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EIL, ELF, Global English: Teaching and Learning Issues

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Cesare Gagliardi and Alan Maley

How can you teach the English language to global English speakers? Can English be taught as an international language? Is it worth teaching? Isn’t it more proper and profitable to learn a standard variety of English? How realistic and useful is the identification of an EIL/ELF variety? Can an EIL/ELF standard be identified? These are some of the questions the present volume has addressed with the contribution of some of the most qualified scholars in the field of English linguistics. The book is divided into four sections. The first part deals with the definition of English as an international language and English as a lingua franca. Section two takes six different teaching issues into consideration. The third section examines some learning issues and the last part of the volume debates the relationship between teacher and student in an English as a lingua franca environment.

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ALAN MALEY The Reality of EIL and the Myth of ELF 25

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ALAN MALEY The Reality of EIL and the Myth of ELF 1. Introduction One of the current concepts claiming the attention of both researchers and practitioners is what has come to be known as ELF – English as a Lingua Franca. Unfortunately, there seems to be more than one defini- tion of what ELF is. On the one hand, there is the relatively ‘strong’ version, promoted energetically by Jenkins (2000, 2007) and Seidlhofer (2001), which tends to emphasize the notion of ELF as an ‘emerging’ or ‘emergent’ variety or varieties. On the other, the term seems to be used virtually interchangeably with English as an International Language (EIL), (Kirkpatrick 2007, Rubdy and Saraceni 2006), where the em- phasis is placed more on the diversity and complexity of the process of using English internationally. The ELF phenomenon arises from the reality, and the realisation, that English has become, for better or worse, the major language of international communication. Both in terms of numbers of speakers and in the expansion of contexts of use (geographical and functional) Eng- lish far outstrips any potential rivals. It is widely claimed that there are now more non-native users of English in the world than there are na- tives, with all that implies for the loss of dominance by the metropoli- tan users of English. The emergence of alternatives to standard metropolitan varieties of English in the post-colonial societies of Kachru’s Outer Circle (Kachru 1992) has long been recognised, of course, and the study of varieties of...

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