Connecting the global use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) to local practices: Attitudes and experiences of university students in Flanders

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Samenvatting

In response to the assumption that the widespread of English as a lingua franca has posed a threat to national languages and to multilingualism in Europe, House (2003) has made the positive case of ELF as a hybrid language for communication, calling for both individual and social perspectives to examine how English fulfils certain functions in human experiences. Other researchers are known to have endorsed the term ELF in a more radical fashion with the argument to establish ELF as a variety in its own right (Jenkins, 2000.; Jenkins, 2006, 2007; Seidlhofer, 2004; Seidlhofer, Breiteneder, & Pitzl, 2006). Following from these trends of advocacy of ELF, very recently a number of studies have started to investigate the educational and pedagogical implications of the concept of ELF by focusing on the teachers/educators' opinions on the role of ELF and on applying ELF in language teaching practices (Lai, 2008; Sifakis, 2009; Suzuki, 2010; Young & Walsh, 2010). Yet, it appears that there has been relatively little information about how the students experience and conceptualize the changing role of English as a global language in their social context of living and academic context of learning.

This paper is based on an on-going study that seeks to obtain the Flemish university language students' views on the role of English as a lingua franca through their daily experiences of engagement with English, both within and outside the university. Informed by various frameworks in ELF literature, the study aims to gain an understanding of the relation between ELF as a theoretical construct and ELF as a reality in students' lives in Flanders. The research instruments are questionnaire and focus group interviews. It is expected that results from this study will provide useful information for language educators to reflect on the goal and direction of teaching in order to take account of the development of English at both global and local levels.
Originele taal-2English
TitelABLA (Belgian Association of Applied Linguistics) Annual Congress, Facultés Universitaires de Saint-Louis, December 18: Brussels, Belgium.
StatusPublished - 2010

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