English as a lingua franca

English as a lingua franca ELF is the use of the English language "as a global means of inter-community communication" [1] Seidlhofer 20 and can be understood as " any use of English among speakers of different first languages for whom English is the communicative medium of choice and often the only option [2] " Seidlhofer 7. ELF is "defined functionally by its use in intercultural communication rather than formally by its reference to native-speaker norms" [3] whereas English as a second or foreign language aims at meeting native speaker norms and gives prominence to native speaker cultural aspects.

ELF research focuses on the pragmatics of variation which is manifest in the variable use of the resources of English for a wide range of globalized purposes, in important formal encounters such as business transactions, international diplomacy and conflict resolution, as well as in informal exchanges between international friends [8].

Major technological advances in the 21st century have enabled instant global communication, thus breaking the barriers of space and time between different locations on the planet. The world has turned into an interconnected global system, which requires a shared means of communication.

English fulfills the need for a global lingua franca for it has spread to large areas of the world due to colonisation and the widespread teaching of English as a foreign language. Because of the use of English as a lingua franca in international trade and intercultural communication, native speakers of English are outnumbered by non-native speakers, which is a situation that is quite atypical for western European languages.

For instance, international communication via ELF has facilitated exchange between China and the rest of the world, thus sustaining international trade. Consequently, the English language is undergoing change, and this change is being brought about mostly by its non-native speakers.

The way English is used as a lingua franca is heavily dependent on the specific situation of use. Generally speaking, ELF interactions concentrate on function rather than form. Rather, these forms do not seem to compromise effective communication within an ELF setting when they do occur. Although some researchers hold that English as a lingua franca is a neutral and culture-free tool, [16] [17] others hold that it carries the culture and language of its speakers.

ELF is used most often between non-native speakers of English but this fact does not mean that native speakers are excluded from ELF communication. Most data on ELF interactions has been drawn from the domains of business and higher education, [26] and that in largely European contexts, perhaps factors accounting for the relatively rare instances of miscommunication.

A research study of MELF interactions where nurses negotiated a patient handover simulation indicated that areas of unintelligibility represented a potential threat to patient safety, through misrecognition of vocabulary related to medication, as well as other areas of lexical imprecision.

One study of a Japanese Medical English as a Lingua Franca MELF context [31] showed that student doctors made use of empathic accommodation and solicitation strategies to make interactions more intelligible. Applying nonverbal cues was seen as being of importance to encourage simulated patients to express concerns, because silence may be interpreted as a sign of potential problems.

Empathic doctor-patient communication then means not only mean understanding and sympathizing but having the ability to bridge the gap when patients are not willing to talk.

english as a lingua franca

An important issue when discussing ELF is the notion of speakers of ELF being active language users in their own right, who do not need to adhere to native speaker norms but use ELF to meet their communicative needs.They explain how teachers can teach ELF in their classrooms.

What students need most from their language classes affects how we teach. But to what extent do we consider students' needs when it comes to pronunciation? How often do we stop to consider the needs of students who are learning English to mainly communicate with other non-native speakers? So their needs are quite different to students who go to the UK, for example, and want to integrate within that culture and so may want to sound as much like a native speaker as possible. The priority for students using ELF, on the other hand, is to be as intelligible as possible to the people they are communicating with.

This does not necessarily mean sounding like a native speaker. So how do we know what features of pronunciation are most important for maintaining intelligibility? There are four main areas that the LFC focuses on, which are thought to be essential for students to get right if they are to remain intelligible. These are:. Pronunciation features that we often teach as part of a traditional syllabus, but which are NOT included in the LFC because they have no impact on ELF intelligibility are:.

Receptively, it may be useful for students to be aware of things like features of connected speech. During the discussions, you might like to guide students to an understanding of these important points:. Conduct a needs analysis to find out whether your students use or are planning to use ELF, or whether they need to integrate in an English-speaking country.

Why English became a Lingua Franca

Then conduct a diagnostic test, like you would with other language areas such as grammar, to find out which areas of the lingua franca core, or LFC, students need to work on producing. It would also be helpful to know the language backgrounds of the people your students will be talking to, in order to work on appropriate accommodation skills, too in other words, adjusting your expectations of what pronunciation you will hear, according to who is speaking.

Then match those areas to the needs of your students. If possible, skip the irrelevant pronunciation exercises and spend more time on LFC priority areas, such as nuclear stress, by taking extra pronunciation activities into the classroom to focus on these.

You can help learners to become more familiar with a range of non-native accents, especially those they are most likely to encounter in their specific context. View the discussion thread. Skip to main content. How to teach English as a lingua franca ELF.

What is English as a lingua franca ELF? During the discussions, you might like to guide students to an understanding of these important points: English as a Foreign Language EFL is English when it is used by non-native speakers to communicate with native speakers.

English as a Lingua Franca ELF is English when it is used between two or more people who do not have the same first language. There may be native speakers present, but they would be in the minority. How do you teach English as a lingua franca ELF? Where can I find audio featuring non-native speakers? Read more articles.People have always found value in a common language for specific purposes. English as a lingua franca is a concept that has only arisen in the past years. The meaning is simple: English is the preferred language used by people with different mother tongues and cultures which may or may not include a native speaker Firth, According to Crystala language that has international reputation enhances effective communication and leads to global exchanges and benefits.

