Book review: English as a Lingua Franca in Higher Education: A Longitudinal Study of Classroom Discourse

Erling, Elizabeth J. (2013). Book review: English as a Lingua Franca in Higher Education: A Longitudinal Study of Classroom Discourse. World Englishes, 32(2) pp. 289–292.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12028

Abstract

In this book, Ute Smit documents her extremely thorough, detailed and well-structured study of the use of English as the only common language in the classroom discourse of students on an English-medium higher education (HE) programme for Hotel Management in Vienna. The study is the first of its kind to integrate both an 'ethnographically inspired' approach, which takes into account a longitudinal perspective of the participants and the community that forms between them, as well as a discourse pragmatic analysis of classroom discourse among the multilingual participants. The study then attempts to grapple with the three following real-world questions about the role of language in education:

1. What does it means for participants in HE to be using English as a lingua franca (ELF) in terms of talk, participation and culture?
2. How does the nature of language use and how do the participants in the programme change over time?
3. What impact might the use of ELF as classroom language have on teaching and learning?

These are questions that are in great need of grappling with as English plays an ever more important role in HE programmes around the world, and where classrooms are increasingly multilingual.

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