Bronies learning English in the digital wild

Shafirova, Liudmila
Cassany, Daniel
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National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa||Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) at the University of Texas at Austin
This article reports on fan practices, in English, among an international community of bronies—adult fans of the animated cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP). Originally directed at a target audience of young girls, MLP has become popular among men. These older male fans have been extremely active in producing multimodal and plurilingual fan practices. We explore how two different groups of bronies—one in Russia and the other in Spain—carry out fan practices in English. Applying digital ethnography, we describe six different cases of adult MLP fans. They both consume and create products such as fanfiction, translations, and fandubbing in different contexts with the use of sophisticated technologies. Not only do fandom practices allow these fans to develop digital identities and reach new audiences, they also help them to improve their English language skills—a task at which they reveal themselves to be both autonomous and self-critical. Regarding translation practices, we note several instances of bronies receiving mentoring from fellow fans who have a higher level of English. Finally, this article points out how, in the process of adapting their written output for global readerships, bronies can acquire some important transcultural skills.
Fandom, Collaborative Learning, Digital Ethnography, New Literacies
Shafirova, L., & Cassany, D. (2019). Bronies learning English in the digital wild. Language Learning & Technology, 23(1), 127–144.
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