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Global Interactions in English as a Lingua Franca

How written communication is changing under the influence of electronic media and new contexts of use

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Franca Poppi

This volume investigates the changes undergone by written communication in our globalized world as English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). The latter usually functions as a language for communication purposes, but also becomes a language for identification purposes. The study takes into account different web-genres: from the replication of existing genres in other media to cybergenres, whose key evolutionary force is the progressive exploitation of the new functionalities afforded by the new medium. The variety of the contexts of use has made it possible to consider different ELF-using communities of practice, whose members adopt ELF and adapt it to express individual, national and professional identities in international interactions. The analysis focuses on lexicogrammatical innovations, which inevitably change in accordance with the different contexts of use, as well as on the communicative strategies underpinning these changes.

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Part One: Communicating in ELF

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37 Part One Communicating in ELF 38 39 II. EFL Learners or ELF Users1? A number of studies carried out in different domains of social con- tact, particularly those of business, education (both school and uni- versity settings), tourism, politics, technology and the media, have clearly proved that NNSs are perfectly able to negotiate their own identity and establish themselves as language users rather than as language learners, when involved in intercultural encounters. Tak- ing into account a small corpus including thirteen interviews and a panel discussion recorded from BBC World and CNN International, this chapter will claim that, in international encounters, when En- glish constitutes the main or only means of communication and the primary preoccupation is mutual intelligibility, it is more appropri- ate to refer to ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) users rather than EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners. 1. The rationale of the study In its early stages, research on the communication practices of NNSs of English tended to focus on NNS-NNS interactions (Firth 1996; Jenkins 2000). However, at present ELF research does not exclude NSs of English. In fact, the present analysis aims to provide evidence of how the ‘contact language’ used by the NNSs who interact with NNSs and NSs alike can actually promote successful communication, qualify- ing them as efficient language users, rather than simply as learners. 1 Proponents of ELF reject the notion that it is a form of ‘deficient’ English and describe ELF speakers as users of English, not...

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