Digital Game-Based Learning of Formulaic Expressions in Second Language Chinese

Xiaofei Tang, Naoko Taguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Digital games offer a promising platform to engage second language (L2) learners in contextualized language practice, including pragmatics practice. Although scholars have made strong claims on the benefits of game-based learning, empirical findings have not yet established strong support for the effectiveness of games. Existing studies are mostly descriptive rather than experimental; few studies have compared L2 learning outcomes between a game-based learning group and a comparison control group. To fill this gap, this study investigated the instructional and motivational effects of a digital game on learning Chinese formulaic expressions. We developed two digital learning environments: a scenario-based digital game (Questaurant) and an interactive online lesson. Forty-nine learners of Chinese in two U.S. universities were randomly assigned to the game group (n = 25) or the online lesson group (n = 24). Both groups equally improved their knowledge of formulaic expressions after the respective learning session. However, the game group showed a significantly higher level of motivation compared to the online lesson group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-759
Number of pages20
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Chinese
  • formulaic expressions
  • game
  • pragmatics
  • second language
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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