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Analysis Of The Online Game Effect On Language Comprehension In English Language Ability

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Language is a very important thing in human life. Humans use language at all times. The definition of language according to the Big Indonesian Dictionary is ‘an arbitrary sound symbol system, which is used by members of a community to work together, interact, and identify themselves’. Humans are social beings who must communicate with each other. Therefore, humans cannot live without language. To learn a human language has its own way, one of which is by playing online games. Educational-based software system builders have sought to provide a large amount of content; context and feedback without sacrificing the level of game control expected by the player (Buckinghan & Scalon quoted in Turgut,, 2009). There are many types of games that can be found according to Crawford (1984: 5), the game is divided into five fields, including; (1) board games, (2) card games, (3) athletic games, (4) games for children, and (5) computer games. The games are played on five types of computers, expensive machines specifically for arcades, special machines that are inexpensive, multi-program in cage games, machines such as ATARI 2600 and ATARI 5200, personal computers, and large mainframe computers. In addition, computer games are not only five types but online games are part of that because when people want to play them on a server they certainly need a computer. Online games become a suitable topic to increase interest. Therefore, online games have a positive and negative impact on learning a language. Impact is a strong effect that something has on something or someone (Dictionary of Oxford, 2008). According to Reinders and Wattana (2011), the impact of using online games is anxiety and a sense of motivation. Anxiety is a negative thing because online games themselves have a negative impact because when students learn a language using online games, the language that is light in its rules will be used by them while learning also words that do not fit context or are rough often made by fellow players and even in the game itself. Chen and Johnson (in Reinders and Wattana 2011) only focus on the effects produced from playing games.

At present, the use of online games is experiencing a very rapid increase in the community. Online games start to become part of daily activities that must be carried out by the community in their activities, especially when they are free. This happens because online games are considered as a form of entertainment to escape from existing routines. In addition, the attractiveness and fun of an online game certainly affects people’s interest in playing it. Various types of online games at this time also support the development of the online game itself. Therefore, online games are very favored by people from all walks of life and ages. This can be supported by the results of statistical data conducted by Google Analytic in 2012-2013 which are known, that the use of online games has increased every year and it is known that 80% of online game users in Indonesia are teenagers aged 15 to 25 years, some of which from Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Medan.

Online game is a structured game that is used to get fun and as an educational tool. The most important part of online games is the goals, rules, challenges, and interactions that occur in the game, and the support of the internet network. Online games can be divided into two forms, namely client-based and web-based. Client-based, where game publishers provide a platform for users to download on their computer devices and can use the online game without having to open the website again. While web-based is an online game that can be accessed by opening the website first. Both forms of online games are both involving a person’s mental and physical when used. In addition, games can help develop practical skills, as well as perform educational, simulation, or psychological roles. In the use of games, there are many impacts that we can feel as users, both positive and negative impacts. The positive impact that can be generated from the use of the game itself, which can increase the concentration of users, language skills, add friends, and as entertainment. While the negative impacts that can be caused, namely increasing one’s aggression such as irritability, ignoring all forms of activities that must be done such as doing assignments, lack of social relations in the community, can cause game addiction, and others.

Language ability is one of the positive effects that can be generated when using online games, especially in English because most online games currently use English. It can be seen that, language is a tool used to interact or a tool to communicate by conveying thoughts, ideas, concepts or feelings of someone to other people and to obtain information. Language is also a system, that is, language is formed by a number of components that are patterned permanently and can be taught. The language system is in the form of sound symbols, each symbol symbolizes a certain language that has a particular meaning or concept. According to Santoso (1990: 1), language is a series of sounds that are produced consciously by human beings. In English, the word language, namely ‘language’ is derived from Indo-European which has the meaning of tongue, words, and language. The word language itself is taken from Latin ‘lingua’ which means, language, or tongue. And from ancient French, namely ‘langage’ which means language. There are a variety of languages ​​used in every corner of the world, where an estimated number reaches 6000-7000 languages. However, this number is only the number of languages ​​that we know and have heard, there are many more languages ​​that we may never know before because they are in a certain area that is difficult to reach. And language itself has various forms such as sign language, graphic writing, Braille, or whistling.

Language ability itself is the ability to understand receptive and expressive language using language to communicate, such as a student who has good oral language skills will be easier to master reading and writing skills. Language skills or language skills at this time are an important part of community life, where the development of culture and technology requires us to learn and understand foreign languages, especially English, because English is a language that has been determined by the world as an international language that all countries communicate between one country and another. Therefore, it is necessary to develop language skills. Language comprehension or understanding of language is one part that needs to be considered to support the development of one’s language skills. Because to be able to have good language skills, a person must also have good language comprehension too.

