Edited By Karlfried Knapp and Christiane Meierkord
The shape of things to come? Some basic questions about English as a lingua franca (Barbara Seidlhofer)
The shape of things to come? Some basic questions about English as a lingua franca Barbara Seidlhofer Introduction: 'English' as a globallingua franca 'English', whatever may be meant by this designation, is the language in which most lingua franca communication worldwide is now taking place. This predominance is weIl documented (cf. e.g. Crystal 1997, Graddol 1997). Although, as these authors argue, this predominance may weIl turn out to be a temporary one, maybe for approximately the next 50 years, for the time being the global use of English is still on the increase, and markedly so (cf. e.g. Ammon 1996 for the European Union).l The reaction to this state of affairs among the population at large and govemment agencies covers the whole spectrum from enthusiasm to rejection and counter-offensive. Among academics, however, it seems fair to say that attitudes are mainly (though by no means exclusively) negative, with calls for resistance to the hegemony of English gaining considerable momentum over the last decade or so (e.g. Canagarajah 1999, Pennycook 1994, 1998, Phillipson 1992, Smith and Forman 1997). This criticalliterature includes treatments of historical, cultural, ecological, educational, socio-political and psychological issues, obviously with a good deal of overlap among these areas. In both the areas of language use and 1 In this paper, the discussion of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) will be limited to contexts where English is a foreign language (Kachru's (1992) Expanding Circle), not a second language or indigenised (= Outer Circle) variety. It should be emphasized,...
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