English as a Lingua Franca and Intercultural Communication

Implications and Applications in the Field of English Language Teaching

by Ignacio Guillén-Galve (Volume editor) Ignacio Vázquez-Orta (Volume editor)
©2018 Edited Collection VI, 408 Pages
Series: Linguistic Insights, Volume 252


The contributions collected in this book provide a wide range of perspectives on and prospects for the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF), and explore various contexts where ELF is used predominantly: Academic and research settings as well as teacher and general population education, including pronunciation teaching. The chapters look at ELF data and concerns taking into consideration the areas of phonology, grammar, pragmatics alongside more specific, sociolinguistic ones such as attitudes and identity. The chapters also seek to invoke and provoke further discussion and research on the complex and multifarious forms of the «Englishes» that people are using around the world in their daily encounters in English. Accordingly, most of the studies described in the chapters orient their methodology and discussion to a particular macro- or micro-context of intercultural communication (IC), as the main scope of the exploratory work presented here is not so much the system of ELF, but the pragmatics of communication and its strategies. The specific interest of this volume thus lies in bridging the gap between two distinct areas of scholarship, ELF studies, on the one hand, and IC studies, on the other, and in doing so from a «semiperipherical» European perspective and from a view of ELF as social practice.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction (Ignacio Guillén-Galve / Ignacio Vázquez-Orta)
  • Part I: ELF and Intercultural Communication
  • Reconceptualizing linguistic diversity and its role in intercultural communication: A literature review (Concepción Orna-Montesinos)
  • The importance of ELF and intercultural communication in Teacher education: A case study from Portugal (Lili Cavalheiro)
  • ELF-mediated intercultural communication between migrants and tourists in an Italian project of Responsible Tourism: A multimodal ethnopoetic approach to modern and classical sea-voyage narratives (Maria Grazia Guido, Pietro Luigi Iaia, Lucia Errico)
  • Part II: ELF in Academic and Research Settings
  • May the status of English as the lingua franca of international communication affect learners’attitudes towards language learning? (Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo)
  • Discourse markers and academic writing in English as a Lingua Franca (Silvia Murillo)
  • “It is a great pleasure …”: Chairing at Academic Conferences (Isabel Corona)
  • Exploring interpersonality features in ELF research articles: from rhetorical and discursive homogeneity to lexico-grammatical hybridity (Pilar Mur-Dueñas)
  • Part III: ELF and Online Academic Communication
  • The Use of ELF in International Online Conference Announcements: Changing Modes and Means of Academic Communication (Rosa Lorés-Sanz)
  • Academic social networking sites (ASNSs) as ELF settings: an analysis of interactional strategies in ResearchGate discussions (María-José Luzón)
  • Part IV: ELF and Pronunciation Teaching
  • English pronunciation in intercultural communication — ELF assumptions versus accent attitudes. Implications for foreign learners’phonetic instruction (Jolanta Szpyra-Kozłowska)
  • Investigating the teaching of the pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca to Adult Learners of English for Academic Purposes: A case for fine-tuning at the intersection of socio-linguistics and English language education (Ignacio Guillén-Galve)
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Series index

← VI | 1 →



Abstract: This introductory chapter is intended to provide the reader with an overview of the portion of the vast literature on English as a Lingua Franca that constitutes the specific backdrop against which this volume should be read. The contents of this introduction may create the impression that certain authors, frameworks or lines of inquiry have been ignored or are even underrepresented, but the particular history and orientation of this book make some ideas and hypotheses from the literature more relevant than others. As the very title indicates, Will Baker’s (2016) chapter for Holmes and Dervin’s monograph The Cultural and Intercultural Dimensions of English as a Lingua Franca is the main driving force, but there are other aspects to consider in order to understand how this volume was conceived.

