Computer-Assisted L2 English Language-Related Activities Among Swedish 10-Year-Olds

Written by
Language: English

© 2012


This paper presents findings from a study investigating young Swedish learners' extramural (out-of-school) contact with English. In contemporary Sweden, the influx of English is great and research has shown that extramural contact with English correlates positively with students' proficiency in English (Olsson, 2011; Sundqvist, 2009; Sylvén, 2004). While Sylvén (2004) investigates type and amount of involvement in extramural English activities among upper secondary students and Sundqvist (2009) as well as Olsson (2011) among 9th graders, little on the same topic is known about younger learners. However, in a nationwide survey, more than half of Swedish 5th-graders indicate that they have learned English as much or more outside of school than in school (Skolverket, 2004), but empirical studies on the topic remain scarce. Based on data collected from young learners (N = 112; grade 4; age 10), this paper presents results regarding their type and amount of extramural language activities in English as well as in Swedish and other languages. Previous research has shown that digital gaming may contribute to L2 English learning, in particular with regard to vocabulary (Cobb & Horst, 2011; Miller & Hegelheimer, 2006; Ranalli, 2008; Sundqvist & Sylvén, 2012). Therefore, the first focus of our presentation is on these young learners' L2 English language-related use of computers, for instance in playing digital games. A comparison is made between digital gaming habits in English and Swedish. The second focus is on analyses of playing digital games from the perspectives of gender and the learners' first languages. The final focus is on learner motivation and self-assessed L2 English proficiency.

Keywords: young learners, computer-assisted language learning, digital games, motivation, extramural English, informal learning, second language acquisition.


Cobb, T., & Horst, M. (2011). Does Word Coach coach words? CALICO Journal, 28(3), 639-661.

Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Teaching and researching motivation. Harlow: Longman.

Hyltenstam, K. (2002). Engelskundervisning i Sverige. Mål i mun - Förslag till handlingsprogram för svenska språket. SOU 2002:27. Bilagor (pp. 45-72). Stockholm: Regeringskansliet.

Kuppens, A. H. (2010). Incidental foreign language acquisition from media exposure. Learning, Media and Technology, 35(1), 65-85. doi: 10.1080/17439880903561876

Malmberg, P. (2000). De moderna språken i grundskolan och gymnasieskolan från 1960. Språk Gy2000:18. Grundskola och gymnasieskola. Kursplaner, betygskriterier och kommentarer (pp. 7-26). Stockholm: Skolverket.

Miller, M., & Hegelheimer, V. (2006). The SIMs meet ESL. Incorporating authentic computer simulation games into the language classroom. Interactive Technology & Smart Edcuation, 3(4), 311-328. doi: 10.1108/17415650680000070

Olsson, E. (2011). “Everything I read on the Internet is in English” - On the impact of extramural English on Swedish 16-year-old pupils’ writing proficiency. (Licentiate thesis). University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg.

Ranalli, J. (2008). Learning English with The Sims: exploiting authentic computer simulation games for L2 learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(5), 441-455. doi: 10.1080/09588220802447859

Skolverket. (2004). Nationella utvärderingen av grundskolan 2003: huvudrapport - svenska/svenska som andra språk, engelska, matematik och undersökningen i årskurs 5. Skolverkets rapport 251. Stockholm: Skolverket.

Sundqvist, P. (2009). Extramural English matters: Out-of-school English and its impact on Swedish ninth graders’ oral proficiency and vocabulary. (Doctoral dissertation). Karlstad University, Karlstad.

Sundqvist, P. (2011). A possible path to progress: Out-of-school English language learners in Sweden. In P. Benson, & H. Reinders (Eds.), Beyond the language classroom (pp. 106-118). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sundqvist, P., & Sylvén, L. K. (2012). World of VocCraft: Computer games and Swedish learners’ L2 vocabulary. In H. Reinders (Ed.), Computer games in language learning and teaching (pp. 189-208). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sylvén, L. K. (2004). Teaching in English or English teaching? On the effects of content and language integrated learning on Swedish learners’ incidental vocabulary acquisition. (Doctoral dissertation). University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg.

Sylvén, L. K., & Sundqvist, P. (2012). Gaming as extramural English L2 learning and L2 proficiency among young learners. ReCALL, 24(3), 302-321. doi: 10.1017/s095834401200016x

Viberg, Å. (2000). Tvåspråkighet och inlärning av språk i och utanför skolan. Språk 2000:18. Kursplaner, betygskriterier och kommentarer (pp. 27-41). Stockholm: Skolverket.

How to cite

Citation is provided in standard text format below. For full citation export options, click Export citation.

Sundqvist, Pia; Kerstin Sylvén, Liss. (2012). Computer-Assisted L2 English Language-Related Activities Among Swedish 10-Year-Olds. In Linda Bradley, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 280-285).

Request permissions

This article is published under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives International 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Under this licence, the contents are freely available online (as PDF files) for anybody to read, download, copy, and redistribute provided that the AUTHOR(s), EDITORIAL TEAM and PUBLISHER are properly cited. Commercial use and derivative works are, however, not permitted.

Permission is not required for the republication of tables, figures or illustrations, as long as they are reproduced accurately and the source material is fully cited. It may be the case that the licence does not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. If this is your current situation, please do feel free to ask at

From the same authors

Categorization of Digital Games in English Language Learning Studies: Introducing the SSI Model
Sundqvist, Pia.