English was also due to MMorpgs?

Keriandal: To some parts yes

Anna: Has your English improved since you joined SL?

Keriandal: Yes

Anna: Can you be a bit more specific? How? How much?

Keriandal: Enough that I can outtalk most of my country’s people

Anna: Why and when did you start roleplaying?

Keriandal: On the day I came to Artstonia

Anna: Lol, and it was simply so?.. When did it happened? How many moths after you entered in SL for the first time?

Keriandal: On the second day

Anna: So you arrived in SL and you went straight to Artstonia? *surprised* How did you find it? I mean.. it’s a single Sim in a sea of Sims..

Keriandal: On the main pain page hehe

Anna: *Smiles* yes, it was in the showcase once.. now I don’t think it’s there anymore. But well.. How did you feel about roleplaning in Artstonia? Did you notice any difference with the roleplaing in MMorpgs?

Keriandal: Much more enjoyable

Anna: Why?

Keriandal: Because you can create the character to look as you want it, and much more deeper

Anna: And the interaction? With other players? Is it different?

Keriandal: yes

Anna: *giggles* why?

Keriandal: OHMYGOSH. Cause they don’t look all the same, all got different backgrounds

Anna: Since then, that is, since when you arrived at Artstonia, have  you attended any course, or engaged in other activities that could have helped you improving your English (reading, movies, trips etc)

Keriandal: I do read English books and so on

Anna: But you did not attend any course, right?

Keriandal: No

Anna: And do you practice English only in SL or as well in other contexts (work, leisure, other virtual worlds or communities)

Keriandal: Mainly in SL

Anna: How many hours do you spend roleplaying? How many hours in SL (in general,  rp or not)

Keriandal: Well.. you count: 1 year 9 months averagely around 4 hours/day on each day

Anna: And you said that in your opinion your English has improved, due to SL and roleplay, right? But.. which kind of language did you learnt here? The same language you would learn in class?

Keriandal: I think I’ve learned more of the language that is most common. Not British nor American. Just the most common and then of course different sort of variations, you know

Anna: For instance?

Keriandal: Well, I might have learned rather different styles

Anna: so you think that the kind of language you find in SL has a broader register respect those you find in a RL class?

Keriandal: Yup

Anna: Most roleplay are in chat, that is people do not “speak” but simply write what they have to say. Do you feel comfortable with your spoken English? Do you know many words or expression in their written form but not how they sound?

Keriandal: I speak in English on Skype also, so that helps a lot

Anna: Ah.. you did not tell me that when I asked if you practice English as well in other ways.. *shakes her head*

Anna: Are you afraid of learning “bad English”? I mean, many players use the language to characterise their characters, for instance speaking in a way that resembles ancient English. Many others are not English speakers, I mean, English is not  their mother tongue. Do you think that it affects you? I mean, that you can learn a sort of “wrong model”, or that it could affect the way some people might use the language?

Keriandal: I got filter in my head so that I convert it always to normal English

Anna: So you don’t think that there is the danger of people going then to real life and say  “I be” and things of that sort?

Keriandal: lol. You hit the nail

Anna: *smiles* And people makes a lot of typos… because we all write very quickly (and foreigners like me make a lot of spelling mistakes, or vocabulary mistakes)… can it influence negatively your language?

Keriandal: No cause typo is a typo

Anna: So, you think that you do not run the risk of taking up bad habits here? Language habits I mean..

Keriandal: I got 99 habits but bad language aint one, lol

Anna: *smiles* Can you remember and share with us a language learning situation in roleplay? A moment in which you realised that you were learning something new? Or a moment you were aware of some language learning taking place?

Keriandal: Usually that happens at least twice a week as some one says a word I don’t recognise then I take dictionary and find it.

Anna: Only words? Not structures or expressions?

Keriandal: Those also

Anna: Would  you recommend roleplay in SL to improve one’s foreign language skills?

Keriandal: Only as addition to language course. Some basic knowledge would be good.

Anna: Not for beginners you mean? Or are you meaning that it will not be useful “alone” without a language course going with it? Independently from the level?

Keriandal: I mean,  if you don’t know the language I would recommend some school,  like lessons..

Anna: Ok, let’s take a upper intermediate or higher level student? would it be possible for him to learn English through roleplay alone? With no teacher? Or do you think it would be risky somehow?

Keriandal: Well as I said… it would be good to study first.. and after ye know the basics ye could start to learn in SL.