‘Some games on a computer contain the same words. If the words are different, you want to learn and want to know what they mean. For example, there are passwords in several matches and there are dialogues. You learn from them what you want to learn. ‘(Muzaffer)

Natural repetition in game play allows language learners to continue to be involved in the target of mastery of language and creating more opportunities for acquisitions (Gass & Selinker, 2001). This is different from games that are marketed through films or books that often do not reuse the same vocabulary or grammar so acquisition is more difficult. Instructional vocabulary repetition in Games Online allows language learners to use known language vocabulary or known grammar decoding elements through constant exposure.

In the present, various arguments arise which state that playing with the game can stimulate communication skills possessed by someone, which then by Huyen and Nga (2003) conducted a study on several students by giving a game. The results of the study were that students seemed to understand and maintain learning material more quickly in a stress-free and comfortable environment. In addition, students involved in the research acknowledged that English used in games helped them in completing their school assignments. The ability of students to learn English can be caused by being familiar with the words and sentences displayed in the game, in the form of instructions and existing rules so that players can complete the game. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine how much influence the use of online games on English language proficiency was seen in terms of language comprehension, especially in the age range between 15 and 25 years. One type of online game that is the focus of this research is Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). This type of online MMORPG game is a type of online game that involves online game users in completing a game or challenge that exists in the online game, where online game users play a virtual character and try to produce storylines together between users online game and online game itself. To be able to live and solve the challenges that exist in the online game, users must have the ability to speak good English so that the challenges can be resolved properly. Therefore, in this study, online game types of MMORPG were used to see the English language skills possessed by online game users and language comprehension that they have after using MMORPG online game types. One of the online game types of MMORPG used is Ragnarok.


In this study, the subject is someone who is in the age range between 15 and 25 years. It can be seen that the subject of this study is in adolescence and early adulthood. the subject is determined based on the average age of online game users. In addition, adolescence is included in Piaget’s cognitive development at the formal operational stage, namely thinking that they are more abstract and have logical reasoning. Whereas in early adulthood entered into cognitive development at the postal operational stage, that is the understanding of something that is right must have reflective thinking and the resolution of a problem must be based on realistic nature not only emotional and subjective factors. And early adults are more likely to have more creative thoughts.


In this study, questioning whether there is an influence between the use of online games, especially online games of the type of Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), namely Ragnarok, with English language proficiency in terms of language comprehension in the ages between 15 and 25 years. Does using online games affect the level of English language skills they have?


This study aims to determine whether there is an influence between the use of online games, especially online games such as Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), namely Ragnarok, with English language skills in terms of language comprehension in the ages between 15 and 25 years So that later, you can see whether there are differences in English language skills between people who use online games with people who don’t use them.


1. Theoretical Benefits

The results of this study are expected to increase knowledge for academics and non-academics as well as provide contributions to science in the field of Psychology, namely in the form of an explanation of the influence of online games on one’s English language skills. This research is not only for users of games but for everyone who likes to learn English.

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2. Practical Benefits

The results of this study are expected to be additional information for game users and other parties involved in the development of online games in order to maximize the functionality of the online. One of them is that it is expected that game users can improve their English skills through facilities in a games correctly and to reduce the negative effects of using online games.


Understanding Language

Language is part of human cognitive, language distinguishes humans from other living things, because in other species language as a communication tool is done with limitations and even difficult to express. Like animals, they use ‘signs’, but do not use symbols, for example if wolves call their flock they will roar. This is called a ‘sign’, not a symbol. Because symbols have a more specific meaning but the sign can mean a lot. But in human language we can communicate either verbally or with a body language. We use language to express emotions and thoughts, communicate, fulfill our desires and needs. language is often defined as verbal behavior where there are gestures and body movements as body language. (Pierce & Eplin, 1999). Language is also an organized tool used to combine words to communicate with other people.

Language ability

Language ability is the ability possessed by someone to combine several forms of words or sounds into a structured and intact sentence or speech so that later it can be understood by oneself and others. Besides that, the person must also be able to understand what others say. According to Parke (1999), the development of age and various kinds of stimuli obtained by a child go hand in hand with the development of language skills that he has (in Susi, 2007). While according to Hoetomo MA (2005), states that language skills are divided into 4 parts, namely listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills (in Susi, 2007).

