Describing and analyzing English as a Lingua Franca
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Researchers are becoming increasingly interested in responding to the effects of the English language’s viability as a Lingua Franca. English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is being used predominantly in communication from one non-native speaker to another, and descriptive studies are just beginning to emerge (Dewey 2007; Jenkins, 2000; Seidlhofer, 2004). This report offers a theoretical overview showing ELF’s increasing relevance, and reviews empirical studies that have investigated how ELF is manifesting in the field of language education. These empirical studies are gaining significant traction, specifically in relation to descriptive linguistics, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics (House, 2003; Mauranen, 2003). In order to investigate a formal description of ELF, recent empirical work is reviewed after two seminal articles were published that helped gain viability into ELF as a distinct research area (i.e. Seidlhofer, 2001; Mauranen, 2003). Such reviews of empirical studies through the use of corpora are not meant to distinguish ELF as a distinct variety of English, but to simply allow for a deep description of how ELF is being used currently. Also discussed are the developments to English language pedagogy and directions for future research as ELF scholars begin to re-conceptualize what is meant by language context and communication in ELF.