This is because English is, at this point in time, the language of science, technology and media Crystal, as well as the official language of international diplomacy and many international organizations. At least 75 countries give English a special or official status British Council, It has a remarkable reputation all over the world and it is used by countries in different contexts even when it is not the official language.

English is undoubtedly the lingua franca of the 21st century. It represents a way to gain economic and social advancement and, in many cases and by many people, is seen as a neutral language. Therefore, it is perceived as being free from any ideology. Those who speak English nowadays have the ability to acquire and share knowledge in different domains such as in politics, medicine, media and so on.

In80 percent of movies were made in English, for example. Surely, a global language has advantages and disadvantages, winners and losers. And as The Economist says, English is very likely to keep the status it already has because societies are very unlikely to change the language they value as important. Although some influential politicians would prefer a shift in the lingua franca, their wishes will, fortunately or unfortunately, not become reality in the next years The Economist, and English will stay the language chosen to communicate across cultures.

As a consequence, the English language changed slightly to become American English and Australian English with a few differences in spelling and pronunciation. In the 18th and 19th century the British Empire was the one who had the most colonies followed by France. It controlled different countries in Africa and Asia. The exposure to English of those countries created a new version of English: the New Englishes.

An example could be the Indian English FutureLearn, In particular, we talk about the United States of America that has emerged as a world economic power since the previous century. In fact, Crystal emphasizes the importance of the economy and not just military power in order for a language to gain a high status. One of the concerns scholars have addressed is that not everyone has the same access to education and language acquisition.

This is one of the reasons why Sanako is offering a one-year free license to developing countries to enhance their language abilities in different languages including English. British Council. How to teach English as a lingua franca ELF.

Crystal, D. English as a global language 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Curran, J.

How to teach English as a lingua franca (ELF)

Teaching and Teacher Education, 66, Diaz, J.The term lingua franca was first coined in the beginning of the 17th century by the Italians. At that time, it represented a conglomeration of mostly Italian, with a smattering of French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Greek, and Arabic, and was used primarily as the language of commerce. Today, English is a common lingua franca across the globe. According to some estimates, almost 80 percent of English speakers in the world are non-native speakers.

Below you will find more information about a phenomenon that bears on language, culture, commerce, and diplomacy. Apart from serving as a useful heuristic in Europe, where a Spaniard, a Frenchmen, and a German might all carry on a conversation in English, English as a lingua franca ELF plays an important role in former Anglophone colonies such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, among many others. ELF differs from Standard English in a number of ways.

Several documented overarching similarities are variances in article usage or no article usage at allvariances in preposition usage, and novel use of morphemes such as importancy and smoothfully.

english as a lingua franca

Verbally, noted differences include the omission of some consonants and addition of extra vowels, as well as a general tendency towards efficient communication over grammatically normative English.

While ELF is a widespread and useful mode of communication for many, some scholars and linguists have criticized its proliferation as a form of linguistic imperialism. In it, Phillipson argues that English has long been a tool of submission and cultural domination of colonies. Contemporary critics of ELF cite the problems associated with studying a language in a disorganized, unstructured way.

Speakers of ELF may eventually speak both their native language and English imperfectly, leading to issues with effective communication. In spite of these criticisms, ELF continues to flourish in many countries, oftentimes enriching the language with colorful aphorisms and unique turns of phrase. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Where is it used? How is it used? Criticisms: While ELF is a widespread and useful mode of communication for many, some scholars and linguists have criticized its proliferation as a form of linguistic imperialism. Print page. This is great. Post A Comment Cancel Reply.

Open toolbar.First of all, the focus is on conformity with a standard native speaker model. I wrote more about it here. And number three: this leads to the idea that having a foreign accent is something bad.

World Englishes and English as a lingua franca: Implications of the spread of English

And even more shockingly, only 0. Another thing that we might see as a characteristic of an English as a Foreign Language approach is the fact that switching languages, translanguaging, code switching, to use more linguistic terms, is seen as something negative.

What would our typical reaction to that be? It would probably be negative, right? If you for example want to model pronunciation or a particular grammar feature or some vocabulary, who is going to be a model for that? Finally, there is also very little discussion of the global spread of English, and its implications for teaching and learning English, as well as of native speakerism and its impact on English language teaching.

So to sum up, the EFL approach to teaching English in many of its assumptions, core beliefs and practices is very native speakerist. I wrote about the principles for teaching ELF more extensively here. And also on how to write materials for teaching ELF. In other words, we want to focus on communicative skills in our classes. In other words, on clear pronunciation in international contexts and being easy to understand to a wide variety of people.

You can read in more detail what this would involve right here. You can see exactly what 5 steps you should follow in this video. But in a nutshell, you would basically want to do a needs analysis with your students to find out who they are going to be using English with.