1.1 Background

In the first place, this volume on English as a Lingua Franca and Intercultural Communication has been written from a medium-sized city in North-East Spain, that is, from the semiperiphery of Europe. By this we mean that the University of Zaragoza, our alma mater and research institution, does not belong to the major hubs of ELF theory: Southampton, Vienna, Helsinki. We also mean that unlike Finland, Austria or, obviously, the UK, the countries of the scholars that have contributed chapters to this volume (Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain) are not among the top 10 in the EF English Proficiency Index (or EF EPI report), and thus belong to an apparent semiperiphery of proficiency. Consequently, in this region, the use of English as a lingua franca may turn out to be somewhat inconspicuous and probably limited to academic and professional settings. Furthermore, an ELF approach to the teaching of English may require a certain amount of postmodernism (see section 4 below), since it is not hard to find some degree of parallelism between ← 1 | 2 → ELF endeavours and the main features of postmodern culture and its cities, but then again these features seem to be only beginning to permeate this semiperiphery of English from which we are writing.

In the second place, this volume was initially conceived as an end-of-project undertaking and, therefore, most of its contributors belong to an official Spanish Research Group, INTERLAE (www.interlae.com). The project title was “English as a Lingua Franca across specialized discourses: A critical genre analysis of alternative spaces of linguistic and cultural production”, a research project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness in 2012. Nevertheless, as can be inferred from the Table of Contents, we also considered it relevant for our purposes to take on board the views of scholars from other Southern and Eastern European universities, as they come from countries which, not unlike Spain, are not included among the high-proficiency countries of the EF EPI report —the semiperiphery of Europe mentioned above. Their contributions certainly constitute an invaluable complement to the other chapters. Accordingly, this volume contains different examples of how research from a partially postmodern semiperiphery of English in Europe can contribute to the analysis of the ELF paradigm and to the debate surrounding its application and pedagogy.

Given this context, it is important to acknowledge that the use of the term ‘semiperiphery’ in this Introduction is partly inspired by Karen Bennett’s discussion of the concept in The Semiperiphery of Academic Writing (Bennett 2014: 6–7). While Bennett’s discussion is essentially concerned with “academic cultures”, our volume also brings together contributions from the so-called ʻPIGSʼ countries of Southern Europe (here, Italy, Portugal and Spain), but also from new members of the EU located in the “east of the landmass” (Poland). The economic and geographical characteristics of these countries make them “peripheral to the European centre”, which, according to Bennett, has a number of significant academic implications. However, what we find to be most useful in Bennett’s analysis of the situation is her view of the semiperiphery as “a place of tension, a contact zone where different attitudes, discourses and practices meet and merge. As such, it is effervescent with possibilities, allowing dominant attitudes to be challenged and new paradigms to arise in a way that would be unthinkable in centre countries”. ← 2 | 3 → Accordingly, most of the chapters in this book provide data that bear out the idea that research into ELF can clearly benefit from a ‘semiperipherical’ examination of notions such as ʻcontact zoneʼ (e.g. the chapter by Guido/Iaia/Errico), new ʻpossibilitiesʼ (Cavalheiro, Herrando-Rodrigo, Corona), new ʻparadigmsʼ (Murillo, Mur-Dueñas, Lorés-Sanz, Luzón), but also ʻtensionʼ and a certain challenge to dominant attitudes (Szpyra-Kozłowska, Guillén-Galve).

1.2 Main goals and conceptual framework

With the above premises as points of departure, the main goal of the present volume is to unpack the different approaches to ELF and Intercultural Communication (IC) and to promote dialogue and build bridges within and across these concepts. The volume’s specific interest lies in bridging the gap between two distinct areas of scholarship, ELF studies, on the one hand, and IC studies, on the other, and in doing so from the specific European perspective mentioned above. The chapters of this book thus explore various contexts where ELF is used predominantly: ELF in Teacher and in General Population Education, ELF in Academic and Research Settings (student and staff mobility, research activities, academic lectures and presentations, online communication), and ELF and Pronunciation Teaching. The chapters look at ELF aspects and data taking into consideration the different areas of phonology, grammar, pragmatics as well as more specific ones such as attitudes and identity.

