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The Internet has transformed our perspective of the world. It has created a vast amount of online tools and sources that are helping people to get all the information they need more quickly and easily. Due to this fact, the number of people learning languages online increased. Furthermore, it became a popular topic of various books and research works. David Barton and Carmen Lee are not an exception. In their book, Language Online, they examine the impact of the online world on the learning of language. In the aforementioned book, the authors look at language learning online from the diversity of perspectives. They provide a theoretical background, an outline of key terms, and practical guidance on doing researches and studies in the book. Barton and Lee indicate that they have aimed at two distinct audiences: First, for linguists it argues that understanding the online world is essential for the study of language. Second, to social scientists studying and researching the internet, it argues that an understanding of the role of language is essential. ”
The thirteen chapters cover language related issues such as the relation between online language and multilingualism, identity, education and multimodality. The book concludes with looking at how to carry out research on online language use. The book provides many examples from a diversity of digital platforms, for example, Flickr, as well as uses a vast number of examples from different languages, such as English or Chinese. To be more precise, Barton and Lee provide examples from the Flickr data, YouTube, as well as Facebook and IM (instant messaging), as well as give the readers a brief introduction to the abovementioned writing spaces online.
The book offers a wide-survey of a variety of topics that can be used as a general overview for academics readings, as an undergraduate textbook for beginner researchers as well as for a wider set of readings for deeper researches. It may seem that wide coverage of complex topics and issues appears to be an advantage of the book, yet, there is the lack of depth in researching such areas as new literacies or mixed language learning. Also, the choice of writing spaces online may be a bit inaccurate as not all of them are used as widely as the others; for example, Flickr is not that popular as Facebook or YouTube. Despite that, the book is written in a clear and easily understandable way, so the reader has no problems with mastering the provided information, whether it is a student or a professor.
All in all, the book Language Online provides a detailed analysis of the practices and texts in the context of online writing spaces. It is not only a useful resource for the audience targeted by the authors, but also for beginner researchers who are new to this field of study.
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