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In the
last decades the English spreads quickly around the world. The last demographics
and technological evolutions have created a large number of effects in the
English language. Furthermore, the English is in a constancy evolution process,
as a consequence, it improves the contact with another languages and improves
its speakers through various communities and territories. Also, English is
normally the language of choice in conferences, business meetings and political

widespread of English on a broad scale has done about English as a lingua franca. Although, it is not a new
thing, because the English has spoken with this purpose centuries ago (at least
since the British started to colonise and conquer territories). Nevertheless,
the English study as a lingua franca did not start until the last ten/twenty

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to Knapp and Mierkord (2002), the term “lingua franca” referred to a variety
that was spoken along the South Eastern coast of the Mediterranean between
approximately the 15th and the 19th century. This first
contact language was a pidgin, it based on Italian, Spanish, Portuguese,
French, Greek, Persian, Arabic and Turkish elements.

We debate
about the spread of English as a lingua franca, who speaks it, the English as
an international lingua franca and English as a lingua franca in education to
have a point of view about how the English is the first lingua franca today.

speaks English today?

spread of English around the world is divided in three different groups, those
who speak English as:

A native language (ENL)

A second language (ESL)

A foreign language (EFL).

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).

this is the largest English-using group because English as a lingua franca is
used for intercultural communication.

the tripartite model provides a starting point to clarify in which group they

as a Native Language is the tongue of those born and grew up in the countries
where English is the first language to be spoken, like UK, USA, Australia…
There are around 360 million speakers. (Jenkins, 2014:10).

as a Second Language is the group where English is the second tongue spoken in
one territory which were colonised by the British, like India, Nigeria,
Bangladesh and Singapore. These speakers are around 360 million, if we included
pidgins and creoles.

as a Foreign Language is used for people that their countries were not
colonised 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 around
two billion speakers between EFL and ELF.

term “lingua franca” is usually taken to mean ‘any lingual medium of
communication between people of different tongues, for whom it is a second
language’ (Samarin, 1987:
371). These lingua francas often have non-native speakers.

So, we
defining ELF: “English as a lingua franca is used as a contact language
among speakers from different first language” (Jenkins, 2014: 143). And, Seidlhofer (2011: 7) said “is any use of English among
speakers of different first languages for whom English is the communicative
medium 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 a
lingua franca emphasises the process of communication and the accommodation is
according to the context and the interlocutor. For mainstream linguistics ELF
is a ‘broken English’ or an ‘interlanguage’, but ???? 232 de Attitude

As we
said 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.

linguacultural norms in EFL are pre-existing and re-affirmed, and in ELF are
negotiated. The objectives in EFL is integration and to be membership in native
speaker community, and in ELF searches the intelligibility and the
communication in a non-native speakers or mixed native and non-native speaker’s
interaction. Finally, the process in EFL is the imitation and adoption and in
ELF is the accommodation and adaptation (Seidlhofer,
2011: 18). Therefore, EFL and ELF may be have
the same linguistic outcome but there is error
in EFL versus a variant in ELF.

as international lingua franca

francas serve the purpose of providing a means of communication among people
who do not share a first language and this is what English does. Over the past
last decades, English has become the primary lingua franca in the world. This
have important consequences for the language itself. English become the most
international language for a principal reason: English is the first foreign or
other languages in school and university curricula around the world. In 21st
century, the English communication is more than an international language, is the international language. According to
Crystal (2006), ‘one in four of the world’s population are now capable of communicating
to a useful level in English’.

has become as an international language in two different ways: English has been
‘transported’ to different territories by its native speakers. Firstly, through
colonisation and conquests. Then, ‘English has been ‘imported’ by people who
wants to learn English as an important tongue despite their 1st
language. In the first case, as a result of colonial British rule, English has
been absorbed by different countries and it has been the local means of
national communication in territories in what Kachru (1992) refer to as the
‘Outer Circle” (Seidlhofer, 2011).

English language is a media of communication among people with different native
languages. ‘This increasing extend is by development electronic issues and improved
mobility, that it is the responsible for the predominant international language
– English as a lingua franca’ (Seidlhofer, 2011).

A good
question is why is English the world’s primary lingua franca. According to
Crystal (2003) there are various features that it proves:

Firstly, there
are historical
reasons as the British or American imperialism legacy’s was so important. They
carried out all proceedings in English. These involve the parliament, the civil
service, the law courts, religious bodies, education institutions and their
publications in the English language as books, records…

Secondly, the political
reasons are English provides means of communication between different origin
people, for example, in India. The widespread of English in means of
communications as a newspapers, radio or television.

Thirdly, the economic
reasons are, obviously, the USA has the major economic position in
international business and they work with English. Moreover, the advertising
and tourist factories and any multinational business wish to settle offices in
English-speaking territories.

Then, the practical
reasons 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 intellectual
reasons are the most of information in the world (80%) is expressed in English
as scientific, technological and academic information.

Finally, the entertainment
reasons are English is the chief language of music, popular culture and
advertising. It is also the language of the broadcasting, computers and video
games, as well as of pornography and drugs. Crystal points out that English is
easier to pronounce, a lot of vocabulary and has a simple grammatical


as a lingua franca and education

English is the first language in education around the world. It is because the
English language has the major input in different ways in our world. But,
obviously, not all English speakers are native speaker, so they use English as
a foreign language or lingua franca to communicate with another people in
various situations. Then, in schools and higher education, the teachers teach
English as a lingua franca to their students will have a good level in English
in their job relationships and their social time in English speaker countries,
as a first or second language.

scholars have been appreciating the different kinds of English they need
outside the school or university, for example, as a lingua franca to establish
a conversation with natives speakers from other first languages. In 1985, there
was an equal status between American English and British English. ‘The students
that use English as a lingua franca are confident using ELF, and they believe
that the importance of ELF would grow’ (Ranta, 2010: 174). The teachers want to
orient their students to the native English in their exam. Nevertheless, “they
think the exam is not the best option today, their belief is practise the ‘real
world’ skills in class” (Ranta, 2010: 174).

to Cogo and Dewey (2012), the implication of ELF for current pedagogic
practices are the teacher need to incorporate in the English curriculum more
than native English, as global topics. Focus on a good communicative skills
rather than grammatical and lexical accuracy (169-183).

consonance with Seidlhofer (2011), ENL norms are not necessary for
communication and the teachers should correspond to the needs of the users of
English (196-198).

is in this age the global lingua franca, especially in education. Higher
education describe itself as ‘international’, because this attracts a lot of
students from others first languages. 

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