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Identities in and across Cultures


Paola Evangelisti Allori

This volume is a collection of empirical studies investigating the ways and means through which culturally-shaped identities are manifested in and through discourse in documents and texts from multiple spheres of social action. It also looks at possible ways in which understanding and acceptance of diverse cultural identities can be moulded and developed through appropriate education.
Language being one of the most evident and powerful ‘markers’ of cultural identity, discourse and text are sites where cultures are both constructed and displayed and where identities are negotiated. The approaches to the analysis of culture and identity adopted here to account for the multifaceted realisations of cultural identities in the texts and documents taken into consideration span from multimodality, to discourse and genre analysis, to corpus linguistics and text analysis. The volume then offers a varied picture of approaches to the scientific enquiry into the multifaceted manifestations of identity in and across national, professional, and disciplinary cultures.
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English as a Lingua Franca: Negotiating Identity in Cross-cultural Encounters between Native and Non-native Speakers: Franca Poppi



English as a Lingua Franca: Negotiating Identity in Cross-cultural Encounters between Native and Non-native Speakers

1. Introduction

The extraordinary spread1 of the English language around the world has made it the primary means of world-wide communication. This implies that most interactions in English occur among non-native speakers in non-native speaking contexts, with English functioning as a “contact language” (Firth 1996), chosen by persons who share neither a mother tongue nor a common culture.

One consequence of the global predominance of English in the last few decades is that today non-native speakers of English far outnumber its native speakers. More precisely, as pointed out by Seidlhofer (2005: 339) only one out of every four users of English in the world is a native speaker of the language: Nonetheless, native speakers are still regarded as custodians over what is acceptable usage, with non-native speakers often being regarded as ‘learners’ forever striving to reach native-speaking proficiency and not granted the status of language users in their own right.

The aim of the present paper is to provide a characterization of how non-native speakers negotiate their own identity and try to establish themselves as language users rather than as language learners, on occasion of cross-cultural encounters. Taking into account a series of interviews and a panel discussion recorded from BBC World and ← 211 | 212 → CNN International, the study will claim that, in international encounters, when English constitutes the main or only means...

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