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Hugo BOWLES  (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

English-medium instruction: Myths, models and the challenge of ELF.

“English-medium instruction” (EMI) is the name given to the use of the English language in universities to teach academic subjects in countries where the majority of the population does not have English as a first language. This paper will focus on the many challenges facing lecturers and examiners working on English-taught programmes (ETP’s) and the role of language experts in supporting them. It will explore models of the role of a lingua franca in EMI teaching, using examples from the history of English as well as recent data from lectures and oral examinations. The paper will also examine the insights and limits of ELF research in determining the belief systems of EMI lecturers and examiners and their decision-making regarding materials, methods and their own English usage. The complex task of language experts and policymakers in understanding and improving the quality of EMI lecturing and assessment will then be assessed. It will be argued that quality control is not so much a question of the kind of English being used during ETP’s but of how it is used. The paper will conclude by outlining the complex skill-set that language experts supporting ETP’s will require, of which an ELF-orientation to EMI is clearly an important part.

Hugo BOWLES is Associate Professor of English Language at the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. His research interests cover many areas of applied linguistics and language education, particularly English for specific purposes, English as a lingua franca, and literary stylistics. His monograph Storytelling and Drama was awarded the 2012 Book Prize for Linguistics by the European Society for the Study of English and with Alessia Cogo he recently coedited the Palgrave collection International Perspectives on Teaching English as a lingua franca. He is currently researching the role of ELF in oral examinations in EMI courses.


Laura CENTONZE (University of Salento)

Analysing ELF in migration encounters pragmatically by means of semi-automated software.

The adoption of English as a Lingua Franca (henceforth ELF; cf. Seidlhofer 2001; Guido 2008) for mutual understanding by and among interactants with different lingua-cultural backgrounds has become a widespread and well-documented phenomenon and scholars in the field have focused their attention on numerous aspects of its use (business transactions; attitudes of speakers; Facebook interactions; pedagogy; sociolinguistics; discourse cohesion; cf. Cogo et al., Christiansen 2013; Centonze 2013, 2015c, 2016b, forthcoming). The present paper illustrates a PhD research project (Centonze, forthcoming) aimed at introducing a novel approach to spoken discourse in ELF which combines corpus pragmatics (Aijmer and Rühlemann 2015; cf. Aijmer 2002, 2013; Anderson and Corbett 2009) - a relatively new research area in the field of language and discourse studies - with the most recent techniques of quantitative/qualitative analysis and corpus annotation by means of semi-automated software. More specifically, the PhD project focuses on the annotation of speech acts from an ELF perspective and on the analysis of speech acts in their frequencies and collocations in a study corpus by means of DART (the Dialogue Annotation Research Tool v 1.1, Weisser 2015), i.e. a research tool which, among other things, includes the functions of both POS (Part-Of-Speech) tagging and pragmatic annotation of spoken discourse. The interest in speech act annotation in the present PhD research project takes as a bedrock for analysis Austin’s (1962) and Searle’s (1975) speech act taxonomy and a critical review of it, which highlights both strengths and weaknesses of such an approach with a consequent need for the implementation of a new categorization system which would be fit for the purposes of the analysis of speech acts in a corpus in English as a Lingua Franca in migration encounters; hence, in the present research project speech acts are not perceived as pre-constructed categories on which to base further studies on discourse but rather undergo a process of re-semanticization, re-formulation as well as re-contextualization within the framework of a corpus-driven approach applied to ELF. The corpus which is being taken into consideration is an under-construction corpus which will be referred to as the ELF MiDo Corpus (English as a Lingua Franca in MIgration DOmains corpus) and consists of over 50,000 words of conversation between asylum seekers and intercultural mediators / visa consultancy service providers, in both symmetrical and asymmetrical (i.e. social-networking) contexts. All the different corpus interviews and interactions are transcribed according to a basic mark-up format (.XML) which proved to be a necessary condition for the whole corpus to be properly scanned for analysis through the DART interface.

Laura CENTONZE is a PhD candidate in English applied linguistics at the Università del Salento and the University of Vienna. In the past few years, she was a Lecturer in English language and translation for the degree courses in Engineering, Archaeology and Economics. She graduated with honours in Literary Translation in 2011 and holds two post-graduate masters, respectively in European Translators (Vistula University, Poland) and in Intercultural Linguistic Mediation in Asylum-seeking Contexts (Università del Salento). She has also been the recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Italian Foreign Office and the Department of Education and Science Ireland at University College Dublin. Her main interests include intercultural mediation, corpus pragmatics and the exploration of new research methodologies for the analysis of spoken discourse in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in migration institutional encounters.


