Keynote Speakers

Tracey M. Derwing

Tracey M. Derwing

(University of Alberta / Simon Fraser University)

Challenges for Intelligibility and Comprehensibility in ELF

Tracey M. Derwing: Biography

Tracey Derwing is a professor emeritus of TESL in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta, and an adjunct professor of Linguistics at Simon Fraser University. In collaboration with Dr. Murray Munro, she has carried out extensive research on issues of second language learners’ oral fluency and pronunciation, particularly the extent to which accent interferes with intelligibility and comprehensibility.  Recently, they published a book entitled Pronunciation Fundamentals: Evidence-based Perspectives for L2 Teaching and Research.  Dr. Derwing has also conducted large studies on the settlement experiences of refugees in Canada. Her publications appear in journals such as Language Learning, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Applied Linguistics, TESOL Quarterly, and the Journal of International Migration and Integration.  Dr. Derwing has served as an editor of the TESL Canada Journal and the Canadian Modern Language Review.

Tracey M. Derwing: Abstract

Challenges for Intelligibility and Comprehensibility in ELF

The primary goal of most speakers is to communicate successfully; that is, to ensure that the listener clearly understands the speaker’s intended message.   There are, of course, secondary goals in speaking to another person, including the conveyance of a particular image, usually one that conforms with the speaker’s own sense of identity (e.g., one may want to come across as intelligent, funny, ironic, empathetic, or any number of other traits).   However, if a speaker cannot be understood by the listener, or if the listener finds it difficult (although not impossible) to understand the speaker, not only the message but the secondary intentions can be lost.  Thus intelligibility (how understandable a speaker’s speech is to a listener) and comprehensibility (how much effort a listener must put in to understand a speaker) are both crucial to communication, regardless of the L1/L2 status of the interlocutors.  In immigrant-receiving ESL settings, such as Australia, Canada, and the USA, teachers find it demanding enough to try to ensure that learners overcome barriers to communication as a result of pronunciation difficulties, use of infrequent collocations in lieu of common formulaic sequences, and pragmatic conventions that are largely culturally determined.  Nonetheless, they have some sense of pronunciation, vocabulary, and pragmatics targets, because their students have generally chosen immigration and are often eager to become citizens in their new country.  Teachers can rely on their knowledge of local linguistic practices to guide their students, and in most instances, they can be confident that learners want to adopt a version of English that is commonly used in their new home.  Language instructors in many ELF contexts face much greater challenges because they cannot predict with whom their students will ultimately use English.  Will an English learner in Lleida talk mostly with Chinese representatives of a company that does business with the learner’s firm?  Will the learner become a graduate student and move to the UK to study?  Will the learner have to work with several people from a wide range of L1s, a wide range of accents, and a wide range of conventions regarding vocabulary and pragmatics?  The teacher’s dilemma is a serious one.  What strategies can the teacher adopt to provide ELF learners with intelligible and comprehensible English for as yet undetermined interlocutors?  I will discuss some possibilities to address these challenges.

Marie-Luise Pitzl

Marie-Luise Pitzl

(University of Vienna)

The creativity of ELF

Marie-Luise Pitzl: Biography

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 been active in ELF research since 2004 and has researched, given presentations and published on a range of ELF topics, such as resolving miscommunication, BELF, corpus building, lexical innovation and intercultural understanding. Recently, she co-edited a special issue of JELF on the theme ‘Teaching ELF, BELF and/or Intercultural Communication?’ (2015, with co-edited Susanne Ehrenreich). One of her main research interests is in creativity in ELF with a focus on idiom variation and the use of metaphors. She is currently completing a monograph on this topic for the DELF series (De Gruyter Mouton).

Marie-Luise Pitzl: Abstract

The creativity of ELF

Creativity in language use (as well as in other domains of life) essentially always has to do with moving beyond the norms and conventions of what is normally done or has existed before. To this end, creativity has to rely on existing conventions, but at the same time expands – and possibly shifts – these conventions through their (creative) application. Norm-following creativity may thus become norm-developing creativity (Pitzl 2012, 2013) which opens up new, previously unoccupied, linguistic or conceptual – or academic – spaces.

