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English as a Lingua Franca and Its Implications Essay

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2021

Introduction

English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is a topic that is relatively well-covered by recently published literature. This phenomenon is rather widespread, especially in education, due to its ability to facilitate instruction (Yao, Garcia & Collins, 2019). However, it is also associated with multiple challenges. Therefore, both the positive and negative aspects and implications of ELF need to be taken into account when considering ELF use in language teaching.

Many recent studies investigate ELF, which may be the result of the widespread nature of the phenomenon. As a result, it is relatively easy to find its definitions. Most commonly, ELF refers to the use of English in multilanguage (and multicultural) groups that do not share any language (Jenkins, 2015; Yao et al., 2019). The goal is to enable or facilitate communication; ELF is supposed to be the common language that all the involved people can utilize.

Additionally, the use of English by non-native speakers who choose this option is also termed ELF (Jenkins, 2015). ELF is a good choice for multilanguage groups since English is very widespread; in fact, the term “linguistic imperialism” can be used as a reference to the contribution of colonization to this trend (Yao et al., 2019, p. 210). However, ELF is not always viewed as a positive phenomenon; its benefits and negative implications can be considered (Knapp, 2015; Yao et al., 2019). As for the areas of use, the term (and ELF itself) can be employed in education, public administration, and various working environments. Among other things, ELF can be integrated into language teaching.

Main body

The implications of ELF for language teaching are rather numerous, but several key outcomes can be noted. On the one hand, the use of a single, common language for educational instruction facilitates the process. This way, educational institutions can accept many transnational students, offer them important services, and also limit education expenditures, which may make them more accessible and competitive in the educational market (Yao et al., 2019). Therefore, ELF, as well as other types of uniformity, has its benefits for institutions and students, and they need to be considered by ELF educators.

However, the linguistic hegemony of ELF also has certain negative effects. Certain evidence may indicate reduced academic achievement associated with ELF (Yao et al., 2019). Yao et al. (2019) highlight the fact that the evidence is conflicting and that ELF issues may be attributed to inefficient ELF implementation. Still, the problem is noteworthy, especially for students who are not fluent speakers.

Other difficulties for transnational students include the stress and additional workload associated with learning ELF, linguistic and cultural barriers, and problems in communicating and connecting with professors (Knapp, 2015; Yao et al., 2019). Research also suggests that the common belief of the simplicity of English is not fully supported by practice or theory (Knapp, 2015). Therefore, neglecting the challenges of ELF is unlikely to be helpful to an ELF classroom.

As a personal statement, it can be proposed that ELF is a rather efficient solution, but its challenges need to be taken into account. ELF use in education appears to be justified by modern educational standards and the situation in the educational market. Furthermore, the idea of teaching the English language with ELF has its merits (Knapp, 2015). However, the negative features of ELF remain a major issue, and they require individual, tailored, diverse solutions that depend on students’ needs.

Conclusion

To summarize, ELF is a logical consequence of the ubiquity of English, and it is predominantly employed for convenience and improvement of communication. It is capable of achieving these outcomes, which makes it exceptionally valuable, but in many environments, including educational ones, people can struggle with linguistic and cultural barriers. As a result, for successful ELF language teaching, assisting struggling students is a primary concern.

References

Jenkins, J. (2015). Repositioning English and multilingualism in English as a Lingua Franca. Englishes In Practice, 2(3), 49-85. Web.

Knapp, K. (2015). English as an international lingua franca and the teaching of intercultural communication. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 4(1), 173 – 189. Web.

Yao, C., Garcia, C., & Collins, C. (2019). English as lingua franca: Exploring the challenges and opportunities of English language on Vietnamese graduate student learning. Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education, 4, 209-225. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, July 6). English as a Lingua Franca and Its Implications. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/english-as-a-lingua-franca-and-its-implications/

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"English as a Lingua Franca and Its Implications." IvyPanda, 6 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/english-as-a-lingua-franca-and-its-implications/.

1. IvyPanda. "English as a Lingua Franca and Its Implications." July 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/english-as-a-lingua-franca-and-its-implications/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "English as a Lingua Franca and Its Implications." July 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/english-as-a-lingua-franca-and-its-implications/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'English as a Lingua Franca and Its Implications'. 6 July.

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