In this endeavour to address the relationship between ELF research and IC and examine different areas of collaboration between both fields of study together with the implications they have for ELT, our point of view is that ELT is one of the real-world problems that concerns applied linguistics in general and ELF and IC in particular. In our project, two of our initial concerns were the vast number and types of learners and teachers of English existing nowadays, whether they live in small towns and villages or in modern metropolises, and the changing role of English in our time. Whatever we academics may think, English is the dominant language in the world today and language users are ← 3 | 4 → aware of that reality and learners wish to learn ‘English’ in this new light.1 At the same time, English teachers nowadays realize that the subject, or “object”, they ought to teach is changing rapidly. They are very often faced with the change from the object “English as a foreign language” to the object “English as a lingua franca”, a change which has, at least from the ELF viewpoint, strong implications at the theoretical level in the sense that ‘applied linguistics’ can no longer limit itself to the mere application of linguistic theories.

In their critical response to O’Regan’s (2014) article in Applied Linguistics, Will Baker and Jennifer Jenkins (2015: 193) explain this change of focus in a very straightforward manner:

Unlike the prescriptive application of theory to practice that O’Regan is suggesting, ELF has emerged as a field driven by “real-world problems” in which theory is drawn on, adapted, and developed as necessary, rather than decided a priori. This is in keeping with perhaps the most well-known characterisation of applied linguistics as “[t]he theoretical and empirical investigation of real-world problems in which language is a central issue” (Brumfit 1995: 27). The argument also highlights the central concern of Widdowson’s (2000) distinction between “linguistics applied” and “applied linguistics,” i.e., the difference between the direct application of linguistic theories and the relevant mediation between these and the practical domain of “real world” problems.

Guy Cook (2012: 244) also echoes Brumfit’s (1995) much cited definition of applied linguistics and then goes on to exemplify those “real-world problems in which language is a central issue” and what dealing with them implies. According to Cook (2012: 244), one of the problems is what model of English is most appropriate for contemporary English ← 4 | 5 → language use and learning. As this is a problem whose nature has substantially changed under the impact of accelerated globalization it now has many aspects which may be considered to some degree new, and consequently also demand, to some degree, new theories and descriptions. In line with Cook’s positive assessment of the involvement of translation and ELF with these new phenomena, we also believe that the involvement of ELF and IC makes them a part of applied linguistics “at its cutting edge”, potentially addressing the relation between language and the most urgent contemporary social, political, and economic problems of our times. The chapter by Maria Grazia Guido, Pietro Luigi Iaia and Lucia Errico in this volume, “ELF-mediated Intercultural Communication between Migrants and Tourists in an Italian Project of Responsible Tourism”, is a case in point.

However, although it can be argued that ELF emerged as a field of study driven by real-world problems, in the development of ELF there have been different phases2, and this is the reason why in ELT we may sometimes hesitate over classifying ELF as a subject or as an object. The early stages of ELF theory saw a tension between the hypothesis of considering the possible status of ELF as a variety of English (an ‘object’) and that of considering ELF as a use of English. Nowadays, however, there seems to be a consensus that ELF is not a variety of English, but it is a case of legitimate language use. Jennifer Jenkins (2015: 50) herself has recently made a clear statement about ELF research not having ever been monolithic, but evolutionary (from a focus on forms to a focus on social practice):

The earliest ELF research began by focusing mainly on forms, although from the start, accommodative processes were also identified as key factors in ELF communication (Jenkins 2000). Later, as increasing amounts of empirical data were made available, not least via two large corpora, VOICE (the Vienna- Oxford International Corpus of English) and ELFA (the corpus of English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings), attention to forms gave way to interest in the diversity, fluidity, and variability revealed in the new data. The research focus therefore switched to a view of “ELF as social practice” with “the community rather than the code, at the center of the stage” (Kalocsai 2014: 2). ← 5 | 6 →

