Chinese English as a lingua franca

An ideological inquiry

Authored by: Ying Wang

The Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138855328
eBook ISBN: 9781315717173
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315717173.ch12

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Abstract

The momentum of the spread of English has brought to the fore the role of English as a global lingua franca used by and between speakers of different first languages (L1s), who are increasingly exposed to intercultural encounters due to the on-going globalisation. While globalisation ‘forces sociolinguistics to unthink’ languages on the basis of boundaries (Blommaert 2010: 1), the research into English as a lingua franca (ELF) goes beyond territoriality and looks into multilingual and multicultural practices where English plays a crucial role in interaction (e.g. Jenkins 2015a; Mauranen 2012; Seidlhofer 2011). Geographical boundaries that were the cornerstone of sociolinguistic inquiry become irrelevant in the analysis of ELF data, which focuses on how ELF users exploit various resources available to them in order to cope with the international communication contexts in which they participate (e.g. Baker 2015; Cogo and Dewey 2012; Jenkins 2015a, 2015b; Seidlhofer 2011). This is in line with the scholarly interest in trans-lingual and trans-cultural turn in a wider sociolinguistic discipline. As Blommaert (2010) points out, globalisation has impacts on sociolinguistic issues and requires a perspective shift from language-in-place to language-in-motion. His view of language as a mobile resource resonates with the concept of ELF, which acknowledges the dynamics and adaptability of English in often transient multicultural encounters. The conception of ELF challenges the traditional link between language and geographical boundaries and draws scholarly attention to the practice of ELF in what Pennycook (2007) describes as ‘locality’. Correspondingly, the research into ELF supports the legitimacy of Englishes in intercultural practices, for example, business ELF and academic ELF. The shift to focus on ‘language as local practice’ (Pennycook 2007) thus offers ground for the understanding of the connection through ELF practice between speakers of different L1s, and points to the deterritorialisation of ELF (Seidlhofer 2011).

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