Anna: Thank you very much. Is there anything that I did not ask you that you would like to add? Something language related of course.

Keriandal: I don’t think so


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On roleplays: the point of view of the learner

I started to write a long an boring post on language learnig and roleplay when I thought that may be it would be much more interesting to listen to those who are roleplaying in a language that is not theirs. Usually their primary aim is not to learn the language, but to have fun and enjoy the collabortive writing of a story. But well, what if I asked them to think about their language learnig process? That would be much more interesting that my long bla bla bla.

I decided that I will interview myself too… well, the me in front of the keyboard will interview Anna, but only at the end. I’m more interested in listening to others than listening to myself :D.

I wrote down a series of key questions I want to ask, so that all the interviews will have somehow the same structure and opionions will be easy to compare, but of course an interview is first of all a dialogue, a discovering of a person (person? well, let’s say avatar), therefore each one will be a bit different.

I started already, and I’m really enjoying the experience. I hope you will enjoy it too.

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Learn a Language in a Medieval Roleplay

Pionia, Elaine and Anna

This weekend Artstonia hosted an introduction to Roleplay for the teachers of VILLAGE: Language Learning and Community Building in Second Life, an online workshop of TESOL EVO 2001
Pionia Destiny, who ran this kind of events many times in the past years, asked Elaine Khandr and me to give her an hand.

This time we decided to change a bit the formula, and to organise a short quest for the participants, thinking that in this way they would have the occasion to have a clearer idea of what roleplay means.

But the organisation of the event was also an occasion for the three of us to know each other a bit better, and I hope that we will have more occasions to collaborate since I really enjoyed the experience.

To say the truth, most of the work was done by Elaine, who is a skilled builder and scripter, beside being a wonderful person.

I would like to thank also Sir Sol and Sil Edge and all the other Arstonian who joined us in the quest and who gave the participants a good example of what good roleplay is.

And of course, a huge thank to Gwen and Nahiram, without whose organisation and support this little workshop would not have been possible.

introduction to rpg by Elaine


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On role plays: why on earth should I go to buy bread now?

We all language teachers use role play in the attempt to bring reality in the artificial environment of the class.

The result, let’s admit it, it’s not very satisfactory, above all when we try to reproduce in class everyday situations (like going to buy bread or opening an account in a bank).

Students feels it as artificial, and end up repeating the same sentence they have in the book or.. in the best of the cases, transforming it into an absurd situation.

Add to this that you cannot ask your students to buy bread over and over… and you will see the limit of the classical role play we use in class. You do it once. Over, finished. There is no possibility to repeat it, as we would do in our everyday life. (I do not know you, but usually buy bread more than once a week.)

So we teachers arrive in Second Life and we say “wow!”. We are not anymore inside the 4 walls in the class, we can move around, visualize things that look more or less real, even touch …. well… click on them! The perfect place to make role play work!

But is it really true? Do role play work much better in SL than in RL? And if they don’t, why they don’t?

Let’s see an example, a classical one: reservation and check in in an hotel.

I prepared it for the italianiamo group, and I will write here or my personal experience.

I built the hotel. Of course, to make it more fun and to offer more occasion to speak, I made a very strange hotel. The prices for the room were not excessively expensive for a 4 stars hotel, but the wifi cost an harm and a leg. The rooms… were … well… let’s describe them.

Room 1: shower and wc in the middle of the room. Blood stain on one of the pillow

Room 2: television set on fire. Someone was sleeping on the couch

Room 3: the bed had only 3 legs and no blankets. Someone left a “little present” in the wc.

Room 4: dirty water in the bath and merry cockroaches in the room.

I mean.. I usually go to cheap hotel, the only things I do not tolerate are bedbugs, being robbed in the corridors and large roaches, but I’ve never seen in my whole life rooms like those.

Let’s go back to our role play:

We decided to go on holiday together, called the hotel to ask information and book the rooms, arrived there and… a disaster.

The Italianiamo participants did not complain about the wifi abusive price. Well.. fine. May be on holiday they want to forget about the internet.

Then they went to their rooms… and I was waiting for enraged cries coming from the rooms… and see them dashing to the reception to complain.

Nothing. Nothing at all, no reaction.

I had to stop playing the receptionist, start playing the “teacher” and prompt them with silly questions like: did you notice that there is a wc where you should have a night table? Is it ok for you?  Do you think that you should go and complain at the reception?