Maurizio GOTTI (University of Bergamo)

English as a lingua franca in the academic world: Trends and dilemmas.

In recent years, there has been a great acceleration of the moves towards the globalisation of socio-cultural and communicative practices. The phenomenon of globalisation has strongly favoured English, which has become the preferred medium for international com­munication in many contexts. This spread of English as a lingua franca has had relevant implications in the field of English used for specific purposes (ESP), where the need for a common language is particularly felt for the development of specialised communication at a global level.

It is the aim of this paper to investigate the present globalising trends in a specific field of ESP, i.e. in the academic world, focusing in particular on their main implications for language research and education, highlighting both its recent trends but also the main dilemmas that this great development has aroused.

The first part of the paper will explo­re the globalising effects of the use of English as a lingua franca in the world of academia and the complex nature of its linguistic realisations, highlighting both homogenising and localising trends. The data presented in this part originate from recent research projects on identity and culture in academic discourse whose data show that the (native or non-native) Anglophone textual realisations are clearly influenced by their authors’ cultural allegiance to their linguistic, professional, social, or national reference groups.

The second part of the paper is devoted to the analysis of another phenomenon which is quite topical in the academic context at a global level, i.e. the use of English as a medium of instruction in higher education in many non-English-speaking countries. The implementation of these ‘international’ courses have opened up new opportunities for learning the English discourses relating to the specialised disciplines taught, but have also aroused dilemmas connected with language proficiency and the level of content competence acquired. These issues will be investigated with reference to experiences and research projects carried out in various European countries in the last few years.

Maurizio GOTTI is Professor of English Language and Translation, Head of the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Director of the Research Centre on Specialized Languages (CERLIS) at the University of Bergamo. His main research areas are the features and origins of specialized discourse (Robert Boyle and the Language of Science, 1996; Specialized Discourse: Linguistic Features and Changing Conventions, 2003; Investigating Specialized Discourse, 2011). He is also interested in English as a Lingua franca, English syntax, English lexicology and lexicography, and in the History of the English language. He is a member of the Editorial Board of national and international journals, and edits the Linguistic Insights series for Peter Lang.


Enrico GRAZZI (University of Rome 3)

ELF in the English classroom: Great ideas and wrenching open questions.

Research in the field of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has been inherently connected to studies in the broad areas of Applied Linguistics and English language teaching (ELT) ever since the unresolved academic controversy on the nature of English as a global language started in the early eighties. So far, several research projects have been carried out to enhance ELF-informed pedagogy and incorporate the use of ELF into the English syllabus through innovative teaching/learning practices (e.g. Bowles & Cogo, 2015; Gagliardi & Maley, 2010; Grazzi 2013; Vettorel, 2015). However, even though a shift in perspective has been advocated in order to reconceptualise the traditional approach to ELT (e.g. Lopriore, 2010), this transition poses challenging open questions for discussion, including: Should any language model be provided in language education? How are "errors" going to be distinguished from creative forms of ELF? How are teachers supposed to behave when deviations from the adopted language model take place? Do learners tend to appropriate and adapt English to their linguacultural identity, or is it the reverse: they adapt their L1 as a way of using English? Because ELF is not an encoded variety of English, but rather a context-bound variable way of using it (Jenkins, 2011), how should the principle of conformity to the native-speaker model be reformulated for the assessment of ELF?

The aim of this talk is to focus on these queries and stimulate a discussion to provide possible answers.

Enrico GRAZZI is Associate Professor of English at the University of ‘Roma Tre’, Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, where he teaches English for the degree course in Foreign Languages and Cultures. His main interests are: English as a lingua franca (ELF), educational linguistics, and sociocultural theory (SCT). His main research projects are based on a Vygotskian approach to second language development that incorporates ELF theory and Network-based Language Teaching (NBLT). His field research is mainly concerned with English language teaching (ELT) and the implementation of innovative learning activities like fanfiction and intercultural telecollaboration. His main publication associated with these areas of research is the book: The Sociocultural Dimension of ELF in the English Classroom. Rome: Editoriale Anicia, 2013. Enrico Grazzi is also a qualified teacher trainer and a textbook writer. He is a past President of TESOL-Italy (2002-2004), a member of the Associazione Italiana di Anglistica (AIA) and of the English as a Lingua Franca Research Network (ELF-ReN).


