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ERIC Number: EJ1121259
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2191-611X
The Eye of the Beholder: Is English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings a Monolingual or Multilingual Practice?
Schaller-Schwaner, Iris
Language Learning in Higher Education, v1 n2 p423-446 Nov 2012
This paper derives from an ethnographically oriented study of the emergence of English in innovative disciplinary speech events at a French-German bilingual university in Switzerland. From the outside viewed as dissent from the university's brand bilingualism, the use of English as a lingua franca enabled the multilingual "agents of change" to achieve their own goals. In one context, English was the only common language. It enabled the community of practice to function in its international composition and to manage the disciplinary socialisation of doctoral students. In another context, English was a new common denominator that permitted members of a formerly linguistically segregated department to sustain disciplinary communication beyond the language boundary and to build a visible community of practice through and for the use of English. While ten years of burgeoning research have made English as a Lingua Franca a descriptive reality it is still seen by some as dissent from multilingual ideals instead of as mediating multilingualism. This contribution explores what "agents of change" themselves have to say about their use of English as embedded in institutional bi- and individual multilingualism. Do users of English have a (self-critical or confident) ELFA (English as a Lingua Franca in academic settings) awareness? How do they position themselves as multilingual users of English? Are there differences between those who have already established ELFA as part of their repertoire and those that are beginning to do so? Supported by theoretical arguments and some circumstantial evidence, a case is made for regarding ELFA as a multilingual practice.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Switzerland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A