And you really need to reflect that in your materials. And again, this simply reflects the reality of the English language: those who speak it as the first language constitute perhaps 20 percent of all people who use English. In other words, we want to help students be able to navigate their way in between a myriad of different peoples, cultures, and first languages. Another aspect that I think is vital as well when teaching ELF is to use non-native speakers as models of the language.

This can be really motivatingbecause it simply shows them as well that they as second language users of English can also reach that proficiency level.

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Here are a few activities to help you do this. Kiczkowiak, M. In press. Pronunciation in course books: English as a Lingua Franca perspective.Bokor conducted a communication class at a midwestern university with students of various levels of resistance. The findings confirmed that exposure to the World Englishes paradigm had a positive influence on the participants and enhanced their understanding of themselves and nonnative English speakers.

This article argues that there is an "English language problem" that has not been adequately addressed in preparing United States native English-speaking students for international communication.

Bokor draws attention to the limitations of the current strategies for training native speakers in international audience analysis and suggests the incorporation of the World Englishes perspective into training programs. This article is a direct response to one previously published. The main function of the article is to refute claims made by the other, but in the process Cogo provides an succinct overview of her interpretation of ELF research. This paper reports on findings in both pragmatics and lexicogrammar, and attempts to identify the relationship between the two systems and highlight the ways in which they are mutually constitutive.

Using conversational examples of people using English as a lingua francathe article shows how practical motives can lead to changes in the lexis and grammar. She ultimately concludes that ELF is not a fixed language, but a flexible one. Her findings and arguments are generally in keeping with other ELF research. This article gave an overview of several talks given at the 17th Annual Conference of the International Association for World Englishes.

Topics include English use in China and implementation of World Englishes concepts into educational settings.

It condenses the information so the most important points are clear. The focus on the human perspective gives this article a unique aspect. This work suggests the form of ELF interactions is entirely variable and cannot be standardized. However, she is tentative to make any certain claims and merely seeks to further encourage study of this field. World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca.

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The importance of English as a global language has manifested itself in two primary ways. According to Dr. Ahmar Mahboob of the University of Sydney, World Englishes WE and English as a lingua franca ELF can be positioned at the opposite ends of a continuum: WE represents divergence of the language—language developed and used for a local audience—while ELF represents the convergence of different varieties of the language for the purpose of international communication Ike,p.

Both are the bases of growing fields of study. According to Michael Bokor, there are three levels to consider regarding World Englishes: the inner circle, composed of native English speakers US, UK, AUS ; the outer circle, composed of former colonies of English speaking countries where English has a strong presence India, Pakistan ; and the expanding circle, composed of countries where English has no official use, but is still used, for example in business Sweden, Japan.

Fundamentally, World Englishes are forms of English that have been developed by non-native speakers e. The importance of English in technical communication has increased by the need for improved international transfer of scientific and technical information through the quickest possible means.

Aided by developments in information and communication technology and a growing world economy, English is indispensable for trade, development and communication. English as a Lingua Franca English as a lingua franca ELF refers to the use of English between people who do not share the same first language Leyland,p.English, she says, "has served as a lingua franca in the past, and continues to do so nowadays, in many of the countries that were colonized by the British from the late sixteenth century on often known collectively as the Outer Circle following Kachrusuch as India and Singapore.

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What is new about ELF, however, is the extent of its reach," Jenkins ELF is used globally in many ways, and this includes important matters of politics and diplomacy. ELF is also used on a much smaller scale. Apparently paradoxically, the more localised the use of English as a lingua franca, the more variation it is likely to display. This can be explained by reference. Thus code-switching and the explicit [use] of nativised norms can be expected.

When used for international communication, on the other hand, speakers will consciously avoid the use of local and nativised norms and expressions," Kirkpatrick It is well known that divisions between languages are arbitrary, and therefore those between varieties of a language have to be as well.

Once descriptions are available of how speakers from different linguacultural backgrounds use ELF, this will make it possible to consider whether it would make sense to think of English as it is spoken by its non-native speakers as falling into different varieties, just as is the English spoken by its native speakers. It is likely that ELF, like any other natural languagewill turn out to vary, and to change over time.

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It does not make much sense, therefore, to talk about a monolithic variety as such: a variety can be treated as if it were a monolith, but this is a convenient fiction, for the process of variation itself never stops," Seidlhofer As far as Marko Modiano is concerned, there are two ways to approach deciding who English is a lingua franca for. Is it a lingua franca or common language only for non-native speakers that speak it as a foreign language or for those that use it in multicultural settings?

One is the traditional idea that English is a lingua franca for a non-native speaker constituency which should pursue knowledge of the language as if it were a foreign language.

The other, upheld by those who have bought into the world Englishes paradigm, is to see English as a lingua franca for interlocutors who use it with others in multicultural settings and thus see English in its diversity as opposed to viewing English as a prescriptive entity defined by idealized inner-circle speakers.

It should be made clear, moreover, that my own position here is that a lingua franca must be inclusive as opposed to exclusive. That is to say, it is imperative that our understanding of how English is used in Europe is integrated with a vision of a communicatively viable use of the language internationally," Modiano Share Flipboard Email.

Richard Nordquist. English and Rhetoric Professor. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks.

Updated April 03,

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