Maria Grazia GUIDO (University of Salento)

Modern and ancient migrants’ narratives through ELF: An Experiential-Linguistic project in Responsible Tourism.  (With Lucia Errico and Pietro Luigi Iaia, University of Salento)

This interdisciplinary research explores the emotional experience of Italian seaside resorts whose geographical position in the Southern Mediterranean coasts has always determined their destiny as places of hospitality and hybridization of languages and cultures. A Cognitive-pragmatic Model of Experiential Linguistics (Sweetser 1990; Langacker 1991; Lakoff & Johnson 1999) and some strategies of Experiential Place Marketing (Hosany & Prayag 2011; Jani & Han 2013; Prayag et al. 2013) will be applied to the ‘emotional promotion’ of Responsible Tourism (Ma et al. 2013; Lin et al. 2014) in order to enquire into the effects of emotions upon the tourists’ perception of the holiday as an experience of ‘personal and cultural growth’. Three case studies will be analyzed, respectively dealing with three contexts of Responsible Tourism – namely: Religious, Cultural/Heritage, and Culinary/Food Tourism. The first case study shows an instance of cross-cultural miscommunication occurring despite the use of ELF, due to experiential-discourse schemata in conflict. The second case study represents instead an instance of ELF communication developing from tourists’ and migrants’ appraisal of: (a) the contemporary non-Western migrants’ dramatic sea-voyage narratives reported in their ELF variations (Guido 2008, 2012), and (b) the epic narratives of Mediterranean ‘odysseys’ towards ‘utopian places’ belonging to the Western cultural heritage, translated from Ancient Greek and Latin into ELF. The subjects of this case study under analysis are tourists playing the role of ‘intercultural mediators’ with migrants in one of the seaside resorts of Salento affected by migrant arrivals. To facilitate tourists’ and migrants’ processes of ‘experiential embodiment’ of past and present dramatic sea voyages, they will be introduced to an ‘Ethnopoetic analysis’ (Hymes 1994, 2003) of two corpora of modern and ancient oral journey narratives – the former collected during ethnographic fieldworks in reception centres for refugees, and the latter including extracts from Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. The purpose is to make tourists and migrants play the roles of ‘philologists’ and ‘ethnographers’ as they realize how such ancient and modern oral narratives are experientially organized into spontaneous ‘verse structures’ reproducing the sequences and rhythms of human actions and emotions in response to the traumatic experience of violent natural phenomena which, through the use of ergative syntactic structures (Talmy 1988), become metaphorically personified as objects and elements endowed with an autonomous, dynamic force capable of destroying the human beings at their mercy. The Ethnopoetic analysis and translation, together with the subsequent multimodal rendering of such journey narratives into ‘premotional videos’ for place-marketing purposes (Kress 2009), aim at making both tourists and migrants aware of their common experiential roots, as well as of the socio-cultural values of the different populations that have produced them. The final case study shows evidence of an ELF-mediated hybridization of shared experiential and socio-cultural ‘food schemata’ that tourists and migrants bring to bear on their ELF-slogans devised to advertise the Mediterranean diet.

Maria Grazia GUIDO is Full Professor of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Salento, where she is also Director of the Masters Course in ‘Intercultural and Interlingual Mediation in Immigration and Asylum Contexts’, and of the International Ph.D. Programme in ‘Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures’. Her research interests are in cognitive-functional linguistics applied to ELF in intercultural communication and specialized discourse analysis. Her monographs include: English as a Lingua Franca in Cross-cultural Immigration Domains (Peter Lang), Mediating Cultures (LED), and The Acting Translator and The Acting Interpreter (Legas Academic Publishing).

Lucia ERRICO is Ph.D. Candidate of the Doctoral Programme in ‘Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures’ at the University of Salento, conducting her research within an international cotutelle agreement with the Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat of Freiburg. She has held a research contract with the University-of-Salento Project on “‘Made-in-Apulia’ Luxury Marketing and Responsible Tourism” co-funded by the CaRiPuglia Foundation. Her research interests and publications focus on the identification of cognitive archetypes in Ancient-Greek myths and on the representation of Utopian places in classical epic narratives and their translation into ELF.

Pietro Luigi IAIA is Adjunct Professor and Researcher of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Salento (Italy). He holds a Ph.D. in English Linguistics applied to Translation Studies from the same university. His research interests focus on the cognitive-semantic, pragmatic and socio-cultural dimensions of multimodal translation, and on ELF variations in cross-cultural audiovisual discourse and computer-mediated communication. His publications include: Analysing English as a Lingua Franca in Video Games (Peter Lang), The Dubbing Translation of Humorous Audiovisual Texts (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) and “ELF Reformulations of Italian ‘Lingua Franca’ Uses in the Subtitling of the Migration Movie Lamerica” (Roma TrE-Press).