In our volume, the view of ELF as social practice3 can be clearly perceived, for example, in the chapter by Isabel Corona, about ‘chairing’ at Academic Conferences, or the two chapters from Part III, as they deal with online conference announcements (Rosa Lorés-Sanz) and interactional strategies in ResearchGate Discussions (María-José Luzón). This effort to keep the community rather than the code “at the center of the stage” also drives the chapters by Lili Cavalheiro (ELF and IC in Teacher Education in Portugal), Isabel Herrando (attitudes towards English language learning among the military in Spain), or the whole of Part IV: Jolanta Szpyra-Kozłowska studies ELF assumptions versus accent attitudes as regards foreign learners’ phonetic instruction in Poland, and Ignacio Guillén-Galve focuses on the teaching of the pronunciation of English as a lingua franca to adult learners of English for Academic Purposes (the doctoral students at the Graduate School of the University of Zaragoza, Spain).

2.  ELF as legitimate language use

Despite the phases and evolution mentioned above, ELF is a relatively new field of study. The present century has seen the development of ELF from a topic researched by a small group of specialists to a highly productive research area that now has an impressive visibility in the field of Applied Linguistics. For example, research on intercultural communication through ELF now offers an increasing number of edited volumes, monographs and journal articles, all concerned with describing, theorizing and considering the pedagogical implications of English as a Lingua Franca. Nowadays there is even a Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, JELF (De Gruyter); it was created only 6 years ago, but it is still the first journal to be devoted to the rapidly-growing phenomenon of English as a Lingua Franca. Not unlike JELF, which is said to ← 6 | 7 → “explore this global phenomenon from a wide number of perspectives, including linguistic, sociolinguistic, socio-psychological, and political, in a diverse range of settings where English is the common language of choice” (see www.degruyter.com/view/j/jelf), the chapters in the present book also evidence the need to study settings where English is the “common language of choice” from a wide range of perspectives.

As regards landmark publications about ELF, Ute Smit’s (2010: 60) selection includes, for example, Jenkins’ (2000) first book on ELF pronunciation, Seidlhofer’s (2001) programmatic “conceptual gap” paper, and the start of compiling the first corpora of spoken ELF (e.g. Mauranen 2003). When Smit (2010) wrote her sketch of research undertakings into ELF, the previous years had seen not only the finalization of two corpora (ELFA and VOICE, with a third one, ACE4, just starting up), but also an impressive array of empirical studies into ELF, undertaken mainly in European and Asian countries, Baker (2009) being, in our opinion, a very significant example.

ELF researchers took up, therefore, a very clear conceptual position on the legitimacy of ELF right from the beginning. They treated the linguistic output of non-native speakers as legitimate language use, not as an unfinished product.5 Seidlhofer (2011: 7) defined ELF as “any use of English among speakers of different languages for whom English is the communicative medium of choice, and often only option”. ELF is, thus, trying to investigate interactions in English as a lingua franca among participants with different lingua-cultural backgrounds (Jenkins 2006: 164). In consequence, it is crucial to make reference here to Baker’s (2009: 567) warning that, given the multilingual and multicultural contexts of much ELF communication, “any attempt to propose a straightforward language–culture–nation correlation must be seen as a gross oversimplification. Thus, a richer understanding is needed of the fluid and diverse relationships between languages and cultures”. ← 7 | 8 →

Consequently, this volume aims to provide some of that “richer understanding”, a task which, in our view, also requires a lot of equilibrium, as is to be expected of any study of relationships that are “fluid and diverse”. It may be true that, according to the advocates of English as a lingua franca whom Baker (2009) mentions alongside others more concerned with English used for intercultural communication (e.g. Suresh Canagarajah), the norms of inner circle English-native-speaker pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary choice can prove inappropriate in lingua franca settings. However, we believe that statements such as the above need some degree of empirical verification, especially as regards local attitudes towards e.g. accented (English) speech. The inappropriateness of those norms should not be taken for granted even in lingua franca settings. For example, in Cutillas’ (2017: 16) study of a certain ELF communicative event, the author (2017: 29–30) underscores the importance of examining ingroup attitudes prior to the selection of a non-native standard for international communication:

