Unit 1: Defining English
This unit introduces the idea of alternative monolithic and plurilithic conceptions of English.
- 1.0 Introduction
- 1.1 Monolithic vs Plurilithic Concepts
- 1.1.1 Monolithic Concepts of Language
- 1.1.2 Plurilithic Concepts of Language
- 1.2 ‘Standard English’
- 1.2.1 ‘Standard English’: History
- 1.2.2 ‘Standard English’: Beliefs
- 1.2.3 Advantages and Disadvantages of ‘Standard English’ for ELT
- 1.3 Rules of English
- 1.3.1 The ambiguity of the word rule
- 1.3.2 Rules of English: The Monolithic View
- 1.3.3 Rules of English: The Plurilithic View
- 1.4 Four Dimensions of Monolithism
- 1.5 Check Your Understanding
- 1.6 Reflect and Discuss
Unit 2: Using English
This unit explores the plurilithic usage of English in diverse global settings.
- Unit 2: Using English
- 2.1 Introducing Lingua Franca Usage
- 2.2.1 Native speaker Variation
- 2.2.2 Native speakers: Accommodation
- 2.3 Englishes in the British Isles
- 2.4 World Englishes
- 2.4.1 Englishes in Your Part of The World
- 2.4.2 Owning a language (Part 1)
- 2.5 ELF
- 2.5.1 Intelligibility
- 2.5.2 ELF in Your Part of The World
- 2.6 Translanguaging with English
- 2.7 Check Your Understanding
- 2.8 Reflect and Discuss
Unit 3: Learning English
This unit discusses how English is learned as a first or additional language.
- Unit 3: Learning English
- 3.1 First Language Acquisition
- 3.2 Back to Rules
- 3.2.1 Rules as Patterns in the Mind (Part 1)
- 3.2.2 Rules as Social Markers
- 3.2.3 Rules as Mental Representations
- 3.2.4 Rules in Schools
- 3.2.5 Rules as Patterns in the Mind (2)
- 3.3 Models and Targets
- 3.4 Learning Contexts
- 3.5 Owning a Language (Part 2)
- 3.6 Learners and Users
- 3.7 Check Your Understanding
- 3.8 Reflect and Discuss
Unit 4: Teaching English
This unit examines the teaching implications of plurilithic conceptions of English.
Unit 5: Changing English
This unit suggests ways to share your learning on the course with others.
- Unit 5: Changing English
- 5.1 The Challenge
- 5.2 Changing Learners’ Beliefs About English
- 5.3 Changing Teaching Colleagues’ Beliefs About English
- 5.4 Changing Policy-Makers’ Beliefs About English
- 5.5 Changing the Public’s Beliefs About English
- 5.6 Check Your Understanding
- 5.7 Reflect and Discuss
- Course Finish
ELF is the use of English between speakers of different first languages
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is the use of English between speakers of different first languages. The following video explains how increasing numbers of L2 English learners become L2 English users in transnational, multilingual, and intercultural ELF interactions, and how this shapes their language resources.
Fig. 2.9 English as a Lingua Franca
Early attempts by applied linguists to deal with the diversity of ELF concentrated on formal features, especially pronunciation and grammar. Some scholars originally conceptualised ELF as a distinct set of forms, attempting to identify those features that were optimal for teaching purposes (e.g. Jenkins, 2002) and making a case for describing those that were most commonly employed in successful ELF interaction (Seidlhofer, 2001). The main criterion used to specify the forms of ELF was that of mutual intelligibility between users of different L1s.
Here are some features of the kinds of Englishes you might hear in ELF scenarios, placed in the mouths of fictional speakers. Half are listed by Jenkins (2002) as ‘acceptable’ pronunciation features in ELF interactions, because they proved less likely to cause misunderstanding than other features in her study. The other half led to communication problems, so are not preferred. Which do you think are acceptable, and which are not preferred?
- 1. A Chilean who pronounces live the same way as leave.
- 2. A Brit who pronounces mar without the final ‘r’ sound (like Ma).
- 3. A Malaysian who pronounces milk with the ‘lk’ the same as book without the ‘b’ (‘miook‘).
- 4. A Thai who pronounces tactful without a ‘t’ sound in the middle (rhyming with sackful).
- 5. A Belgian who pronounces they with the initial consonant as a ‘d’ sound (like day).
- 6. An Egyptian who pronounces water like warder (but without the ‘r’ sound).
- ● The vowel length contrast was found to be important for intelligibility in Jenkins’ study, so the native speaker vowel length distinction is preferred.
- ● The (distinctively UK) ‘non-rhotic’ pronunciation, without the ‘r’ after the vowel, was found to be more likely to lead to misunderstanding, so is not preferred.
- ● The vowel-like pronunciation of ‘l’ before a consonant caused no problems, so is acceptable.
- ● The omission of consonants in consonant clusters was found to be acceptable, so long as they follow NS norms.
- ● The substitution of the ‘th’ sound with ‘d’ or ‘z’ (for words like they) or with ‘t’ or ‘s’ (for words like think) was found to be acceptable.
- ● The (distinctively US) ‘d’-like pronunciation of ‘t’ between vowels was found to lead to misunderstandings, so is not preferred.
Recommendations have been made about what forms of English to teach in ELT classrooms on the basis of such intelligibility studies. But more recent research on ELF (see Seidlhofer, 2011) stresses that more important than the forms of English used in ELF contexts are the ways they are used in negotiation for meaning by speakers and hearers in interaction, often as part of part of a multilingual repertoire (see Jenkins, 2015 and 2.6 below).