Pietro Luigi IAIA (University of Salento)

Analysing  English as a Lingua Franca in migration movies: Pragmalinguistics features and socio-cultural characterizations of scripted interactions.

This paper adopts a cognitive-functional approach (Halliday 1978; Langacker 2008) to the analysis and translation of “migration movies”, according to which the production and reception of multimodal texts featuring cross-cultural interactions in immigration domains are influenced by the senders’ and receivers’ linguacultural and cognitive backgrounds. By examining a selected corpus of extracts from It’s a Free World... and Looking for Alibrandi, this study enquires into the extent to which the non-native characters’ utterances have to be considered as meaning-making resources that help viewers infer the status asymmetries and power relations between participants. For this reason, the definition of ‘scripted lingua-franca variations’ will be proposed, to label the language uses that are associated with characters representing non-native speakers, and which are marked by a number of lexical, syntactic and phonetic deviations from the Standard English norms that reflect features of cross-cultural interactions (Guido 2008; Seidlhofer 2011; Mauranen 2012). Finally, this paper contends that the inclusion of multimodal, critical analyses of audiovisual scripts in the earlier stages of translators’ and mediators’ education may increase their awareness of the pragmalinguistic and socio-cultural dimensions of lingua-franca exchanges, as well as support the rejection of ideological (Fairclough 2015) modifications of source texts, opting for the production of linguacultural equivalents for dubbing and subtitles.


‘ELF’ subtitling in pedagogic contexts: From audiovisual translation to audiovisual mediation.

This paper illustrates the results of a case study implemented at the University of Salento, which represents an innovative application of “subtitles as a didactic aid” (Caimi 2006) and a possible development of the investigation areas of ELF Studies. The subjects of this research – a number of Italian undergraduate students – were asked to produce an intralingual translation for the subtitles of the video Capsized in Lampedusa – Fortress Italia, which contains Standard English, diatopic varieties of Italian, and English lingua-franca variations. Since the subjects’ reformulations address international viewers (also including non-native speakers of English), the analysis of the original and reformulated versions will enquire into the extent to which the strategies of lexical and structural simplification and condensation (Pedersen 2011), as well as the selection of specific verb tenses and aspects, are meant to enhance the implied recipients’ accessibility while coping with the temporal and spatial constraints of subtitles (Neves 2009). For these reasons, this study will introduce the notion of ‘audiovisual mediation’ as an alternative approach to the standard actualizations of audiovisual translation, which stems from a critical examination of source scripts and aims at: (i) making the illocutionary force (Austin 1962) accessible and acceptable to the implied, international audience, and (ii) overcoming the conventional associations between dubbing and domestication (Paolinelli and Di Fortunato 2005), and subtitling and foreignization (Perego 2005).

Pietro Luigi IAIA  is Adjunct Professor and Researcher of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Salento (Italy). He holds a Ph.D. in English Linguistics applied to Translation Studies from the same university. His research interests focus on the cognitive-semantic, pragmatic and socio-cultural dimensions of multimodal translation, and on ELF variations in cross-cultural audiovisual discourse and computer-mediated communication. His publications include: Analysing English as a Lingua Franca in Video Games (Peter Lang), The Dubbing Translation of Humorous Audiovisual Texts (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) and “ELF Reformulations of Italian ‘Lingua Franca’ Uses in the Subtitling of the Migration Movie Lamerica” (Roma TrE-Press).


Lucilla LOPRIORE (University of Rome 3)

Voicing beliefs and dilemmas from WE- and ELF-aware reflective teacher education contexts:  Teachers’ personal responses to rapidly changing multilingual contexts.

