5th English as a Lingua Franca Conference

ELF in an elite international educational context: Attitudes and perceptions under the ELFel Tower with Annamária Tóth

Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) by highly mobile and globally engaged students and staff involved in a bilingual graduate programme at an elite higher-education institution in France. This paper builds on prior studies that investigate the use of ELF as a communicative tool in multilingual contexts (e.g. Hülmbauer, 2007), on attitudinal studies (e.g. Jenkins, 2007; Zeiss, 2010), and also on a number of recent approaches (e.g. Seidlhofer, 2006; Ehrenreich, 2009; Kalocsai, 2009; Tóth, 2010) that have taken up the notion of groups of ELF users as communities of practice (see Wenger, 1998). While there has been a wealth of studies on the structural and pragmatic features of ELF, there have been comparatively few in-depth qualitative analyses of the attitudes and perceptions towards language use of active ELF speakers. We will address this gap by presenting some findings from our research into a linguistically and culturally diverse community of ELF speakers who work or study on the Master in European Affairs at Sciences Po Paris, using both English and French daily as working languages. These speakers also tend to use other languages on a regular basis, reflecting their diverse backgrounds in terms of national and linguistic identities. We draw on the critical approach to the study of language varieties developed by Unger (2009, 2010) to investigate the discourse on ELF within this community by means of textual analysis of interview data. In doing so, we attempt to situate the discourse on ELF at Sciences Po in the context of Europeanisation and, also more generally, the globalisation of education.

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