Language Comprehension

Language comprehension is an understanding of what people say and what is read. In understanding language, various kinds of capacities, abilities, processes, knowledge and certain positions are also involved. In language comprehension there are various aspects that need to be considered, namely communication awareness, hearing and auditory processing, word knowledge and world knowledge, knowledge of word organization, discourse, social knowledge and pragmatics, and cognitive functions that support language comprehension. And the focus aspect in this research is word knowledge and world knowledge. word knowledge includes one’s knowledge of the meaning of words used when they speak, or read. It not only knows the meaning in general, but can understand words that have ambiguous meanings or there are several meanings and when someone says a word such as home, that person in addition to understanding the meaning of the word from home, he also associates the word with other things, such as the size , the color of the house, the type of house, etc. Whereas world knowledge is an understanding of the reality of the world, that is, one can understand a word if the person also has knowledge of the word such as the relationship between objects and their attributes, how these attributes work and so on. Cognitive functions are also one aspect that supports the development of one’s language comprehension, which consists of attention, working memory, speed of processing, organization, reasoning, abstrack thinking abilities, perspective taking, and comprehension monitoring and strategic behavior.

In communication, there are two references namely verbal comprehension and verbal fluency. According to Starr & Rayner (2003), stating that verbal comprehension is the ability to accept language obtained through verbal or written understanding, such as words or sentences. While verbal fluency is the ability to express the language produced. Based on this explanation, it can be seen that verbal comprehension and verbal fluency are two different forms of ability, so that when a person can understand a language well like English, it cannot smoothly express or use the language and vice versa (in Cognitive Psychology, 2009).

Understanding Games and Online Games

In the Wikipedia encyclopedia the definition of games is more profound: ‘… there are a number of rules that determines what players can do.’ Games are played primarily for entertainment or enjoyment. ‘(Http:// From the definition it can be concluded the main characteristics of a game:

  • a) There is a final goal the player wants to achieve
  • b) There are a number of rules that determine the limits of actions that a player can take
  • c) The actions of players outside these limits will be considered fraudulent actions.

Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, the definition of computer games: A computer game is a sort of game that is played using a computer. The game used in reference to games played using a personal computer. ( Online game if freely translated is an online game. The word game means a recreational activity with the aim of having fun, filling free time, or light exercise.

Online games are a type of video game or computer game using computer networks, generally the internet, as a medium. Online games consist of two main elements, namely server and client. Server is a gaming service provider that is the basis for connected clients to play games and communicate well. A server in principle only performs game administration and connects clients. While the client is a game user and uses server capabilities. Online Games are electronic and visual based games. Online games are played by utilizing electronic visual media which usually causes radiation to the eyes, so that the eyes are tired and usually accompanied by headaches.

The game is a structured game consisting of systems, players, abstracts, rules, challenges, and interactive, feedback, Quantifiable outcomes, and emotional reactions, as well as the connection with the internet network during the use of online games. Games generally involve a person’s mental and physical. One form of the game is online game. Online games can be divided into two forms, namely client-based and web-based. Client-based, where game publishers provide a platform for users to download on their computer devices and can use the online game without having to open the website again. While web-based is an online game that can be accessed by opening the website first. Games consist of various types, one type of game that is the focus of this research is Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG). MMORPG is a game that involves many players and can play together in cyberspace, besides that this game is usually fictional themed with certain characters or avatars and players can make their own stories. Examples of these types of games are Ragnarok Online, The Lord of the Ring Online: Shadows Of Angmar and others.

In this study there are 2 variables, namely online game as an independent variable using MMORPG type online games, namely Ragnarok and language skills seen in terms of language comprehension as variable dependent.

Inter-Variable Relationships

The use of language in a game is something that is inseparable, because with the language of the game users can know for sure the rules and explanations of the game that is in the game. The language used in each game can be different, depending on the creator of the game whether you want to use the language of the country or use the language that has been translated before. However, most of the games are in English, because English is a universal language where everyone in the world communicates with each other using English. The amount of use of English is what encourages game users in Indonesia to be able to understand and understand English, which in turn has an impact on the development of their language skills. Language skill is one of the supporting factors for game users to be able to understand and understand English used in the game.

To be able to understand and have good English skills, language comprehension is needed, which is one’s understanding of the language itself. In order for game users to understand the meaning and meaning of words in the game, they must have good language comprehension. This is also because in the game there are English words or sentences that have different meanings than the daily English words we use, therefore even though game users have good English language skills, they do not guarantee that they know for sure the whole meaning of the word. Therefore, by playing games, users will unconsciously learn the English used in the game, thus affecting the language comprehension abilities they have. By understanding and understanding the meaning of existing words, their English language skills will also increase. Especially if the online game uses more instructions or English vocabulary than other online games, such as an online game type MMORPG, one of which is called Ragnarok. The more numbers of instructions and English vocabulary used, the more often language comprehension skills are needed or used.


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  7. Gerry, S. Diakses pada: 9 Juli 2016

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