Elon professors publish research examining local languages and global networks
Derek Lackaff and William Moner, faculty members in the School of Communications, shared their research at the 34th annual International Conference on the Design of Communication.
Associate Professor Derek Lackaff and Assistant Professor William Moner published “Local languages, global networks: Mobile design for minority language users” at the 34th annual International Conference on the Design of Communication (SIGDOC ’16). The conference was held Sept. 23-24 in Silver Spring, Maryland.
As part of their exploratory study, the School of Communications faculty members researched the interplay among cultural, social, technical and linguistic factors in the design of technological interfaces for chat, social networking sites and written communication via social media. Lackaff and Moner specifically examined the use of a minority language – Irish – across mobile media.
The authors suggest that lessons from the Irish experience might be applied to the other thousands of endangered human languages, and that interaction designers have an important role to play in the language revitalization process.
The paper’s abstract reads: “Minority and indigenous languages have a complex relationship with contemporary communication media. Social media, in particular, provide new venues for language use and revitalization, but also subject minority languages to inhibiting technological and social pressures. The present study contributes to a better understanding of social media and language use dynamics via an analysis of a survey of Irish language users (n=617) and their sociotechnical contexts. We develop a typology of social, linguistic, and technical factors that provide a theoretical and analytical foundation for future work. A complex interplay of social and technical factors impact minority language use in social media, and we suggest potential interaction design strategies for language activists and technologists to promote more effective engagement.”
In addition to their joint paper, Lackaff authored a Medium article in late September offering a summary of the professors’ research and examining how global and local practices are mediated through mobile interfaces.
The full citation of the SIGDOC ’16 paper follows:
Lackaff, D. & Moner, W. J. (2016). Local languages, global networks: Mobile design for minority language users. Proceedings of the 34th Annual International Conference on the Design of Communication (SIGDOC ’16). doi: 10.1145/2987592.2987612
SIGDOC, or Special Interest Group for Design of Communication, is an Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group that focuses on technical communication and user experience design, and an increasing number of researchers and practitioners are focusing on cultural contexts for communication design.