The intensification of social fragmentation processes ascribable to the recent tidal migration flows, together with the diffusion of new technologies and social networks, have created new sociolinguistic environments where languages are undergoing a unique transformative process of their borders and of their traditional functions.  As a result of increasing global mobility, the sociolinguistic reality of English, and its different realisations, as in the case of WE and ELF, have become much more complex and controversial than those of other languages in the world.  Issues of identity, standards, proficiency levels, intercultural communication and language relevance for English language learners and teachers demand for a paradigmatic orientation and a reconsideration of the English curriculum, of teacher education, of research and of classroom practice. Language teacher education is a field where, according to local contexts and to pedagogical traditions, different theoretical frameworks are being used, specific approaches adopted, course components differently combined, and teachers’ and trainers’ espoused theories and beliefs about English are often challenged.  In the emerging English landscapes, new ways in devising models and actions for language awareness activities require more exposure to and investigation of authentic language data in order to trigger teachers’ reflection, unveiling their existing beliefs about language, about English, and about teaching. The purpose of this presentation is to describe how a WE and ELF-aware approach was embedded in English language teacher education courses in Italy. The adoption of such an approach elicited teachers’ awareness of occurring changes in  the current status of English and induced a reflective perspective on the implications of teaching it within a moveable scenario where English teaching traditions are  often challenged. The relevance of this approach will be discussed and teachers’ voices from three teacher education courses will be reported as representative of emerging dilemmas and of a shift in perspective.

Lucilla LOPRIORE  is Teacher and teacher educator, she works as Associate Professor in English Linguistics at Roma Tre University. MA TEFL (1997 Reading, UK), PhD Italian as a Second Language (2001, Siena Foreigners). TESOL Italy President (1996-1998), TESOL Intl. Board of Directors (2001-2004), ELLiE Project Italian coordinator (2006-2010), incoming chair of TESOL Intl. Research Professional Council, organiser of ELF 6th Conference in Rome, she has worked as a teacher educator in pre- and in-service courses on ELT, CLIL, Italian 2nd language, educational linguistics, evaluation since 1988.  Her main research interests are:  WE, ELF, CLIL, EMI, teacher education, material development, educational linguistics, language and cultural mediation, assessment and early language learning. A course-book writer, she has published general English and ESP course-books and numerous research papers.  Among her most recent publications:  ELF in Teacher Education: A Way and Ways. In Lopriore L  & Grazzi E  eds. (2016) Intercultural Communication. New Perspectives from ELF. Roma: Roma TrE-Press;  Revisiting English. New Paradigms.  Studi Italiani di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata. XLV, 1/ 2016; Language Education Policies and Practice in (Mediterranean ) Europe: An ELF perspective. In Pitzl, M.L., Osimik-Teasdale R (eds.) (2016) English as a Lingua Franca: Perspectives and Prospects. Contributions in Honour of Barbara Seidlhofer. Berlin: de Gruyter.  


Marie-Luise PITZL (University of Vienna)

Creativity and re-metaphorized idioms in spoken ELF interactions.

The widespread use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) raises many questions and ‘dilemmas’ – for linguistic theories, sociolinguistics, pragmatics and pedagogy, to name but a few. One area of particular interest for ELF research is the description of synchronic linguistic variation and its relation to functional aspects of pragmatic language use on the one hand, as well as to potential diachronic changes in the making on the other hand. Focusing on the notion of creativity, this talk builds on conceptualizations of creativity from psychology and linguistics in order to explore the links between sociolinguistics and pragmatics and between variation and change in relation to the use of idioms and metaphors in interactive spoken ELF. It reports on the findings of an extensive qualitative corpus linguistic study conducted on the basis of the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English (VOICE), a one-million word corpus of spoken ELF interactions. The lecture reviews some formal aspects of creativity and idiom variation in ELF and introduces the notion of re-metaphorization with regard to creative idiom use. It also highlights functional motivations and communicative effects that re-metaphorized idioms and other metaphorical expressions have in ELF interactions.

Marie-Luise PITZL is Postdoc/Assistant Professor in English Applied Linguistics at the University of Vienna (Austria) and has held previous positions at the University of Salzburg and TU Dortmund University. She is one of compilers of the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English (VOICE), a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca (JELF) and co-founder and co-convenor of the AILA Research Network on ELF (together with Alessia Cogo). She has recently co-edited the interdisciplinary volume English as a lingua franca: Perspectives and prospects (De Gruyter 2016, with Ruth Osimk-Teasdale) and a special issue of JELF on Teaching ELF, BELF and/or Intercultural Communication? (2015, with Susanne Ehrenreich) and. She has been active in ELF research since 2004 and has published on a range of topics, such as resolving miscommunication, BELF, corpus building, lexical innovation, intercultural understanding, developing multilingual practices. One of her main research interests is the creativity of ELF, in particular in relation to the use of idioms and metaphors. She is currently completing a monograph on this topic for the DELF series (De Gruyter Mouton).


Mariarosaria PROVENZANO (University of Salento)

ELF and linguistic accessibility in EU Migration Laws: A Critical Discourse Analysis on text reformulations.

