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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses English in terms of its role as a contact language among expanding circle users of English from different first languages. It begins by observing both similarities between English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) and other lingua francas, and the difference in scale between them, with ELF involving a far higher number of people and first languages. The article goes on to explore empirical research into ELF, and its key findings: on the one hand, that certain “nonstandard” English forms are regularly preferred to “standard” (i.e. native) ones, and on the other, that ELF is far more affected by context and accommodation processes, and, therefore, far more diverse, than native Englishes. The notion of “community of practice,” it is argued, is, thus, more appropriate to ELF than that of “speech community.” The article concludes by considering three key areas of ELF research that need to be tackled.

Keywords: English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), contact language, accommodation, community of practice

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