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Reading: English as the Lingua Franca of Engineering: The Morphosyntax of Academic Speech Events

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English as the Lingua Franca of Engineering: The Morphosyntax of Academic Speech Events

Author:

Beyza Björkman

Stockholm University, English Department Royal Institute of Technology, Unit for Language and Communication, SE
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Abstract

English today is frequently used as an international means of communication among its non-native speakers from different L1 backgrounds. Research on English as a lingua franca (ELF) has already revealed commonalities and common processes from a variety of settings. It is important that research continues and that lingua franca usage in different environments is described to find ways to optimize communication.

This paper will focus on the morphosyntax of spoken ELF, reporting the results of a study that investigates spoken lingua franca English in tertiary education (engineering) in Sweden, where English is increasingly becoming the language of instruction. The morphosyntax of non-native-like usage is investigated in dialogic and monologic speech events. Cases of non-native-like usage are grouped as ‘disturbing’, i.e. causing comprehension problems and ‘non-disturbing’, i.e. causing no comprehension problems.

Findings from this corpus-based study show that the most consistent idiosyncrasies in lingua franca usage in this setting are observed in redundant features of the language and that there is very little disturbance, i.e. breakdown in communication. Engineers seem to opt for function and reciprocal intelligibility over redundant features of the language and accuracy when they speak English in academic contexts.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.103
How to Cite: Björkman, B., 2008. English as the Lingua Franca of Engineering: The Morphosyntax of Academic Speech Events. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 7(3), pp.103–122. DOI: http://doi.org/10.35360/njes.103
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Published on 01 Sep 2008.

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