The present study focuses on a corpus of legal texts from the EU regarding Immigration and Political Asylum, and especially concerns the administrative practices involving immigrants between the Member States.   At the basis of the study, there is the awareness that these specialized text-types are mainly built on pragmatic strategies which are mainly a reflection of Western routines (Brown and Yule 1983; Guido 2008). Such a representation of legal meanings and relationships are thus thought to be the main cause of misunderstandings between the parties at hand and to damage the relation between the authorities, on the one hand, and the subjects of the procedures, both migrants and asylum seekers. It follows that a procedure of analysis, which is meant to probe accessibility of the texts, and an intra-lingual translation of the original legal texts (Gotti 2005) are needed. The corpus selected is analysed on the basis of a Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 1995), and then reformulated through van Dijk’s macrorules (1980). The fieldwork concludes the practical part of the work, and serves to highlight: (a) the relevant incongruities between the illocutionary meanings of the original statements, and the perlocutionary effect produced on receivers; and (b) propose new formulae/new patterns of action, in order to make rules accessible (Widdowson 1979) to real receivers of the texts.

Mariarosaria PROVENZANO is Tenured Researcher and Adjunct Professor in English Language and Translation at the University of Salento. She holds a Ph.D. from the same University in “Sociology of Migrations and Cultures”, with a thesis in English Applied Linguistics and Translation. In 2015 she was also granted the Associateship to the Institute of Education (UCL- University of London), concluding a post-doc research project on ‘hybridization’ and the new finance languages in cross-cultural contexts. Her current research interests are based on ‘intra-lingual translation’, especially in the legal field of Immigration, and on academic writing. Among her publications is the volume “The EU Legal Discourse of Immigration. A cross-cultural cognitive approach to Accessibility and reformulation” (2008; Franco Angeli, Milan); (forthcoming), “Mediation issues in the ELF reformulation and translation of European Union texts”,, Salento University publishing.


Barbara SEIDLHOFER (University of Vienna)

Concepts of Competence.

The central issue that is raised in the study of ELF communication, and in adverse reaction to it, is what it means to be competent in a language. The concept of competence as introduced by Chomsky is defined as the knowledge that speakers have of their language. This was then extended to include a knowledge of how their language is put to communicative use. This extended definition, however, still represents competence as knowledge and those who have it as native speakers of the language. The defining of competence in reference to native speakers has long been challenged in the ELF literature. What needs to be questioned is the still prevailing idea that competence is a kind of knowledge. In its usual sense, the term is used to refer not to knowledge but to behaviour relative to some accepted norm. When we say somebody is competent, we generally mean that they have an ability which is adequate to the carrying out of certain kinds of circumscribed activity. So accountants or carpenters or students are said to be competent if they meet certain criteria of adequacy – but no more: the term is not infrequently used to ‘damn with faint praise.’ Thus competence in this usual sense is not assessed by what people know but what they do: competence is a kind of performance. Two questions arise in relation to ELF, and to the nature of communication in general: What are the criteria for adequacy in language use? And what kind of ability is necessary to meet them?

Barbara SEIDLHOFER  is Professor of English and Applied Linguistics at the University of Vienna. Her research and teaching focus on the sociolinguistics of language variation, esp. the description of English as an international language, and its implications for teacher education. She is the founding director of the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English (VOICE), founding editor of the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, and past editor of the International Journal of Applied Linguistics. Her books include Understanding English as a Lingua Franca (OUP), Controversies in Applied Linguistics (OUP), Foreign Language Communication and Learning (Mouton De Gruyter, with K. Knapp) and From International to Local English – and Back Again (Lang, with R. Facchinetti & D. Crystal).


Silvia SPERTI (University of  Rome 3)

A phonopragmatic analysis of ELF spoken interactions. Linguistic and paralinguistic features in specialized migration contexts.