Like other terms in linguistics, English as a lingua franca (ELF) refers to both a linguistic phenomenon, i.e. the use of ‘English’ in multilingual contexts among speakers with different first languages, as well as to the academic discipline that studies it. So the creativity of ELF can mean two things: the linguistic creativity that can be observed and has been described in naturally-occurring ELF use and the creativity of ELF as a field in (applied) linguistics.

This talk will be an attempt to highlight the most essential aspects of both these meanings. After offering a theoretical conceptualization of creativity, I will illustrate the linguistic creativity of ELF use (and ELF users) with examples from VOICE (the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English), for example in relation to the use of idioms and speakers’ multilingual repertoires. Secondly, I will take a meta-perspective on ELF as domain of research and try to identify some premises and concepts that seem to be most creative of ELF as a field. Looking at intersections with other linguistic disciplines, the point to make is not that ELF – as a language use and as a discipline – is more (or less) creative than others, but to take note of how it is creative, i.e. what is creative about it.

 

Pitzl, Marie-Luise. 2012. Creativity meets convention: Idiom variation and re-metaphorization in ELF. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 1(1). 27-55

Pitzl, Marie-Luise. 2013. Creativity in language use. In Östman, Jan-Ola; Verschueren, Jef (eds.) Handbook of Pragmatics (2013 Installment). Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1-28.

Ute Smit

Ute Smit

(University of Vienna)

Going beyond ELF vs. EFL: Towards a multi-dimensional understanding of language in English-medium education in multilingual university settings

Ute Smit: Biography

Ute Smit is Associate Professor at the Department of English Studies, University of Vienna. Her main research interests are in English (as medium of instruction) in (higher) education from the perspectives of CLIL, English as a lingua franca, classroom discourse, participant beliefs and language policy research. Her publications include Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education (AILA Review 25, 2012), English as a Lingua Franca in Higher Education (de Gruyter, 2010), Language Use and Language Learning in CLIL Classrooms (Benjamins, 2010) and numerous journal articles (e.g. in Applied Linguistics, International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education, System, Language Teaching, Journal of Academic Writing). She was founding convener of the AILA Research Network on “CLIL and Immersion Education” (2006-2014) and long-standing member of VERBAL, the Austrian association of applied linguistics (2001-2014). Presently, she is PI of the CLIL@HTL project focusing on CLIL practices in Austrian technical colleges (http://celt.univie.ac.at/home/projekt-zu-clil-an-htls/), and an international member of the INTER-LICA project, researching English-medium business education in Spain (http://www.ucm.es/interlica-en).

Ute Smit: Abstract

Going beyond ELF vs. EFL: Towards a multi-dimensional understanding of language in English-medium education in multilingual university settings

With the increasing internationalisation of higher education institutions, English-medium education has turned into a global reality over the last twenty years. Across all continents we thus find multilingual teachers and students engaged in their educational endeavours by relying on English or, more precisely, on English as a lingua franca in academia (e.g. Jenkins 2014; Mauranen 2012). At the same time, the extant research literature (e.g. Doiz et al 2013; Smit & Dafouz 2012; Wilkinson & Walsh 2015) shows that the apparently uniform move towards English-medium education in multilingual settings (EMEMUS) comes in a range of diverse local realisations.

While a high degree of context-specificity is integral to education per se, the extant diversity also indicates that the homogenizing function of English turns out to be more complex and multifaceted than initially expected. For instance, in the wide-spread ‘internationalisation at home’ approach, catering for linguaculturally homogeneous participants tend to share their respective educational language in addition to English, which is primarily used as an educational target. If such a class is then attended by an incoming student or visiting lecturer, however, the language function can then change very fast to that of a lingua franca. As this example illustrates, the functions English can fulfil in international HE are not only complex, but also dynamic and fluid.

