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Welcome to ELF 11 – the 11th International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca, to be hosted at King’s College London

4th to 7th July 2018

(including a pre-conference teachers’ day on 4th July).

Anna Mauranen

ANNA MAURANEN is Professor and Research Director, and a former Vice-President at the University of Helsinki. Her research and publications include ELF, academic discourses, corpus linguistics, translation studies, and most recently modelling spoken language. She is co-editor of Applied Linguistics and formerly a founding co-editor of the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca. She has led several funded research projects, currently the largest being “Chunking in language: units of meaning and processing”. Many others have been concerned with corpora, changing English, and spoken and written ELF: above all the ELFA project and corpus (English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings), and the written WrELFA corpus. Recent books: Changing English. Global and local perspectives (2017, co-ed. with Filppula, Klemola &Vetchinnikova); Exploring ELF: Academic English shaped by non-native speakers (2012); English as a Lingua Franca – Studies and Findings (2009, co-ed. with Ranta); Linear Unit Grammar (with Sinclair 2006).

Title: Fuzziness in ELF

Abstract ELF as a changeable, unpredictable and fluid kind of language use has been emphasised by several scholars in the field (e.g. Seidlhofer 2011; Archibald, Cogo & Jenkins 2011; Baird 2013). It has sometimes been argued that it is hard, even impossible, therefore to pin it down in any description. Whether fluidity eschews description is debatable, but it certainly does not preclude analysis. Quite the contrary, ELF, with its manifest instability, requires approaches that embrace change, variability, and indeterminacy. This talk will look at indeterminacy in ELF from the view of fuzziness. The overall fuzziness in ELF cuts across macrosocial, microsocial and cognitive levels, even though many phenomena and processes at each are similar or shared across them. Strong contributors to fuzziness are multilingualism and language contact, dynamism, and different social and temporal scales.

Will Baker

WILL BAKER is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Englishes in Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of Southampton where he convenes the MA programme in Global Englishes. His research interests include English as a lingua franca (ELF), intercultural and transcultural communication, English language teaching and English medium instruction education. He has published and presented internationally in all these fields including as: co-editor of the ‘Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca’ (2018); author of the monograph ‘Culture and Identity through English as a Lingua Franca’ (De GruyterMouton, 2015); co-editor of the book series ‘Developments in English as Lingua Franca’ (De Gruyter Mouton); as well asnumerous articles in leading journals (e.g. TESOL Quarterly, Language and Intercultural Communication, Language Teaching, ELT Journal, Language Teaching Research and Journal of English as a Lingua Franca). His current research projects involve examinations of transcultural communication in social network communities, and exploring the relationship between English language learning and use and the development of Global/Intercultural Citizenship among international students (

Title: Transcultural communication and English as a lingua franca: new perspectives on language, culture and ‘intercultural’ communication

Abstract English as a lingua franca (ELF) is by definition a form of intercultural communication since it involves participants from different lingua-cultural backgrounds. There is, therefore, the potential for productive synergies between the two research fields particularly around the areas of language, culture, and community. However, the diversity of data from ELF research also leads us to question some commonly held assumptions in intercultural communication concerning the connections between languages, cultures and communities. The complexity and fluidity of communicative practices, documented in ELF research, and the range of cultural practices and representations constructed, suggest that relationships between named languages and cultures cannot be taken for granted. Instead, the links may be created in situ with emergent cultural practices and references which are neither part of any one culture or, crucially, necessarily in-between particular identifiable cultures. Thus, the traditional metaphor of ‘inter’ for intercultural communication is no longer adequate in conceptualising communicative practices where linguistic and cultural boundaries are moved through and across, rather than in-between. Such communication may be better approached as transcultural communication where borders are transcended, transgressed and in the process transformed. A transcultural communication perspective is, furthermore, commensurable with current ‘trans’ theories in applied linguistics, such as translanguaging, which emphasise the dynamism and fluidity of linguistic and other recourses in communication. Transcultural communication, and its links to translanguaging and transmodality, will be exemplified with data from a study of interactions in the virtual space of a social network site (SNS) community. Finally, implications for research into ELF, intercultural communication and applied linguistics in general will be explored. I will suggest that to account for the complexity of communicative practices in contemporary social spaces, we need transcultural and transdisciplinary, holistic approaches to language, communication and culture.