[a] sociolinguistically-informed approach would have probably concluded that [the public figure under scrutiny] should have limited her use of English to international communication in private spheres rather than public venues—i.e., that she should have delivered her public speech in Spanish, with English interpreting provided—thus acknowledging the crucial role of Spanish overhearers. […] In selecting a non-native standard for international communication, the impact on the ingroup should not be ignored. Spanish English has no chance of succeeding as an effective, intelligible tool for international communication in public unless ingroup language attitudes change. These attitudes have undesired side effects. The pursuit of NS perfection may, in this way, actually discourage learners from using English at all. Until more tolerant approaches to non-native accents become commonplace, a reasonable approach for public figures would be to take into account the attitudes (linguistic or otherwise) of the public they represent.

Therefore, we would like to pursue the idea by Baker (2009: 569) that “just as important as an understanding of the phonological and lexico- grammatical features of ELF are the sociolinguistics and pragmatics of communication”. We need a flexible approach to the use of language for teaching practice where learners are likely to use English for intercultural or ELF communication (see e.g. De Bartolo 2016, Verzella 2017, or the chapter by Lili Cavalheiro in this volume). ← 8 | 9 →

This objective is related to the fact that there is also a lot of fluidity and diversity in the definition of the term English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) itself. A comprehensive illustration of this fact is the long list of definitions compiled by John O’Regan (2016) for his chapter in Holmes/Dervin’s (2016) The Cultural and Intercultural Dimensions of English as a Lingua Franca. O’Regan’s (2016: 204) list is directly based on the definitions given in the chapters of Holmes/Dervin’s own book:

‘a new field of research that accounts for an empirically-based and theoretically informed understanding of how English is used today in an increasing number of contexts’ (Holmes & Dervin, 2016: 4); ‘a communicative situation dominated by people who don´t have the language in question as their first or early second language’ (Risager, 2016: 37); ‘a construct that refers to mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire’ (Bjørge, 2016: 116); ‘a contact language spoken by interactants that do not share a common L1’ (Jenks, 2016: 97); ‘the dynamic and fluid manner in which form, function and context are constructed in intercultural communication’ (Baker, 2016: 70).

Against this plethora of definitions, which range from the concrete nature of ‘contact language’ to the abstraction behind the notion of ‘construct’, it is worth quoting Mario Saraceni’s (2010: 89) warning that “the problem is that what ELF does is made to coincide to what it is” (emphasis as in the original). While nowadays ELF seems to be an extremely widespread and common function of English, there has not ever been an abundance of analysis and descriptions. These descriptions are necessary, Saraceni (2010: 89) points out, in order to develop Seidlhofer’s (2005: 339) approach to ELF as “a way of referring to communication in English between speakers with different first languages”. The practical development of this notion requires the systematic study of “what [ELF] looks and sounds like and how people actually use it and make it work” (Seidlhofer 2005: 340). This entails that communication in English between speakers with different first languages has its own ‘look’ and ‘sound’, but “does not preclude the participation of English native speakers in ELF interaction” (Seidlhofer 2005: 339).

Saraceni’s (2010: 89) significant assumption is that if an instance of communication in English includes “people who somehow do not qualify as ‘English native speakers’, the English used therein will have a distinctive lexical, grammatical and/or phonological form”. We believe ← 9 | 10 → that in this volume the chapter by Pilar Mur-Dueñas can be regarded as an example of how to bear out Saraceni’s assumption. After the analysis of specific interpersonality features in a small, but representative corpus of 48 Business Management research articles,6 the author reaches the conclusion that citations, hedging expressed though modal verbs and evaluative anticipatory it-patterns show a higher frequency of use in the ELF than in the ENL RAs, and that these choices should not be regarded as non-standard, as deficiencies or signs of incompetence by non-native English scholars, but rather, from an ELF perspective, as linguistic choices and resources which allow ELF scholars to effectively communicate with other international scholars. Or as Saraceni would put it, they are an example of “distinctive” lexical and grammatical forms.

