Finland, Helsinki

English as a Lingua Franca: Changing Language Practices

when 7 August 2018 - 23 August 2018
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 5 ECTS
fee EUR 990

English has become a global language of intercultural communication and is used worldwide as a contact language between people who do not share a common native language. Non-native speakers of English are increasingly using the language with each other in areas such as academia, business, diplomacy, sports and personal relationships. How does this new sociolinguistic situation develop, and how does it affect language practices and norms of language use?

Following Mauranen (2012), this course examines the phenomenon of English as a lingua franca (ELF) from three different but interrelated perspectives: cognitive, microsocial and macrosocial. We will start by looking at linguistic features of ELF and briefly discuss how cognitive properties of multilingual processing can explain them. Moving on to the microsocial perspective, the students will get a chance to observe ELF interaction in the private sphere as well as in the working life, paying attention to multilingual practices as well as problems of understanding and how to pre-empt them. At the macrosocial level, we will consider the various ways in which languages are policed – whether in the form of policy documents instigated by institutional authorities or by speakers monitoring and intervening in their own or each other’s language use in interaction/writing. We will conclude by taking an applied perspective on ELF and looking at its practical implications for teaching and assessment, among other professional fields. Each lecture topic will be further developed with students in a collaborative workshop format.

Course leader

Dr Niina Hynninen

Target group

The course is suitable for students at master’s and doctoral levels, as well as language professionals who have an interest in English studies or applied linguistics. We also welcome students who are studying in or are planning to apply for the Master’s Programme in English Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Course aim

Upon completion of the course, the students are expected to:

- be acquainted with the concept of ELF and its theoretical framework
- be able to demonstrate familiarity with research developments in the field of ELF
- have gained hands-on experience of working with authentic linguistic data and of applying different research methods, such as corpus linguistics, discourse analysis and conversation analysis
- be able to explain implications of the phenomenon of ELF for the future of English as well as its practical consequences, for example, in the field of education

Fee info

EUR 990: Degree and PhD students
EUR 1490: Professionals

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