When five words are not enough: A conceptual and terminological discussion of English as a lingua franca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this article is to (re)define key terminology in the study of English as a lingua franca (ELF). Although the diverse perspectives and ideological standpoints represented in competing definitions of terms is appreciated, a critical conversation on definition and interpretation of ELF and other related concepts is crucial in providing a more solid base for further inquiry in this area. Specifically, this study argues that ELF is a term that describes a function that English performs in multilingual contexts and posits that English as an international language refers to specialized cases of ELF found in international contexts. Furthermore, this study differentiates these terms from other related concepts, such as English as a second language and English as a foreign language, and discusses why conceptualizing ELF as a function, rather than a linguistic variety, is necessary in capturing the complexity and diversity found in English today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-30
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Multilingual Research Journal
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

Keywords

  • English as a lingua franca
  • English as an international language
  • English varieties
  • English worldwide
  • Sociolinguistics
  • World Englishes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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