It is against this background that this talk will make the case for a multi-dimensional understanding of language in EMEMUS, as integral to the recently developed Road-Mapping Framework and its six interlacing dimensions (Dafouz & Smit 2014). Of these I will mainly focus on the dimension of ‘Roles of English (in relation to other languages)’ and develop it further, by drawing from other relevant models (e.g. Cenoz & Gorter 2010; Unterberger & Wilhelmer 2011). Finally and with the help of illustrative discursive examples from different studies, I will argue that well-established notions of functions of English (such as EFL, EAP, ESP and ELF), while useful for initial categorizations of English language usage, fail to capture the dynamic and complex nature of English language use in tertiary education. Further developments of the Road-Mapping Framework support an integration of non-linguistic factors that pay equal importance to the societal, institutional and pedagogical realities of higher educational classrooms.

Cenoz, Jasone & Durk Gorter. 2010. “The diversity of multilingualism in education”. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 205.37–53.

Dafouz, Emma & Ute Smit. 2014. “Towards a dynamic conceptual framework for English-Medium Education in Multilingual University Settings”. Applied Linguistics. DOI 10.1093/applin/amu034.

Doiz, Aintzane, David Lasagabaster & Juan M. Sierra, eds. 2013. English Medium Instruction at Universities: Global Challenges. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Jenkins, Jennifer. 2014. English as a Lingua Franca in the International University: The Politics of Academic English Language Policy. London and New York: Routledge.

Mauranen, Anna. 2012. Exploring ELF: Academic English Shaped by Non-native Speakers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smit, Ute & Emma Dafouz, eds. 2012. Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education: Gaining Insights into English-Medium Instruction at European Universities. AILA Review. (25.) Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Unterberger, Barbara & Nadja Wilhelmer. 2011. “English-medium education in economics and business studies: capturing the status quo at Austrian universities”. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 161. 90–110.

Wilkinson, Robert & Mary L. Walsh, eds. 2015. Integrating Content and Language: From Theory to Practice: Selected papers from the 2013 ICLHE conference. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Jasone Cenoz

Jasone Cenoz

(University of the Basque Country)

Translanguaging pedagogies and English in multilingual education

Jasone Cenoz: Biography

Jasone Cenoz is Professor of Research Methods in Education at the University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU. She is the President of the International Association of Multilingualism. Her research focuses on multilingual education, the acquisition of English as a third language, bilingualism and multilingualism. Specific topics Jasone Cenoz has investigated in her research include the multilingual lexicon, translanguaging in written production, Basque multilingual education and cross-linguistic influence.
She has published articles on multilingual education in Modern Language Journal, Applied Linguistics, Language Culture and Curriculum, TESOL Quaterly, Language Teaching and the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, among others. She is also the author of several book chapters and books and the award-winning monograph Towards Multilingual Education (Multilingual Matters, 2009) and has co-edited Minority Languages and Multilingual Education (Springer, 2014) and Multilingual education: between language learning and translanguaging (Cambridge University Press, 2015).. She has served as AILA publications coordinator for eight years and she has been a member of the Executive Committee of IASCL and she is the President of the International Association of Multilingualism.

Jasone Cenoz: Abstract

Translanguaging pedagogies and English in multilingual education

Multilingualism is widespread in the world today and English is in many cases one of the languages in the multilingual speaker’s repertoire. English as a Lingua Franca is used by multilingual speakers who can also communicate in other languages and use their multilingual and multicultural resources in creative ways. In this presentation we discuss an emergent paradigm in the study of multilingualism which is characterized by a holistic view of multilingual speakers’ linguistic repertoires and the softening the boundaries between languages. Within this paradigm the concept of translanguaging will be discussed in the context of multilingual education. Translanguaging was originally developed as a pedagogical tool alternating the languages used for input and output in the context of Welsh-English bilingual education in Wales. Nowadays, translanguaging is also used to refer to the way multilinguals communicate using resources from their repertoires. In this presentation, examples of translanguaging pedagogies involving the learning of English as a Lingua Franca will be presented. The last part of the presentation will focus on the need to create synergies between studies of multilingual education and English as a Lingua Franca as neighbouring areas of research evolving in new shared directions.