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Lingua Franca English

The Role of Simplification and Transfer


Yvonne Dröschel Shaham

Questions of how to access and analyze the use of English as a global language are central to the study of the continuing spread of English as a vehicle of cross-cultural communication. The present book explores the relationship between the functions and forms of English as a Lingua Franca, and introduces the concept of Lingua Franca English to deal with the systematic differences between national native varieties of English and the non-native varieties which have developed relatively recently. The investigation of the sociolinguistic and linguistic processes involved in the development of Lingua Franca English focuses on Switzerland, and is carried out by means of a detailed comparative linguistic analysis of a large amount of data obtained from written and spoken English produced by Swiss speakers. The result is a detailed and critical description of current issues affecting the study of English as an international language, and a thorough investigation of the ongoing processes resulting from the interaction of Swiss people with different language backgrounds in shaping the nature of the English spoken in Switzerland. By examining the characteristics of English as it is used in Switzerland, light is shed on the diachronic problem of the focusing mechanisms involved in the growth of non-native varieties of English and processes of second language acquisition generally.


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Part IIIThe empirical analyses


149 Part III The Empirical Analyses 150 151 8. The SNSF Project Language Contact and Focusing: The Linguistics of English in Switzerland Since the present study is based on a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) the following will provide a detailed description of this project as well as of the data that was collected by the members of the research group and the methodology applied in the analyses (cf. also Rosenberger 2005). The SNSF project Language Contact and Focusing: The Lin- guistics of English in Switzerland, which concentrated on the actual use of English in Switzerland, was part of a wider research project on the status of English in Switzerland. It was preceded by a pilot re- search project called English in Switzerland which was organised by Prof. Dr. Peter Trudgill of the University of Fribourg and Prof. Dr. Richard J. Watts of the University of Berne. The project aimed to establish the uses of and attitudes towards English in Switzerland as well as the ways in which the relationship between the different lin- guistic groups in Switzerland might be affected by the use of English within the country. The pilot project addressed the following ques- tions (cf. ): • What kinds of contacts do Swiss people have with English? • Where do these contacts take place? • How frequent are these contacts? • With whom and for what purposes? • What attitudes towards English are prevalent in Switzerland? • Is English used as a lingua franca? The results of the project, which...

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