Repositioning English and multilingualism in English as a Lingua Franca

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Abstract

In the relatively few years since empirical research into English as a Lingua Franca began being conducted more widely, the field has developed and expanded remarkably, and in myriad ways. In particular, researchers have explored ELF from the perspective of a range of linguistic levels and in an ever-increasing number of sociolinguistic contexts, as well as its synergies with the field of Intercultural Communication and its meaning for the fields of Second Language Acquisition and English as a Foreign Language. The original orientation to ELF communication focused heavily, if not exclusively, on form. In light of increasing empirical evidence, this gave way some years later to an understanding that it is the processes underlying these forms that are paramount, and hence to a focus on ELF users and ELF as social practice. It is argued in this article, however, that ELF is in need of further retheorisation in respect of its essentially multilingual nature: a nature that has always been present in ELF theory and empirical work, but which, I believe, has not so far been sufficiently foregrounded. This article therefore attempts to redress the balance by taking ELF theorisation a small step further in its evolution.

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