Achieving successful communication through mutual accommodation strategies in ELF cross-cultural interactions occurring in migration settings appears rather controversial and sometimes problematic, since exchanges are often characterized by ‘gatekeeping’ asymmetries between the participants involved. The ‘phonopragmatic’ approach is here applied to the analysis of spontaneous dialogues among ELF users in specialized migration context with the aim of investigating how ELF speakers engaged in intercultural encounters differently appropriate the English language not only according to their own different native linguacultural ‘schemata’, but also to specific pragmalinguistic goals and processes. The phonopragmatic analysis is therefore applied to a number of case studies – illustrating unequal encounters between asylum-seekers, language mediators and legal advisors, taking place at a centre for legal counselling and assistance to refugees and performed through ELF and Italian Lingua-Franca – with the ultimate objective of exploring the occurring prosodic and auditory processes activated in such cross-cultural dynamics, with particular attention to the speakers’ performing of speech acts and mutual realization of illocutionary and perlocutionary signals. The use of prosodic strategies for a pragmatic purpose by ELF speakers from different linguacultural backgrounds is explored with a special focus on (i) existing native prosodic and acoustic variations (in terms of stress, intonation, speech rate, and disfluency) redefined in the pragmalinguistic use of an ELF variation; (ii) resulting L1 phonological transfers affecting the  conversational construction and progress; (iii) the cross-cultural mediation of meaning, experience and intentionality in terms of phonopragmatic strategies and lexical, syntactical, and stylistic choices; and (iv) the role played by prosody and paralinguistics in the negotiation of speakers’ attitudes, emotions, and socio-cultural ‘schemata’ in spoken specialized discourse related to medical and legal integration, mediated migration narratives, and cross-cultural representations of traumatic experience.

Silvia SPERTI  holds a Ph.D. in English Linguistics applied to Intercultural Communication from the University of Salento (Italy). She is a Lecturer in English Language and Translation at Roma Tre University and an Intercultural Mediator. Her research interests and publications focus on the investigation of cognitive and phonopragmatic dimensions of intercultural communication in specialized discourse, with a special attention to ELF variations and World Englishes employed in cross-cultural interactions and mediation processes.


Donna H. TATSUKI (Kobe City University of Foreign Studies)

English as a Lingua Franca: When East meets West.

MUN simulations and ELF have both been described in terms of “communities of practice” (Wenger, 1998). MUN simulations can be considered a community of practice since they possess Wenger’s three criteria—mutual engagement, a negotiated joint enterprise, and a shared repertoire. House (2003) argues that ELF too can be considered a community of practice since “its diffuse alliances and communities of imagination and alignment fits ELF interactions well because ELF participants have heterogeneous backgrounds and diverse social and linguistic expectations” (p. 573).

While acknowledging that traditional native/non-native speaker dichotomy is not relevant with regards to ELF (Ferguson, 2012), in some cases, “for lack of a better alternative” (Llurda, 2009, p. 120), it may be practical to keep a native/non-native speaker dichotomy as a framework for certain kinds of sociolinguistic research (Haberland, 2011). Speaking English as an L1 offers no guarantee of an ability to interact successfully with a wide variety of interlocutors; there are many varieties of English, many of which are mutually incomprehensible (Ur, 2010) and similarly, native speakers of these many varieties of English are not guaranteed to be successful interlocutors with users of ELF  (Litzenberg, 2013). Indeed, it may really be the case that English native speakers (however one may define the members of this group) are in especially acute need of training to adjust to a lingua franca world (Carey, 2013).

This short talk will report on a small section of ongoing research into MUN interactions. The observations of ELF-speaking MUN delegates from Japan and Germany will be shared in order to get a sense of some of the shortcomings that native speakers display when communicating with ELF speakers in the context of MUN simulations and will make recommendations for their training. 

Donna Hurst TATSUKI (Ed.D., Temple University, Japan) is the Director of the Graduate School for English Language Education and Research at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies (GSELER), where in-service teachers pursue advanced graduate degrees. Unique is this programme’s focus on reflective practice and teacher personal growth, which beneficially augments the typical focus on research skills.

Her research interests include cross-cultural pragmatics, language teaching materials development, conversation analysis, and storytelling/narrative design. She has recently researched multi-party talk-in-interaction of Model United Nations simulations and the representations of gender/ethnicity in government approved language textbooks. Current research projects include: MUN preparation in the flipped classroom, ELF in MUN simulations, and narrative strategies in complex negotiations.

Recently edited books include Pragmatics: Teaching speech acts (TESOL, 2010, with N. Houck); Pragmatics: Teaching natural conversation (TESOL, 2011, with N. Houck); Storytelling: Repositioning Literary Texts in Language Teaching (Foreign Studies Research Series, 90, Kobe Gaidai, 2015). Fictions: Studi sulla narratività XV. Special Issue: Stories For Learning: Storytelling And Didactics (Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2016); Back to Basics: Filling the Gaps in Pragmatics Teaching Materials (JALT, 2016 with D. Fujimoto); Teaching Narratives (Journal of Research Institute, 54, Kobe Gaidai, 2016).


