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Volume 1, Issue 2  December 2019, pp. 68-90          Download PDF

Memeing to learning: Exploring meaning-making in a language-learning chat group

Yiting Han

1 University of Arizona, USA



Meaning-making in a new era increasingly defined by digital communication is a complicated ensemble of both verbal and non-verbal modes. Following this trend of conveying information multimodally, digital memes have become a new and viral way to communicate and make meaning. Memeing, as a multimodal and social practice, may hold potential for language learners. This study explores the impact of memes on second language learning, examining how memes support meaning-making and language learning during intercultural encounters in an online chat group. Using a case study design, this article focuses on three Chinese L2 learners varying in language proficiency, learning motivation, and memeing engagement. The naturally-occurring memeing data (from 2016 to 2018) of a university-level student-run Chinese-English intercultural chat group was collected and analyzed together with individual interviews. The findings show that meaning-making and language learning were empowered by memeing in the intercultural chat group through remixing linguacultural messages, constructing identities, and developing social connections. This study concludes with meme-related pedagogical activities and a discussion of future research.


© Yiting Han

CC BY-NC 4.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Yiting Han. (2019). Memeing to learning: Exploring meaning-making in a language-learning chat group. Technology in Language Teaching & Learning, 1(2), 68-90.

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