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The English-as-a-lingua-franca approach

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English has spread so widely around the world that its native speakers are now outnumbered by its non-native speakers. Recent publications have shown that the dominance of English has led to severe disadvantages for non-Anglophones. Several options of language policy have been presented to find fair and democratic approaches to international communication. Their scope includes different variants of multilingualism, the limitation of the number of languages used in international communication, restriction to receptive skills, the introduction of a system of compensation, initiatives to revive an ancient language (e.g. Latin), and the use of an artificial language. The model English as a Lingua Franca, the idea that the English spoken by non-native speakers is a variety in its own right whose norms are established by its users instead of native speakers, is among these proposals. The paper discusses the extent to which this approach seems to be feasible. Despite its appeal among learners and speakers of English as a foreign language, a number of factors seem to hamper its chances of realization. These factors involve a complexity of issues, such as traditions in foreign language learning and teaching, the heterogeneity of lingua franca communication and psychological reservations.
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Keywords: English; foreign language learning; international communication; lingua franca; native speaker

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 17, 2010

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