Paola VETTOREL (University of Verona)

The plurality of English and ELF in teacher education: raising awareness of the ‘feasibility’ of a WE- and ELF-aware approach in classroom practices.

The current plurality into which English has developed, and its extended lingua franca role, have significant implications for ELT. Besides being taught as a foreign language, English increasingly constitutes a consistent presence in the ‘outside-school’ world, and encounters with (linguistic) otherness can be experienced daily, from the increasingly multicultural and multilingual school environments (Byram 1997, 2008) to mobility and digital communication (e.g. Seidlhofer et al. 2006; Vettorel 2014; Grazzi 2016).

Raising awareness of the multifaceted sociolinguistic realities of Englishes and ELF in teacher education constitutes a first and fundamental step towards a more ‘inclusive’ and ‘realistic’ approach in ELT (e.g. Bayyurt & Sifakis 2015a, 2015b; Dewey 2015; Lopriore 2016; Seidlhofer 2011; Sifakis 2014; Vettorel 2016; Vettorel & Corrizzato 2016a, 2016b; Vettorel & Lopriore 2017). If language educators are familiarised with the complex reality of English today, and critical reflection on its implications in ELT is actively promoted in teacher education, teachers can not only realize the ‘feasibility’ of a WE- and ELF-aware approach in classroom practices, but also its ‘suitability’ to prepare learners to communicate through English in its current plural, and lingua franca, dimension.

An example comes from the pre-service TFA (Tirocinio Formativo Attivo) and PAS (Percorso Abilitante Speciale) language teacher education courses held at the University of Verona, Italy, where part of the English Language Module focused on issues related to WE, ELF and their pedagogical implications. Findings from a related research study show that critical reflection on existing materials, and on beliefs deriving from traditional Anglocentric approaches, can be a starting point to encourage and support a WE- and ELF- informed approach in classroom practices, one that sees communicative ‘capability’ (Widdowson 2003, 2012, 2015; Seidlhofer 2011, 2015) as an important pedagogic aim to prepare learners to become effective and competent ELF users.

Paola VETTOREL  is assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures - University of Verona. Her main research interests include ELF and its implications in ELT; ELF and digital media. Among her recent publications: (2014) English as a Lingua Franca in wider networking. Blogging practices. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter; (2015) (ed.) New Frontiers in Teaching and Learning English. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars; (2016) WE- and ELF-informed classroom practices: proposals from a pre-service teacher education programme in Italy. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 5/1: 107-133; (2016) (with S. Corrizzato) Fostering awareness of the pedagogical implications of World Englishes and ELF in teacher education in Italy. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching 6/3: 487-511; (with L. Lopriore) (2015). Promoting Awareness of Englishes and ELF in the English Language Classroom. In H. Bowles and A. Cogo (eds.), International Perspectives on Teaching English as a Lingua Franca, 13-34. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; (with L. Lopriore) (2017). WE, EIL/ELF and awareness of their pedagogical implications in teacher education courses in Italy. In A. Matsuda (ed.). Preparing Teachers to Teach English as an International Language, 197-209. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.


Henry G. WIDDOWSON  (University of London and Vienna)

Lingual capability and Virtual Language.

As has been extensively exemplified in the ELF literature, users of English as a lingua franca are capable of using language to communicate in contextually appropriate ways even though in so doing they may not conform to the norms of Standard English or the usage of native speakers, which are generally taken to provide the benchmarks of competence in the language. How do ‘incompetent’ users manage to be capable communicators? What is the nature of this capability? What kind of linguistic knowledge does it presuppose and how is this knowledge acted upon in the actual pragmatic process of communication? Addressing these questions, I will argue, leads to the recognition that communication in general is achieved by the exercise of a general lingual capability that, unlike the concept of competence, is not a matter of conformity to the actual encodings of any particular language but the exploitation of the coding potential of the virtual language.

Henry G. WIDDOWSON  began his career teaching English literature at the University of Indonesia. He then worked with teachers of English for several years in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and subsequently taught at the universities of Edinburgh, London, Essex and Vienna.  He was a founding editor of the journal Applied Linguistics and for thirty years acted as applied linguistics adviser to Oxford University Press. He has lectured and written extensively on applied linguistics, discourse analysis and language teaching and his books include Defining Issues in English Language Teaching (2003), Text, Context, Pretext (2004) and Discourse Analysis (2007) – a book in the series Oxford Introductions to Language Study, of which he is the editor. Now in relative retirement, he is Professor Emeritus, University of London, and Honorary Professor at the University of Vienna.