Although this may be the case in many contexts of English use given the majority of nonnative English speakers, it should be remembered that native English speakers also engage in international communication through English. Therefore, Jenkins (2006: 157) has also offered an extended definition of ELF which involves communication in English between participants who have different “lingua-cultures”: “ELF refers to English when it is used as a contact language across linguacultures whose members are in the main so-called nonnative speakers”. This extended definition is of special relevance to the present volume because of the use of the term “lingua-cultures”. From this standpoint, English is a means of communication among speakers of different first languages and of different cultures, and therefore Jenkins (2006) uses the term ‘lingua-culture’ to highlight the close relation between language and culture in communication. The norms of such communication do not depend exclusively on native English speakers, but, as mentioned above, accept a plurality of forms. For example, in her chapter, Pilar Mur-Dueñas points out that diversity at the linguistic level and likely non-standard uses do not prevent RAs, at least in the discipline of Business Management being investigated, ← 10 | 11 → from being published in high impact journals.7 Nevertheless, there may also exist certain linguistic cultures (with specific sociolinguistic characteristics or pragmatic needs) prone to make learners embrace native-speaker norms readily (for example, as regards phonological forms, see Cutillas (2017) or the chapters in Part IV of this volume).

3.  ELF and Intercultural Communication

For the purposes of this volume, Jenkins’ (2006) definition of ELF through the concept of ‘lingua-culture’ can be considered to run parallel to the definition of IC provided by Zhu Hua (2016) in her list of “key terms” for “identifying research paradigms” in the context of IC research methods. As a field of study, IC is concerned with “how people from different cultural backgrounds interact with each other and negotiate cultural or linguistic differences which may be perceived or made relevant through interactions, as well as what impact such interactions have on group relations as and on individuals’ identities, attitudes and behaviors” (Zhu 2016: 18).8 In this volume, the type of intercultural differences under scrutiny is essentially linguistic, and the process of negotiation is mostly examined in terms of what its actual extent and impact are and, therefore, in terms of whether there is a specific outcome regarding, for example, attitudes or linguistic features (the chapters from Parts IV and II illustrate those fields of inquiry, respectively).

As editors of this volume, we are well aware that research into intercultural communication through ELF has already identified various features of such communication. Lexis and syntax have been investigated most significantly through several corpora: VOICE, ELFA, and ACE. Furthermore, Baker (2009: 569) points out that ELF communication, in common with other forms of intercultural communication, can also be characterized by ← 11 | 12 → mixing between varieties of a language and also code-switching with other languages.

Much recent research on ELF has also explored the pragmatic strategies that participants in ELF interactions use to make communication effective (a recent discussion can be found in De Bartolo 2016), including the use of multilingual resources (see e.g. Klimpfinger 2009). ELF users are often described as engaging in “consensus-oriented, cooperative and mutually supportive talk” (Seidlhofer 2001: 143); they resort to strategies to negotiate meaning and prevent misunderstanding, adjust to the interlocutors level and ensure a smooth interaction and establish rapport.9

4.  ELF and ELT: A shift of focus from a modernist to a postmodernist perspective

Looking now at the field of English Language Teaching (ELT), especially as regards EFL, if we examine its goals today and compare them with the goals 30 years ago, there has been, according to Richards (2003: 16), a transition

from modernism (the rejection of prescription, authority, untested claims and assertions in favor on reason, empirical investigation and objectivity closely associated with the scientific method) to postmodernism (the rejection of modernism for failing to recognize thecultural relativity of all fonns of knowledge, an emphasis on the autonomous individual).