So, where was the problem? Were the italianiamo participants all dumb? Were they used to 4 stars hotels with blood stained blankets and peculiar hygiene?

Or may be they did not mind.. because they actually did not have to sleep in those rooms? And did not have to pay with their money for them? That is: they did not believe in “the hotel”, it was not real to them.

Second life did not add much to “the class” them, we were facing the same problem: the lack of identification in their roles and the rather “artificiality” of the whole activity.


photo from pionia blog


Let’s imagine now that those same people take part in a Role Play Game. They created their character and have to act according to it. They are part of a larger story in which they develop relationship with others player, and their characters grow and develop in time along the story. They have purposes and aims in their life, and they will be involved in events and little everyday stories that are part of the larger story of that town, village or place.

  • They know if their character is a posh lady, an easy going adventurer or a young and naive girl. And they know that they have to act accordingly to their character.
  • Even if the game has not a “money system” for transaction inside the role play sim, they know their economic situation, and the value they give to money.
  • They know why they are going to the hotel, and the need comes from them, not from the teacher.  May be they have to go to another village to look for a person or an object. Or may be this is their honeymoon, or they want to hide from someone.

Thus, going to the hotel, will make sense to them. It’s not anymore a language exercise. It is something the story requires. It’s not as if someone would come up to me now and tell me “go and buy bread” so you can practice your Catalan.  It’s as if now I stand up, go to the kitchen to prepare some breakfast, see that I do not have any bread left and decide to go and buy it (or not. May be I decide to have some yoghurt or biscuits instead).

All this “background” will help them to take their decisions about their reactions. May be if they need to hide, they will not go to the reception to complain about their 3-legged bed with no blankets, because they try to pass unnoticed while the couple on honeymoon might have their first quarrel and then decide to leave the hotel altogether. The posh lady will make a big fuss about the roaches in her room. The easy going adventurer might wake up the sleeping guy and invite him to a glass of scotch and a cigar (lighting it with the flames coming from the TV set).

In role play games you do not perform a task. You are free to decide what to do and are guided in your choice by many internal and external factors. That’s why what you do and what you say sounds “real” and makes sense to you, because it really mirrors the way we do things in our real life: taking decisions and behaving accordingly.

And…more important from the language point of view, we can repeat the “hotel thing” more times, and we never feel that we are repeating it, because every time the situation and what brings us to the hotel will be different.

In the months I’ve been roleplaying, I introduced myself to countless people, ordered countless time food and drink at the local tavern, went many time to the doctor, quarrelled, bargained, asked information and directions and even got robbed once.

And each time was real, each time made sense, each time I was completely, totally immersed in the story and struggled with the language to say what I really wanted to say. But about the language in role play I will write in my next post.


Filed under role play, Second Life

3, 2, 1… you are on air

On saturday I was invited by Pionia to take part in an interview, together with Cyber and her, about language learning in virtual words.

Well… who can say “no” to  such a proposal?

This was an occasion as well to spend some times with two good friends and to learn about new intersting initiatives in SL, like the Teknoartia forum, whose aim is to be a meeting point for people interested in making things in SL. A real public square where you can find people with similar interests and share ideas and projects with them.

Actually, the radio that invited us, Colombiamor was born in SL, and it’s the result of the work of people leaving in different continents. A demonstration of how SL is, with no doubt, the best social network existing at the time.

Pionia, Cyber and me met a bit before just to chat, confess each other we were rather nervous, and meet some of the staff of the radio. It was nice to see some of the backstage while we were not “on air”.. you know how curious I am.. of everything and everybody :). Of course at the beginning we were tenses, but then thanks to the warmth and the competence of our hosts, we relaxed and even joked a bit.

In the end, we were asked to tell a recipe of our country… a really embarrassing task for me, because, despite being Italian, I’m a disaster and a danger in the kitchen and all my friends know that I’m rather prone to burning to ashes everything, even the saucepan.

I leave here the  link to the interview (in Spanish)

After us, was the turn of presenting a nice initiative: the Peace and Diversity  Marathon Art  2011, that will be held on 15-16 January. 24 hours non-stop of concerts, literary readings, exhibitions of visual arts and many interesting events to send a message of Peace and Unity in Diversity throughout the world. Another brilliant example of what SL and VW in general allow us to do.

For more information: http://maratonarte.blogspot.com/

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Filed under education, interview, radio, Second Life, teknoartia