LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING FORWARD: CHANGES AND CHALLENGES

Report
ENGLISH AS A LINGUA
FRANCA
Penny Ur
expanding circle
outer circle
inner
circle
Kachru, 1985
Probably between two and three billion
people speak English.
The majority use it as a foreign or second
language.
It is used for: academic purposes;
political negotiation; tourism; entertainment;
business and finance; information; personal
social interaction …
Most educated speakers of other
languages are at least bilingual.
A LINGUA FRANCA
The most important function of the English
language today is as a lingua franca not as
a native language.
A TYPICAL ENGLISH SPEAKER
Speaks English as a foreign/second
language;
Is at least bilingual (‘English-knowing
bilingualism’);
Speaks the standard international variety;
Is not interested in aspects of culture of
‘inner circle’ countries;
May never have visited an ‘inner-circle’
country, may not be particularly interested
in doing so;
Is skilled in communicative and
comprehension strategies.
WORLD STANDARD ENGLISH
There is rapidly developing an
‘international’ variety of English (‘World
Standard English’), distinct from ‘native’
varieties.
It has the basic standard grammar and
lexis.
But beyond the basics, some
international norms are evolving.
PRONUNCIATION
/hi: cən du:/
/hi: cæn du:/
I’m
I am
/ti:t∫ə/
/ti:t∫ər/
WHAT SOUNDS ARE ESSENTIAL IN WSE?
WHAT SOUNDS ARE NOT?
Question:
What mispronunciations lead to a
breakdown in communication? What
mispronunciations make no difference
to understanding?
(Jenkins, 2002)
RESULTS
The following items were found to be
essential for good understanding (a
selection):
/I/ versus /i:/ (‘i’ versus ‘ee’)
/p/, /t/, /k/ versus /b/, /d/, /g/
initial consonant clusters eg. strong
use of tonic stress e.g. He came by
TRAIN versus HE came by train.
The following items were found to be nonessential:
/ð/ and /θ/;
The schwa sound /ə/.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
We should place more stress on teaching
the items that lead to misunderstanding than
on the ones that don’t.
SPELLING
program
programme
color
colour
center
centre
organize
organise
VOCABULARY
Cheers!
Thanks!
queue
line
autumn
fall
flat
fortnight
lift
pavement
apartment
two weeks
elevator
sidewalk
GRAMMAR
I have / Do you
have?
I have got / Have
you got?
She just finished
She has just
finished
If I had…
If I would have …
We have been waiting We are waiting for
for an hour.
an hour.
Your name is Jenny,
isn’t it?
Your name is Jenny,
no?
Your name is Jenny,
right?
DISCOURSE
Fairly standard written dialect, more
varied spoken
Development of an ‘e-dialect’:
o informality of style (headings?
sentences? salutations?)
o short paragraphs, line spaces
o characteristic formatting: use of
capitals (‘shouting’), asterisks, repeated
punctuation, emoticons :-)
 The ‘save-a-keystroke’ principle:
o American spelling
o abbreviations [pls, B4N, CU, thanx,
fyi, CWOT]
o ‘close it up’ [startup, email]
o minimal punctuation and capitals
[london, i]
(Crystal, 2001)
In general:
‘Native’ dialect is not necessarily the
model
And not necessarily purely
American or British English.
Pronunciation
Comprehensible, clear, not
necessarily native
Spelling
Simpler, so normally American
Vocabulary
Universally comprehensible,
unambiguous, simple
Grammar
Mainly American (simpler)
Written, not spoken
Discourse
Mainly formal, conventional
Awareness of distinction between
informal and formal, and when each is
appropriate
Awareness of growing differences
between conventions of different
discourses
IMPLICATIONS
A. STANDARDS, GOALS AND MODELS
FOR TEACHING
If the standard is not a native speaker
dialect (British or American), then what is it?
If the goal of English teaching is not to
reach native-speaker competence, then
what is it?
If the model is not the native speaker,
then who is it?
Key concepts:
Lingua Franca
World Standard English /
International English
International comprehensibility and
acceptability
The proficient speaker / user of
English
B. THE NATIVE / NON-NATIVE ENGLISHSPEACHING TEACHER
The native-speaker English
teacher
May speak a more correct and
fluent English.
The non-native-speaker English
teacher
May speak a less correct and
fluent English.
Feels confident of own
knowledge of English.
May feel less confident of own
knowledge of English.
May speak an inappropriate
(native) variety of English.
Is likely to speak an appropriate
variety of English (WSE).
May not be familiar with
students’ L1 and culture.
Is familiar with students’ L1 and
culture.
Cannot serve as a role model.
Can serve as a role model.
Probably the whole issue of ‘native’ /
‘non-native’ is an irrelevant question
anyway.
What is important is that the teacher
should be:
a competent and fluent speaker of
(World Standard) English;
a good teacher;
fluent in the learners’ L1 and familiar
with the learners’ home culture.
C. INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE
Importance of genuinely intercultural
competence: i.e. not just ‘foreign’ versus
‘English-speaking’ cultures.
There is possibly evolving a ‘world
culture’ of international interaction, to match
‘World Standard English’.
D. COURSEBOOK CONTENT
The language: predominantly WSE
The cultural content: ‘source’; ‘Englishspeaking’; ‘international’
Scenarios: in international rather than
English-speaking locations.
Recordings: a mix of native and nonnative accents
More use of L1
E. THE SOURCE OF EXPERTISE
The relative number of EFL experts
coming from places outside the ‘core’
English speaking countries is rising.
There is a similar rise in the proportion of
home-designed EFL materials.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
English today has two major communicative
functions:
1.As the means of communication between its
native speakers within a ‘core’ English-speaking
country
2.As the means of international communication,
anywhere in the world: a Lingua Franca.
The second is predominant in the world today,
and it is the one on which we should focus in
our teaching.
There is in the process of development a
‘World Standard English’, based on:
– internationally acceptable lexis (very
large, but often domain-specific);
– grammatical rules based on
commonly accepted standards (mainly
American);
– pronunciation to some extent variable,
but has to be comprehensible.
The goals of English teaching are
therefore to enable our learners to reach
a high standard of comprehension and
self-expression in an English which will
be readily understood worldwide.
It is the proficient user of English as an
International Language who is the
appropriate model for our learners, rather
than a native speaker.
Learners need to learn ‘intercultural
competence’: enabled to recognize and
respect other cultural norms and
communicate effectively with their
owners.
Coursebooks should be based on the
source culture of the learners, moving
towards international culture(s).
Authoritative experts on English as a
Lingua Franca may or may not
themselves be originally native speakers;
but the geographical focus of such
expertise is increasingly the countries
where English is a second or foreign
language rather than the first.
THE END
Thank you for your attention

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