In architecture, which we simply mention here as an explanatory simile, the advent of postmodernism (see e.g. Barreiro-León 2017: 58–59) caused the so-called “International Style” to be superseded because there were architects who ← 12 | 13 →

sought freedom from the rigid dictates of this school. Buildings somehow abandoned the slavish adherence limits to modernist geometry, replacing it with new designs (for instance, a return to external decoration). […] In the Postmodernity, we observe buildings with protruding corners, a number of different levels and substantially more ornamentation on the outside […] The new Postmodern urbanists aspired to integrate previously separate elements. They conceived a more relevant urban life for the visitor, guiding neighbourhoods to gain easy access to all transport service. […] During Postmodernism the desire to create larger cities grows, impersonal and empty of architectural content, but which, in turn, can be fully identifiable by individuals through symbols and images.

As regards ELT, the “modern” rectangular buildings, the existence of a slavish adherence to geometry, of rigid dictates, may well be reinterpreted as the promotion of native-speaker models of grammar or pronunciation. By contrast, the “postmodern” guidance of neighbourhoods to gain easy access to all transport services can be found to be reminiscent of ELF theory guidance through the Lingua Franca Core (guidance of, particularly, speakers from the Kachruvian Expanding Circle) as a way of helping learners gain comfortable intelligibility in all spoken Englishes. The postmodern effort of ELF theory to create a larger, plural English may seem impersonal and empty of (native) content, but as is the case with postmodern architecture, the new ‘cities’, the Lingua Franca Englishes mentioned below, can become fully identifiable through certain “symbols and images”; for example, the LFC and other constructs. The question remains, therefore, whether we are still at a phase of “aspirations” or of accomplished facts, and most of the chapters in this volume try to shed light on that issue.

Three decades before Richards’ personal reflections, language and culture were so closely linked that they were judged to be inseparably intertwined. Baker (2016: 72) considers this stance on language and culture as “essentialist”, which coincides with Richards’ (2003: 16) earlier description of the situation:

30 years ago the assumption was that teaching English was a politically neutral activity and acquiring it would bring untold blessings to those who succeeded in learning it. It would lead to educational and economic empowerment. English was regarded as the property of the English-speaking world, particularly Britain and the US. Native speakers of the language had special insights and superior knowledge about teaching it. ← 13 | 14 →

Reading studies such as Richards (2003) or later ones such as Baker (2016) shows that the picture has changed significantly today. Now that English is the language of globalization, international communication, commerce and trade, the media and pop culture, different motivations for learning it come into play. English is no longer viewed as the property of the English-speaking world but is an international commodity sometimes referred to as World English (WE), English as an International Language (EIL) or English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). The cultural values of Britain and the US are often seen as irrelevant to language teaching, except in situations where the learner has a pragmatic need for such information. The language teacher needs no longer be an expert on British and American culture and a literature specialist as well.


VI, 408
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2019 (March)
Intercultural Communication IC English Language Teaching ELT English as a Lingua Franca ELF
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2018. VI, 408 pp., 37 fig. b/w, 47 tables, 3 graphs

Biographical notes

Ignacio Guillén-Galve (Volume editor) Ignacio Vázquez-Orta (Volume editor)

Ignacio Guillén-Galve and Ignacio Vázquez-Orta (eds.) are Senior Lecturer and Full Professor, respectively, in the Department of English and German Studies of the University of Zaragoza (UZ), Spain. While Ignacio Guillén-Galve’s main research interest is English for Academic Purposes, his teaching has centred around the pronunciation of English for the BA in English Studies at UZ. He is the current Coordinator of the Academic English Course at UZ Graduate School. Professor Ignacio Vázquez-Orta’s research interests include Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis, Systemic Linguistics, Translation and Contrastive Studies (English-Spanish). He has recently been coordinating a research project on ELF (2012-2016), and he is interested in the use of ELF for professional and academic purposes, more specifically for legal purposes.


Title: English as a Lingua Franca and Intercultural Communication
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