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English as a Lingua Franca in Cross-cultural Immigration Domains

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Maria Grazia Guido

This book explores the cognitive and communicative processes involved in the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) within cross-cultural specialized contexts where non-native speakers of English – i.e. Western experts and non-Western migrants – interact. The book argues that the main communicative difficulties in such contexts are due precisely to the use of ELF, since it develops from the non-native speakers’ transfer of their native language structures and socio-cultural schemata into the English they speak. Transfer, in fact, allows non-native speakers to appropriate, or authenticate, those English semantic, syntactic, pragmatic and specialized-discourse structures that are linguistically and conceptually unavailable to them. It follows that there are as many ELF varieties as there are communities of non-native speakers authenticating English.
The research questions justifying the ethnographic case studies detailed in this book are: What kind of cognitive frames and communicative strategies do Western experts activate in order to convey their culturally-marked knowledge of specialized discourse – by using their ELF varieties – to non-Westerners with different linguistic and socio-cultural backgrounds? What kind of power asymmetries can be identified when non-Westerners try to communicate their own knowledge by using their respective ELF varieties? Is it possible to ultimately develop a mode of ELF specialized communication that can be shared by both Western experts and non-Western migrants?
The Author: Maria Grazia Guido is Professor of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Salento, Italy, where she is also Director of the Master’s Course in ‘Cross-cultural Language Mediation in Immigration and Asylum Contexts’. She holds a Ph.D. in English Applied Linguistics from the University of London, Institute of Education. Her research interests are in cognitive-functional linguistics applied to intercultural communication and specialized discourse analysis. Her monographs include The Acting Reader (1999), The Imaging Reader (2005), Mediating Cultures (2004) and Register and Dialect in an Integrated Model of European English (1999).