In thelast decades the English spreads quickly around the world. The last demographicsand technological evolutions have created a large number of effects in theEnglish language. Furthermore, the English is in a constancy evolution process,as a consequence, it improves the contact with another languages and improvesits speakers through various communities and territories.
Also, English isnormally the language of choice in conferences, business meetings and politicalcongregations.Thewidespread of English on a broad scale has done about English as a lingua franca. Although, it is not a newthing, because the English has spoken with this purpose centuries ago (at leastsince the British started to colonise and conquer territories). Nevertheless,the English study as a lingua franca did not start until the last ten/twentyyears. Accordingto Knapp and Mierkord (2002), the term “lingua franca” referred to a varietythat was spoken along the South Eastern coast of the Mediterranean betweenapproximately the 15th and the 19th century. This firstcontact language was a pidgin, it based on Italian, Spanish, Portuguese,French, Greek, Persian, Arabic and Turkish elements.
We debateabout the spread of English as a lingua franca, who speaks it, the English asan international lingua franca and English as a lingua franca in education tohave a point of view about how the English is the first lingua franca today.Whospeaks English today?Thespread of English around the world is divided in three different groups, thosewho speak English as:· A native language (ENL)· A second language (ESL)· A foreign language (EFL).But,sometimes, it is difficult to classify English speakers in one of these groups,so there is a fourth group of users, who speaks English as:· A lingua franca (ELF).Nowadays,this is the largest English-using group because English as a lingua franca isused for intercultural communication. Although,the tripartite model provides a starting point to clarify in which group theyare: Englishas a Native Language is the tongue of those born and grew up in the countrieswhere English is the first language to be spoken, like UK, USA, Australia…There are around 360 million speakers.
(Jenkins, 2014:10).Englishas a Second Language is the group where English is the second tongue spoken inone territory which were colonised by the British, like India, Nigeria,Bangladesh and Singapore. These speakers are around 360 million, if we includedpidgins and creoles.
Englishas a Foreign Language is used for people that their countries were notcolonised by the English. So, they speak English for business or social time.It is similar with ELF (later we will see the differences).
There are aroundtwo billion speakers between EFL and ELF.Theterm “lingua franca” is usually taken to mean ‘any lingual medium ofcommunication between people of different tongues, for whom it is a secondlanguage’ (Samarin, 1987:371). These lingua francas often have non-native speakers. So, wedefining ELF: “English as a lingua franca is used as a contact languageamong speakers from different first language” (Jenkins, 2014: 143).
And, Seidlhofer (2011: 7) said “is any use of English amongspeakers of different first languages for whom English is the communicativemedium of choice, and often the only option”. ELF is not a variety,because it has not fixed forms and it has fluid forms. Moreover, English as alingua franca emphasises the process of communication and the accommodation isaccording to the context and the interlocutor. For mainstream linguistics ELFis a ‘broken English’ or an ‘interlanguage’, but ???? 232 de AttitudeAs wesaid before, English as a foreign language (EFL) and English as a lingua franca(ELF) are so similar, but we can distinguish aspects like linguacultural norms,objectives and processes. Thelinguacultural norms in EFL are pre-existing and re-affirmed, and in ELF arenegotiated. The objectives in EFL is integration and to be membership in nativespeaker community, and in ELF searches the intelligibility and thecommunication in a non-native speakers or mixed native and non-native speaker’sinteraction. Finally, the process in EFL is the imitation and adoption and inELF is the accommodation and adaptation (Seidlhofer,2011: 18).
Therefore, EFL and ELF may be havethe same linguistic outcome but there is errorin EFL versus a variant in ELF. Englishas international lingua francaLinguafrancas serve the purpose of providing a means of communication among peoplewho do not share a first language and this is what English does. Over the pastlast decades, English has become the primary lingua franca in the world.
Thishave important consequences for the language itself. English become the mostinternational language for a principal reason: English is the first foreign orother languages in school and university curricula around the world. In 21stcentury, the English communication is more than an international language, is the international language. According toCrystal (2006), ‘one in four of the world’s population are now capable of communicatingto a useful level in English’.
Englishhas become as an international language in two different ways: English has been’transported’ to different territories by its native speakers. Firstly, throughcolonisation and conquests. Then, ‘English has been ‘imported’ by people whowants to learn English as an important tongue despite their 1stlanguage. In the first case, as a result of colonial British rule, English hasbeen absorbed by different countries and it has been the local means ofnational communication in territories in what Kachru (1992) refer to as the’Outer Circle” (Seidlhofer, 2011). TheEnglish language is a media of communication among people with different nativelanguages. ‘This increasing extend is by development electronic issues and improvedmobility, that it is the responsible for the predominant international language– English as a lingua franca’ (Seidlhofer, 2011).A goodquestion is why is English the world’s primary lingua franca. According toCrystal (2003) there are various features that it proves:Firstly, thereare historicalreasons as the British or American imperialism legacy’s was so important.
Theycarried out all proceedings in English. These involve the parliament, the civilservice, the law courts, religious bodies, education institutions and theirpublications in the English language as books, records…Secondly, the politicalreasons are English provides means of communication between different originpeople, for example, in India. The widespread of English in means ofcommunications as a newspapers, radio or television.Thirdly, the economicreasons are, obviously, the USA has the major economic position ininternational business and they work with English. Moreover, the advertisingand tourist factories and any multinational business wish to settle offices inEnglish-speaking territories.Then, the practicalreasons are that English is the tongue of international maritime, policing,emergency services and air traffic control. And it is the speech of business,conferences and general tourism.Suddenly, the intellectualreasons are the most of information in the world (80%) is expressed in Englishas scientific, technological and academic information.
Finally, the entertainmentreasons are English is the chief language of music, popular culture andadvertising. It is also the language of the broadcasting, computers and videogames, as well as of pornography and drugs. Crystal points out that English iseasier to pronounce, a lot of vocabulary and has a simple grammaticalstructure. Englishas a lingua franca and educationNowadays,English is the first language in education around the world. It is because theEnglish language has the major input in different ways in our world. But,obviously, not all English speakers are native speaker, so they use English asa foreign language or lingua franca to communicate with another people invarious situations. Then, in schools and higher education, the teachers teachEnglish as a lingua franca to their students will have a good level in Englishin their job relationships and their social time in English speaker countries,as a first or second language. ELFscholars have been appreciating the different kinds of English they needoutside the school or university, for example, as a lingua franca to establisha conversation with natives speakers from other first languages.
In 1985, therewas an equal status between American English and British English. ‘The studentsthat use English as a lingua franca are confident using ELF, and they believethat the importance of ELF would grow’ (Ranta, 2010: 174). The teachers want toorient their students to the native English in their exam.
Nevertheless, “theythink the exam is not the best option today, their belief is practise the ‘realworld’ skills in class” (Ranta, 2010: 174).Accordingto Cogo and Dewey (2012), the implication of ELF for current pedagogicpractices are the teacher need to incorporate in the English curriculum morethan native English, as global topics. Focus on a good communicative skillsrather than grammatical and lexical accuracy (169-183).Inconsonance with Seidlhofer (2011), ENL norms are not necessary forcommunication and the teachers should correspond to the needs of the users ofEnglish (196-198).Englishis in this age the global lingua franca, especially in education. Highereducation describe itself as ‘international’, because this attracts a lot ofstudents from others first languages.