FRANCA POPPI Investigating ELF group membership: A case study focusing on The Baltic Times 93
FRANCA POPPI Investigating ELF group membership: A case study focusing on The Baltic Times 1. Introduction The growth of the use of English as the world’s primary language for international communication has been going on for several decades. The number of speakers keeps expanding, with native speakers of the ‘core’ varieties of British and American English far outnumbered1 by non-native speakers2. Nowadays the largest group of users of Eng- lish is formed by those to whom English serves, on a daily basis, as a ‘contact language’ (Firth 1996), namely as a useful instrument for communication that cannot be conducted in their mother tongues, in business contexts, in newspapers and other written media or in tele- vision programmes. Whether such developments are desirable or not has been much debated, as have the possible consequences of this unprecedented spread of one language. Debates have at first centered on practical issues of the worldwide use of English (Smith, 1987), and have turned afterwards to questions concerning the ethical and political implica- tions of the spread of the language (cf. House, 2003; Phillipson, 1992). The focus on moral concerns has touched off a longstanding contro- versy between the supporters of a monolithic model and the sup- porters of a pluralistic model, with the former advocating the per- 1 Crystal (2003) states that roughly only one out of every four users of English in the world is a native speaker. 2 The terms ‘native speakers’ and ‘non-native speakers’ are employed here with- out reference being...
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