ELF in electronically mediated intercultural communication

Authored by: Chittima Sangiamchit

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:


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The emergence of the Internet as the backbone of global communication in the twenty-first century has reinforced an interconnectedness between people across the globe with few boundaries. As a result of globalisation, English has become the most dominant language of communication online and an important means for wider communication among English users from different first languages and cultures. It is most often used as a commonly shared lingua franca of communication or ELF in these globalised transnational spaces (Vettorel, 2014). It serves as a linguistic resource to fulfil communication purposes of online users and involves diversified English(es) and cultures due to different linguistic and cultural resources brought into online communication by its multilingual and multicultural users. ELF and cultures through ELF are, therefore, constantly changed, adaptive, fluid and emergent resources that are negotiated and context dependent (Baker, 2009). Within ELF research, English has been investigated from both linguistic and cultural aspects in a range of different research domains, including in particular, higher education (Jenkins, 2014; Mauranen, 2012), and business (Ehrenreich, 2011). In online contexts, however, ELF research is still in its infancy (Jenks, 2013; Ke, 2012; Ke and Cahyani, 2014; Vettorel, 2014). This chapter aims to provide a review of research into electronically mediated communication and its relation to intercultural ELF usage. It introduces the term ‘electronically mediated intercultural communication’ (EMIC) and examines a particular channel of EMIC; social network sites (SNSs). The chapter then focuses on a discussion of how EMIC on SNSs relate to intercultural communication and ELF. An example of ELF use in a specific SNS, Facebook, is provided to illustrate linguistic and cultural variations in online electronic media.

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