Lourdes Ortega

LOURDES ORTEGA is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She investigates second language development by adults through the lenses of usage-based linguistics, bilingualism research, and social justice. Originally from Spain, before moving to the USA in 1993 she was a teacher of Spanish at the Cervantes Institute in Athens, Greece. She has also taught English as a second language in the United States. Her recent articles have appeared in CALICO Journal, System, and in a forthcoming special issue in World Englishes. Her books include Understanding second language acquisition (2009, translated into Mandarin in 2016), and recent co-edited collections on The usage-based study of language learning and multilingualism (Georgetown University Press, 2016), Complexity Theory and language development: In celebration of Diane Larsen-Freeman (John Benjamins, 2017), and Usage-inspired L2 instruction: Researched pedagogy (John Benjamins, 2018). She is currently busy co-editing (with Annick De Houwer) The Handbook of Bilingualism for Cambridge University Press.

Title: Multilingualism and ELF: A (Mostly SLA-Informed) Outsider

Abstract Research into English as a lingua franca (ELF) has blossomed and thrived to maturity rapidly, ever since the book by Jenkins (2000) made ELF known to the rest of applied linguistics. A bold contribution of ELF has been to employ empirical means to assert the linguistic legitimacy of non-native speakers of English with no territorial or nativizing claims to the language and to liberate them from the straight jacket of native speaking norms. We now have a cohesive ELF research community, with key scholars who enjoy wide inside and outside recognition, and with its own journal, conference, handbook, and language corpora. While ELF was coming of age, another area of applied linguistics, second language acquisition (SLA), was undergoing fragmentation (in some accounts) or transformation (in other accounts). My own view of SLA – not necessarily shared by all in my field – is that the social turn of the late 1990s (Block, 2002) was greatly beneficial in eventually bringing about epistemological expansion (Atkinson, 2011), but that nativespeakerism survived largely untouched, much as Seidlhofer (2001) denounced of the entire field of applied linguistics. Gradually over the 2010s, however, more SLA researchers have been willing to suspend blind faith in nativeness and monolingualism as superior forms of linguistic competence, to the point that we may want to speak of a bi/multilingual turn being under way (Ortega, 2016). This development in SLA, albeit slow, is facilitated via research into crosslinguistic influence, which has shown that all languages of a bilingual, regardless of nativeness or proficiency, interact (Jarvis & Pavlenko, 2008). ELF researchers, too, seem to have pondered about multilingualism and how to incorporate it into ELF research programs (e.g., Cogo, 2012; Hülmbauer , 2013; Jenkins, 2015). In their case, this development is aided by connections to notions that are indebted to critical sociolinguistics, such as globalization, super-diversity, transnational flows, and hybridity, although with some influence as well from contemporary SLA approaches such as complexity theory and conversation analysis. Yet in the present times of Brexit and Trump, for SLA and perhaps even more so for ELF, a social justice turn may be needed next, in support of multilingualism and English-in-multilingualism for all, not only for the elites. Even though I am an outsider, I will try to explore possible inroads into multilingualism and social justice for ELF, using what I have learned from trying to wedge similar openings in my field of SLA.

Constant Leung

CONSTANT LEUNG is Professor of Educational Linguistics in the School of Education, Communication & Society, King’s College London. He is also a member of the Centre for Language Discourse and Communication within the College. Before taking up teaching positions in higher education he taught in schools and worked as advisory teacher and manager in local government. He was the founding Chair of the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (UK). He served as Treasurer of British Applied Linguistics Association (2001/3) and Chair of Research Committee, TESOL (2005/7). His research interests include education in ethnically and linguistically diverse societies, additional/second language curriculum and assessment, language policy and teacher professional development. Currently he serves as Joint Editor for Language Assessment Quarterly, Editor of Research Issues for TESOL Quarterly, and as a member of the Editorial Boards of Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Language and Education, and the Modern Language Journal. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK).

Title: Assessing ELF – Working with incommensurabilities

Abstract Conventionally standardised testing of English as an additional/second language proficiency tends to assume stable patterns and norms of language use, usually that of a putative variety of standard English. In contrast, the communicative use of ELF is characterised by formal and functional fluidity and variability. It is quite clear that the established paradigm in EAL/ESL assessment is not well equipped to deal with the inherent fluidity in ELF communication. In this talk I will first provide an account of the key concepts in psychometric testing that contribute to the difficulties standardised tests have in assessing communicative uses of ELF. After that I will explore possible alternative approaches that have the capacity to assess fluid and emergent communicative use of ELF. It will be argued that given the widespread use of ELF in the world today, there is an urgent need to develop assessment approaches that take account of situated language practices against the ever-present backdrop of multilingualism.

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